Cyber Security and Cyber attacks are a real thing in today’s electronic world. With so much circulating on the internet many people have become numb to protecting their personal information because they are just so accustomed to giving it to everyone to sign up for anything from a magazine subscription to an Xbox Account. We are constantly giving trusted resources our sensitive information, but how are they using it?
In the insurance world, this information is used to help rate a policy. Some rating factors include date of birth, social security number, address, driver’s license, and even employer identification numbers. All this stuff is so commonly passed by people shopping commercial and personal lines insurance rates that it wouldn’t even seem weird that someone else asked for it. As insurance agents, we take an oath to do what is morally and ethically right for the consumer of insurance and we have a fiduciary responsibility to not comingle our agency funds with client funds and to always protect the client’s financial interests.
What would you do if this information was being used to steal your identity?
In Long Beach, CA an insurance agent was charged with identity theft for stealing customers’ identity, forging their signatures, and keeping policies open that they had let lapse and no longer wanted. This resulted in over $4500 of additional commissions to the agent by signing renewal applications for unsuspecting clients and charging their bank accounts using information kept on file. Clearly this is not helping his case as a fiduciary for the client, but there have been well-outlined cases in my marketplace as well where agents have been caught doing mouth swabs for life insurance for clients, signing people up for zero or minimal underwriting style life insurance policies, and going as far as buying land in rural cities and using that address to improperly rate car insurance policies to reduce rates.
All these things contribute to an ongoing issue in the industry where rates and claims predictability is already hard to manage but when agents put fraudulent information in or abuse client information it only worsens the problem for the carriers and results in a more cautious consumer creating barriers to entry for many agents who are just trying to do what is right.
It might be time to ask your agent what they are doing with your information or seek help protecting your information by one of the many options out there who are protecting people’s socials and identities from being misused.
If you are looking for commercial insurance quotes please feel free to reach out to us but for now thanks for tuning in!
For more information on Long Beach agency charged with Identity Theft see the link below: