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Aflac and Zurich insurers hit by data breach in Japan

Personal data of a combined total of more than 4 million clients have been leaked online due to a hack on a third-party contractor.

The breach affected 3.2 million Aflac cancer insurance holders and almost 760,000 auto insurance policyholders at Zurich Insurance. There is no information that data of customers outside Japan was leaked.

Both companies said they had launched investigations and were cooperating with Japanese authorities. Both also said that the leak happened as a result of a breach on a third-party vendor.

It is unclear if both incidents are related. Neither Aflac nor Zurich named the vendor, but Aflac said in an apology to customers that it was a US-based contractor. The contractor’s servers were first accessed on 7 January, it said.

Aflac confirmed that customer surnames, ages, gender, and insurance policy details were leaked but claimed there was an “extremely low” possibility their identities could be compromised.

Zurich said that leaked data included names, gender, date of birth, email addresses, and insurance policy numbers. It did not include bank account information or credit card numbers, the company said.

The US-based Aflac is one of the leading insurers in Japan, while Zurich Insurance is among the largest insurers in the world.

The chief executive of the Zurich Insurance Group has recently told the Financial Times that cyber-attacks – not natural catastrophes – would become “uninsurable” as disruption caused by hacks continued to grow.

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