IVANS Survey Reports Concerns With Insurance Information Security

November 5, 2002

Despite the higher levels of service and convenience offered by the Internet, security is a concern for the majority of consumers when it comes to sending medical and personal property insurance information, according to a recent survey sponsored by IVANS, Inc.

Seventy-seven percent of consumers surveyed say they are concerned with their doctors’ sending medical information to an insurance company over the Internet. Additionally, 66 percent of survey respondents are concerned about the privacy and security of property claims information being exchanged via the Internet. More than 2,000 adults participated in the telephone survey conducted by Opinion Research in October.

“There is a real opportunity for health and property-casualty insurers to educate consumers about the security measures they have taken to protect personal insurance data being sent over the Internet,” Clare DeNicola, senior vice president of Network Services, remarked. “The survey results show that many consumers are not yet aware of the advanced networking technologies available today that can protect their data on the Internet.”

Surprisingly, the survey respondents most concerned about the security and integrity of their personal data on the Internet are under 45 years of age. Almost 70 percent of respondents are regular Internet users, with the majority performing online activities from their homes.

“Insurance companies have a wide range of options today for securing data on the Internet, such as SSL, Firewalls, Virtual Private Networks, and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI),” DeNicola explaied. “The level of security provided varies among these solutions. For instance, a firewall does not secure data on the Internet but prevents data from getting into a network, while PKI is one of the most secure options, but comes with higher levels of cost and management.”

As insurance carriers roll out applications on the Internet, the level of security placed around the application and end-user access will vary based on the level of transaction taking place.

For instance, many health insurers provide information on their public Web sites regarding doctors and hospitals they work with, but when it comes to transferring a patient’s claim data with those providers they continue to use secure, private networks to meet security standards established by the Centers for Medicare and pending HIPAA regulations.

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