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States to Investigate Premera Data Breach

March 26, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Insurance commissioners from multiple states are teaming up to investigate the massive data breach of health insurer Premera.

The breach, which initially occurred on May 5, 2014, but was not detected until Jan. 29, 2015, affected 11 million of the insurer’s customers. It was recently revealed by a report from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's Office of the Inspector General that Premera was warned that its data protection practices were not up to industry standards right before it was victimized by the major cyber attack.

Now, insurance commissioners in Washington state, Alaska, and Oregon are launching an investigation to examine to look into operations at Premera, based in Mountlake Terrace, Wash. Washington state will lead the market conduct exam. Other states impacted by the ‘Blue Card’ system—Premera’s national provider network—could also join the exam team.

“We take the recent cyberattack at Premera very seriously,” said Mike Kreidler, Washington state insurance commissioner. “Insurance regulators across the country are on high alert given the recent breaches both at Premera and Anthem and we will use every resource within our authority to ensure that consumers are protected and to see that insurers are responding appropriately.”

Market conduct exams involve multiple states and are on-site reviews of an insurer’s financial books, records, transactions and how they relate to a company’s activities in the marketplace. The final market conduct report will be made available to the public; no date exists yet for completion of the exam. Depending on the complexity, exams can take several months to more than a year to complete.

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