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EQC apologises for the unintended release of claims information

The Earthquake Commission today apologises unreservedly to customers whose claims information was unintentionally shared with one of its customers and their lawyer.

Chief Executive Officer Sid Miller says what is most disappointing about the incident is that EQC has multi-layered security measures to protect the information about its customers.

“Unfortunately, a staff member last Thursday failed to follow several key security steps, including well-established password protection of the documents, despite receiving the appropriate training.”

Mr Miller explains that the information released relates to 8000 claims.

EQC only intended the customer to receive their claims information.

As soon as EQC became aware of the error, it took all possible steps to rectify the error and contain the information. The lawyer involved has deleted the documents and EQC is waiting for confirmation from the customer that they have done the same.

“We are also contacting all affected customers to apologise to them and explain the steps we have taken to protect their claims information,” says Mr Miller.

Mr Miller says he feels embarrassed and frustrated as his team had worked hard to put new systems and security measures in place after a similar earlier incident.

“Whilst it is difficult to protect any organisation from human error, the incident demonstrates that our systems, processes and training still require further tightening,” Mr Miller.

Supported by a Privacy Expert, Mr Miller says he has started a review into its systems and processes around the handling of customer information to further reduce the chance of human errors and ensure the staff get further training and follow proper security protocols.

“For the past few years, we have been focused on implementing the feedback from our customers to improve our services, so this human error is a massive blow to all our staff who have been working tirelessly to regain the confidence of the New Zealand public,” says Mr Miller.

“Despite this setback we will carry on with our goal of continuous improvement to ensure New Zealand is better prepared for the next major natural disaster.”

Mr Miller invites any current customers who may have questions to contact EQC at 0800 DAMAGE (326 243).


For any media queries or interview requests, please contact Media Manager Coen Lammers on 021-730239 or media@eqc.govt.nz

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