Zurich today admits to losing the general insurance details of 51,000 of its customers while transferring the data from the UK to South Afirca.
The insurer says while the back up tape, lost in August 2008, contains no personal information, it has written to the affected individuals telling them what precautionary steps they can take in case their details fall into the wrong hands.
No evidence suggests the data, including information on customers in South Africa and Botswana, has been misused or compromised says Zurich.
Results from an internal UK investigation blame the loss on deficiencies in the management of data tape on security procedures in South Africa.
CEO of Europe General Insurance of Zurich Financial Services Group Annette Court says: "We take the security of our customers' data very seriously. What has happened is unacceptable to us."
"We are implementing the necessary steps to minimise the impact of this situation on our customers. Protecting our customers' interest is at the top of our agenda. We are putting a great deal of investment into strengthening our internal processes to ensure incidents of this nature do not happen in the future."
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