In 2015 there were multiple data hacks with big companies where client’s information was infiltrated, leaving clients vulnerable to fraud. Now, moving forward from these huge data breaches, many companies are cracking down on making sure client’s information is as secure as it can be, especially in the insurance field where client’s information is floating around on applications, ID cards, etc.
As an agent it is your responsibility to keep your client’s data as protected as possible. But what information needs to be protected and how far do you actually need to go to protect the info?
What information needs to be kept secure?
The first thing about making sure your client’s information is protected is knowing what information actually needs to be protected. The most basic and secure answer is that everything should be protected. It is your responsibility to protect any information a client gives you which includes their addresses, email addresses, social security or tax identification numbers, credit card or bank account info, and anything else that you collect that could be used against your client in a fraudulent manner.
This means applications, copies of clients ID cards, and other personal documents all need to be securely stored, whether in electronic format or hardcopy. Also, when disposing of old documents make sure they are disposed of properly such as with a paper shredder or similar method.
How do you keep clients information secure?
Keeping a clients information secure really depends on how you are using your client’s information. Is it a hard copy application or document or is it purely electronic?
- Hard Copy: All applications and documents with client information should be kept in a locked area. This could be a room or something as simple as a filing cabinet with a lock. Applications and documents should not be left out in the open or stored in areas easily accessible by outside persons.
- Electronic Storage: Documents with client’s information should be kept in limited access areas, even on computers. This means making sure a computer is password protected, and that firewalls and anti-virus software are in place, etc. Also, the computer or server where the client’s info is kept should not be something that is easily accessible by the public or even employees who have no reason to have access.
- Electronic Communication: All electronic correspondence regarding your client should be done through a secured manner, such as a secured email system. You can find your own form of secure email by doing something as simple as googling “secure email service” or talk with fellow agents or up line* to see what they’re using.
*Agent Pitstop offers a secure email service for our agents to correspond securely with us, free of charge. If agents would like full access where they are able to email anyone, it is $60 per year.
What can happen if you don’t keep your clients info secure?
If you are not currently doing everything you can to keep your client’s information secure, you are not only putting your clients at risk, but yourself as well. If you are found at fault for not securing your client’s information and it is stolen you could be at risk of not only losing your contracts with carriers but also your insurance license in general.
If you have any questions or concerns about securing your client’s information contact our compliance department at firstname.lastname@example.org.