With more than 500 000 records potentially at risk, there have been no security incidents reported after last year's loss of a data back-up tape from Zurich insurance.
The tape, which went missing in August 2008 while en route to an offline storage facility, contained details of about 500 000 South African customers and about 10 000 Botswana-based policy-holders. The insurer has now alerted its customers to the loss, highlighting potential ID theft risks and offering advice on how to obviate the possibility of a security compromise.
However, a spokesman for the company says there haven't been any security breaches as a result of the tape loss, despite the length of time since the incident occured.
She adds that, while Zurich isn't obliged to report a data loss under South African law, it decided to let its customers know about this incident because of international best practice and in the interests of transparency.
And, in an unexpected gesture of humility, Zurich's CEO has extended a personal apology to each of the customers whose data was on the lost tape.
The company has set up a response team to provide more, and specific, information to customers and has also produced a guide on how customers can prevent any potential of ID theft as a result of the loss.
It has also offered to make good any direct monetary loss customers may suffer as a result.
A full forensic audit is currently being carried out and results will be available within weeks.