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Protecting Consumer Privacy

Contact: Mike Bownes, General Counsel

(334) 241-4148

6/1/2001

Alabama Insurance Commissioner David Parsons announced today consumers need to be aware of the privacy notices they are currently receiving from insurance companies and financial institutions which are required by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. Title V of Gramm-Leach-Bliley contains consumer privacy requirements for financial institutions, including insurance companies. It establishes a minimum federal standard of privacy. The minimum standards, when coupled with State privacy regulations, require disclosure of privacy policies to customers at the time a relationship is established. The privacy standards also require disclosure to the customer not less than annually during the life of the relationship. Additionally, consumers can “opt out” of having their private financial information shared with most third parties without the customer’s permission. Consumers should realize they must take affirmative action if they do not want their information shared with others.

Commissioner Parsons urges all consumers to carefully read privacy notices and take the appropriate steps to protect their privacy to the extent they desire. Many of these important privacy notices are contained as one of many inserts with your monthly statements.

The Alabama Department of Insurance has revised its Regulation No. 122 to set forth the rules and requirements for licensees doing business in this state to comply with Title V of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in protecting non-public personal financial information in financial transactions.. The date within which licensees must be in compliance with this regulation has been extended to December 31, 2001. Commissioner Parsons stated the Insurance Department is committed to protecting the privacy of Alabama consumers.