Washington to lead multi-state investigation of Premera hack

Press Release

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler announced the launch of a multi-state market conduct examination of Washington-based Premera Blue Cross (Premera) today.

Kreidler announced the exam following Premera’s disclosure last week that a cyberattack exposed 11 million customers – 6 million in Washington – to unauthorized access of various types of personal information, including members’:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Mailing address
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • Member identification number
  • Bank account information
  • Claims information, including clinical information

Washington state will lead the market conduct exam, along with Alaska and Oregon. Other states impacted by the ‘Blue Card’ system – Premera’s national provider network – could also join the exam team.

“We take the recent cyberattack at Premera very seriously,” said Kreidler. “Insurance regulators across the country are on high alert given the recent breaches both at Premera and Anthem and we will use every resource within our authority to ensure that consumers are protected and to see that insurers are responding appropriately.”

Market conduct exams involve multiple states and are on-site reviews of an insurer’s financial books, records, transactions and how they relate to a company’s activities in the marketplace.

The exact scope of Premera’s exam is still under discussion but may include:

  • All cybersecurity aspects of the breach;
  • Premera’s response to the breach and any corrective actions it has taken; and
  • The financial impact of the breach on consumers, providers and Premera.

The participating states will contract with a cybersecurity firm to help examine:

  • When and how the data was breached;
  • Whether or not it stopped and if so, when;
  • What data was compromised;
  • How the attack was able to succeed; and
  • Whether the company has taken effective steps to prevent a future attack.

The final market conduct report will be made available to the public. No date exists yet for completion of the exam. Depending on the complexity, exams can take several months to more than a year to complete.

“I remain seriously concerned at the amount of time it took Premera to notify its policyholders of the breach,” said Kreidler. “When you buy and use your insurance, you share your personal information with the company and you expect it to be protected during those transactions. When that trust is broken, it’s our job to make sure consumers are protected and that companies are held responsible.”

Consumers who believe they may be affected by the Premera security breach can find information about protecting their identities at: www.premeraupdate.com