January 31, 2003 by Canadian Underwriter
Property and casualty customers of The Co-operators Group may be breathing a sigh of relief as it was revealed the theft of a hard drive containing some of the insurers’ files applies to life and pension customers only.
At a news conference, The Co-operators president and CEO Katherine Bardswick noted explained that the hard drive disappeared from the Regina office of Information Systems Management (ISM Canada), a subsidiary of IBM Canada.
Contained in the drive was personal information of life and pension clients, including Bardswick herself, who says she holds life insurance and pension funds with the company.
“On behalf of The Co-operators Group of Companies, I sincerely apologize to our individual like and pension plan clients for any concern or inconvenience that this incident has caused them,” she says. The company is advising clients to be on the lookout for potentially fraudulent use of their banking, credit card or other financial accounts, and to let their financial institutions know if any suspicious transactions are made.
Unaffected are property and casualty accounts, including home, auto, farm and commercial, as well as group employee benefits.
ISM is working with the Regina Police Service Major Crimes Unit as well as conducting an internal investigation.
The Co-operators has mailed letters to affected clients and set up a toll-free call center, as well as posting updates at www.cooperators.ca. For clients considering placing a “potential fraud alert” on their credit files, Equifax Canada and TransUnion are working with The Co-operators, and Equifax has established dedicated phone lines for this purpose.