Independent agents and brokers are taking regulations mandating information privacy safeguards very seriously, if attendance at recent American Agents Alliance meetings is any indicator. The independent insurance producers’ association recently completed a year-long project to help their members comply with state and federal regulations concerning protecting client information. The project, culminating in an “Information Security Program” kit, is available free of charge to all Alliance members. A series of tutorials to guide producers in adapting the material to their own unique business situations, were held in January, with more scheduled for February.
Presenting these “how-to” clinics was Alliance Vice President Gary Jensen, the association’s point man on the privacy issue, who spent some of 2003 and most of 2004 working with attorneys and privacy experts to compile a definitive guide for creating and maintaining a viable privacy safeguarding procedure. “Gary has done an outstanding job on this project and, based on the feedback we’ve already received, has really helped guide people through what can be convoluted regulations and brought them in compliance,” said Alliance President David Nielson. “Over the past few years, the Department of Insurance has not aggressively enforced the privacy regulations, but we understand that the issue is now a top priority with Department investigators and producers found not in compliance face stiff penalties. That’s what we are trying to help our members avoid with the new Information Security Program kits.”
Each kit is divided into sections covering different aspects of an information security program and includes sample forms and notices, guidelines for developing individual procedures, and what to do if security is breached.
“Ask yourself, don’t our customers deserve our diligence in safeguarding their information? It’s a great bonus for all (Alliance) members … don’t just set it on the shelf and let it gather cobwebs because this kit is an important working tool to help us better protect our customers,” said Alliance member Jim Williams. “Don’t be fooled by the completeness of the kit, because you still have to do your homework, but with the downloadable Word files it’s better than Cliff Notes and you can get an A+ in just a few hours. This is definitely one of the most valuable Alliance membership benefits in years.”
For anyone interested in obtaining a kit, which are available exclusively to Alliance members, or coming to a meeting – to be held next in Chatsworth (Feb. 9) and San Diego (Feb. 17) – to learn more on developing and administering a privacy safeguarding program, can visit the Alliance’s Web site at www.agentsalliance.com.
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