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PIA New York Warns Agents About Regional Carrier Requests For Proprietary Data

PIA of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Hampshire says it believes certain regional insurance companies are demanding confidential information about independent agents' books...
October 13, 2009

PIA of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Hampshire says it believes certain regional insurance companies are demanding confidential information about independent agents' books of business so they can bypass them on sales. The PIA affiliates said carriers have requested "unusually detailed information" concerning producers' books of business. The requests, seeking data on dealings with rival companies, are so detailed, said PIA, that it fears the companies are seeking to circumvent the agents and sell policies direct to customers. It called the requests a significant breach of the independent agent-carrier relationship.

"It's logical for an insurance company to want information regarding its own products," said Diane Fowler, executive director of PIACT, PIANH, PIANJ and PIANY. "But details on the rest of the products offered by an agency from other companies are privileged information. Not only would this constitute a breach of client privacy, but also, it causes agents to wonder about the reasoning behind harvesting this contact information."

Matthew Guilbault, director of government and industry affairs for PIA of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Hampshire said the issue surfaced when close to half a dozen agents contacted the association's resource center seeking advice on how to deal with a carrier's request. He said requests came from up to five regional carriers. "We want to nip this in the bud before it becomes a bigger issue," he said.

The PIA National Business Issues Committee (BIC) reviewed this issue at the request of PIA of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Hampshire. The national BIC is in accord with the concerns expressed and will be issuing a national bulletin shortly.

PIANY Warns Agents About Carrier Requests For Proprietary Data (National Underwriter 9/30/09)