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Anthem Hack Has Wide Implications for Insurance Industry


More than a million people in Connecticut are potentially at risk from the massive data breach at health insurer Anthem. The company is the biggest insurer in the state, and also covers 200,000 state employees and retirees. 

Governor Dannel Malloy said Thursday he’s pushed Anthem to provide two years of credit monitoring for everyone affected. But he said Anthem customers should also take steps to protect themselves.

"Monitor your accounts, look for suspicious activity," Malloy appealed. "The criminals who stole this information may look to open up new lines of credit, steal tax refunds, obtain new credit cards or take other fraudulent actions, so be alert."

Attorney General George Jepsen said his office has launched its own investigation into the breach. "This appear to be one of the largest, most in-depth data breaches in history," he told a news conference, "not just in the number of people who are directly affected, but in the kinds of information that has been compromised."

Acting Insurance Commissioner Anne Melissa Dowling said she’s coordinating with other states’ commissioners who have oversight of Anthem to monitor the company's response.

Connecticut has also been appointed to a national cybersecurity task force looking specifically at the insurance industry. "The industry as a whole sees it as probably the largest issue facing it, because of all the data it contains," she said. "Not only the products that it’s issuing about data protection, but it has some of the most vulnerable data in the country."

Meanwhile, Senator Richard Blumenthal has called on Anthem and other companies who’ve suffered cyber attacks to spend more money to safeguard customers’ data. The Senate Commerce Committee discussed the need for legislation on corporate data breaches in the light of the Anthem incident.

Blumenthal called the breach breathtaking in its scope. "It is mind bending in its extent and potential impact," he said, "and potentially heartbreaking for consumers who may be affected."

He called on Congress to continue to allow state officials to have strong oversight and enforcement of data security, saying they've often been in the forefront of providing improved consumer protections.

The State of Connecticut has set up a special website for victims of the data breach to give more information and to help them order credit reports. 

Anthem also has online resources for those who believe they are at risk at anthemfacts.com.

Harriet Jones is Managing Editor for Connecticut Public Radio, overseeing the coverage of daily stories from our busy newsroom.

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