Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

London Life privacy breach riles city couple

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A retired Winnipeg couple got a little bonus information in the mail recently with their London Life RRSP transaction-confirmation notice -- the transaction information of another London Life client.

The couple, who requested anonymity (we'll call them Paul and Cheryl), said they were outraged at the breach of privacy.

They were subsequently notified their information was sent to someone else and were asked to send back the other person's information in a return envelope London Life provided.

"What bothers me is my personal information went to God knows where," Cheryl said. "I'm astounded. I can't believe a company would do such a thing. What kind of procedures do they have in their office?" London Life officials are referring to it as a "printing" error.

Printed on the back of the same piece of paper as their transaction confirmation, the Winnipeg couple received the confirmation of an $18,000 transaction of a Kanata, Ont., London Life client. In addition to details of a recent transaction, it included the person's policy number, name, address, beneficiary and cash value.

Anne Toal, London Life's privacy officer, said a small number of clients received confirmation notices containing some basic personal information about another client on the back.

"We had a total of 130 misprinted client forms across Canada," Toal said. "We did investigate the cause of the problems. It was an isolated incident and we have taken steps to address the problem and ensure it won't occur again."

In addition to being upset at having personal information sent to a stranger and concern about identity theft, Paul did not appreciate the impersonal manner in which London Life communicated with them about the error.

"We got a letter, and we were referred to as 'Dear valued customer,' " said Paul. "This is a very serious breach of privacy and they didn't even say anything to the agent who we deal with."

Toal said she would be happy to talk directly to the Winnipeg couple if they desired.

The "Dear valued customer" form letter the couple received noted personal information had been inadvertently sent to them and their information sent to someone else.

It continued: "A reprint of your confirmation is enclosed. If you kept your original confirmation with someone else's information on it, please return it in the enclosed envelope. We apologize for this printing error. Protecting clients' personal information is important to London Life and we have committed to ensuring this type of occurrence is avoided in the future. We have investigated this incident and taken the necessary action to prevent a recurrence."

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 27, 2013 B5

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