What insurers can learn from Equifax: IBC Regulatory Affairs Symposium

Having a response plan in place before a breach occurs is critical

The fallout from the Equifax breach can serve as a lesson to insurers, says Farah Zafar, senior corporate counsel and privacy officer at Economical Insurance.

“What insurers can take away from [Equifax] is the impact that it can have on your brand,” Zafar said earlier today at the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Regulatory Affairs Symposium in Toronto.

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Speaking at a panel discussion on privacy law developments across Canada, Zafar noted that many consumers felt Equifax took too long to disclose its breach, which may have damaged the credit monitoring agency’s image.

But responding promptly to data breaches can be challenging, since determining when and how a breach occurred is often a time-consuming process.

“That can take time, but there seems to be this public perception that it needs to be immediate, that you need to share it as soon as it happens,” Zafar said.

The key element to managing the situation, she maintained, is having a response plan in place before a breach occurs.

“[Another] takeaway for insurers is to remember that once you have an incident, it’s almost too late to put together some sort of management plan,” she said. “It’s really important to be proactive and internally develop a team that will respond to these kinds of situations.”

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Transcontinental Media G.P.