Proposed privacy breach class action lawsuit launched against insurer

The Personal, Desjardins General Insurance Group named as defendants

Waddell Phillips Professional Corporation has launched a proposed privacy breach class action lawsuit against The Personal Insurance Company and its parent, Desjardins General Insurance Group Inc.

The claim stems from an incident where the plaintiff, Kalevi Haikola, had his credit score accessed by his auto insurer when it was adjusting an accident benefits claim. The lawsuit alleges that credit scores are irrelevant to resolving accident benefits claims, and that the defendants therefore “could only be using this information for improper purposes,” Waddell Phillips said in a press release.

Haikola had complained to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, who agreed that The Personal had collected and used Haikola’s credit information without obtaining meaningful consent, which violated the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

The Personal had told the Privacy Commissioner it would stop collecting and using credit score information to assess claims in February 2018. But in March, when Haikola was involved in a rear-end collision, the insurer allegedly asked Haikola for his consent to access his credit score, in addition to asking for “much more intrusive financial disclosure.”

Haikola is seeking damages on behalf of all class members for the defendants’ breach of the privacy rights embodied in PIPEDA, and for the defendants’ alleged bad faith for continuing to collect personal financial information after telling the Privacy Commissioner they no longer would.

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