Oak River Insurance notifies 2,700 after employee disclosed workers’ compensation claims information

Noah Buhayar of Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports another insurance company has suffered a breach:

Oak River Insurance Co., a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (A), asked clients to guard against identity theft after an employee released some of their personal information.

The data are tied to about 2,700 workers’ compensation claimants who had spinal surgery in Southern California between 2004 and 2011 or had urinalysis testing, diagnostics or other medical treatment performed in the state between 2006 and 2011, the unit of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire said in a Nov. 21 statement posted online. The personal information included medical records, Social Security numbers and health insurance information, the insurer said.

Read more on Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

In a press release dated November 21, the firm writes:

The Company discovered that a former employee, while employed with the Company, disclosed personal information about workers compensation claimants to certain individuals who were cooperating in an investigation of suppliers of medical services. The disclosures occurred between approximately October 2011 and March 2012.

It is important to note that we do not believe that access to individuals’ social security numbers or other identifying information was the goal of the disclosures, nor do we believe that the purpose of the disclosures was to compromise the security, confidentiality or integrity of personal information. Further, as of the date of this notice, we are unaware of any actual identity theft resulting from these disclosures.

Strange case. If the employee was intentionally cooperating with some investigation, why didn’t the employee notify the insurer? Was the employee asked to keep his/her employer in the dark, and if so, why? And how did this go on for a year without the insurer detecting it? Maybe some mainstream journalist will follow up on this one and ask more questions about how and why this happened.

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