The Buzz

December 30, 2013

POLITICS: Notices about stolen SC insurance data sent 2 months after theft

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to thebuzz@thestate.com.

More than 3,400 customers who get health insurance through a South Carolina state-mandated program did not learn that a laptop containing their names and Social Security numbers was stolen until two months after the theft.

The laptop was stolen on Oct. 16 from the car of a private auditor hired to review S.C. Health Insurance Pool claims and payments, said Cynthia Hutto, a Charleston attorney hired to assist with the incident. The auditor informed the pool, which is run by insurers through the S.C. Department of Insurance, about the theft five days later.

But the 3,432 customers whose information was on the stolen password-protected laptop did not receive notification letters until Dec. 18, Hutto said.

The pool needed time to get mailing information for the customers and set up a free year of credit monitoring, she said. Attorneys also had to follow regulations about informing potential identity-theft victims.

“We were running as fast as we can,” Hutto said. “We can’t just say, ‘Here’s a heads up.’ ”

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