Insurer pledges to tighten up security procedures following loss of customer data back-up tape

Zurich has vowed to improve information security in the wake of losing a back-up data tape containing clients’ personal details in South Africa in 2008.

The unencrypted tape contained financial personal information belonging to 46,000 policyholders of Zurich Insurance.

Last week, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found Zurich Insurance in breach of the Data Protection Act as a result of the loss. The ICO said that subsequent internal investigations revealed failings in the management of security procedures involving data tapes in South Africa.

Zurich UK general insurance chief executive Stephen Lewis has now signed an undertaking to ensure that, where any future movement of back-up tapes is required, appropriate data security procedures, including the use of encryption if required, are in place.

The ICO also said Zurich has committed to put in place controls to monitor and promptly report potential or actual data loss activity.