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North Dakota examines privacy issues and insurance

North Dakota is fast becoming one of the states to address privacy issues as it moves toward a public hearing about sharing information between companies.

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Many states have adopted legislation limiting the sharing of personal finan

cial information between unrelated companies, including credit reports, without express permission from the consumer.

Individual state legislation comes on the heels of the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act that went into effect July 1, 2001. The act imposes privacy obligations on companies, including insurance and credit card companies, that hold confidential, nonpublic information about their clients. Companies are required to notify consumers that they can choose not to allow the companies to share this information with other parties.

North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman says that people should read their company's privacy policy and be informed of their options.

The federal regulation is due in part to insurance companies using credit histories based on personal, nonpublic information to decide whether they'll sell someone insurance and at what rate. Poolman has announced a public hearing on insurance scoring to determine whether North Dakota needs to add to the protections now provided by the federal government.

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