Two insurance producers, also board of directors for the Latin American Agents Association (LAAA), have filed a class action lawsuit against Choicepoint Inc. alleging, among other things, that the company routinely sells customer data despite assuring that privacy will be maintained.
Producers Miguel Rodriguez of Wizard Insurance in Chatsworth, Calif., and Deane Silke of Fiesta Auto Insurance in Long Beach, Calif., allege in their lawsuit that ChoicePoint “made material misrepresentations and/or omitted to make material disclosures throughout the class period by falsely claiming that ChoicePoint would protect and insure the confidentiality of information plaintiff and other class members were required to provide to ChoicePoint, including confidential, proprietary and trade secret information from their customer lists and other related proprietary information, in order to obtain information regarding available insurance coverage and insurance policy premium quotations, as well as actual insurance policies for their customers.”
Rodriguez and Silke are board members of LAAA. As such, LAAA Founder and CEO Andre Urena said he was “personally gratified that our association was instrumental in bringing different parties together to launch this effort.”
The lawsuit also alleges that “(i)nstead of maintaining the confidentiality of that information, Choicepoint revealed that information to third parties, including the competitors of plaintiffs and other class members and sold that information to third parties for profit.”
The LAAA believes that the practice of providing data to third parties, data which agents disclose to entities like ChoicePoint to successfully use the service, only to have this information used to solicit these consumers and is concerning. Lead generation is a costly yet vital part of the agency business. Conservative estimates of per lead costs are somewhere between $50 and $100, with no guarantee of closing, LAAA indicated. Furthremore, with identity theft a major concern, the association believes inividual privacy should be maintained.
“All producers know how much a successful lead costs them. To have it re-sold off out from under us and given to our competitors so they can send our own new customer a new offer seems simply an unfair practice,” Rodriguez said.
LAAA said ChoicePoint promised that information provided by users – in this case insurance producers – “would only be disclosed to third parties in order to complete the transaction.”
“It’s about time that somebody stood up and stopped companies from selling our personal and confidential information out the back door for profit,” Silke said. “This lawsuit is long overdue, and we hope it will be the first step towards stopping this type of abuse.
A copy of the lawsuit is available at: http://latinagents.com/Poster/Complaint.pdf.
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