Privacy of "insurer information"

Alberta insurers do no have to release records if they fall under the realm of"insurer information" as defined by the Insurance Act, according to a recent ruling by Alberta Information and Privacy Commission adjudicator Dave Bell.

The Alberta adjudicator decided the 'Freedom of Information adn Protection of Privacy Act' (the "FOIP Act") does not apply to "insurer information" as defined by the Alberta Insurance Act.

The decision was made after an applicant made an access request under the FOIP Act to the Alberta Automobile Insurance Board (AIB) for records relating to applications for rate changes by insurance companies. The AIB provided some records, but it withheld information that it said would identify the information of particular companies, as well as some more general information used to approve rates. The applicant asked for a review of these decisions to withhold information.

Bell's ruling confirmaed that all of the information in the records was "insurer information" as definded by the Insurance Act. Since the provision of the Insurance Act with respect ot insurer information prevail over the FOIP Act, the FOIP Act does not apply to insurer information. Therefore, Bell held, he did not have jurisdiction to decide any issues concerning the with held information.