The UK operation of Zurich Insurance was fined a record £2.28m yesterday for losing the confidential personal details of 46,000 British customers. It is the highest fine levied by the Financial Services Authority on a single company for data security failings.
Zurich UK, which outsourced some of the processing of its customer information to its South African subsidiary, lost the data on a back-up tape as it was being transferred to a data storage centre in August 2008. But the insurer was "oblivious to the loss" until a year later, the FSA said. The lost files included personal identity details, and some bank account and credit card information.
The insurer said it had found no evidence that the data was compromised or misused.
Margaret Cole, the FSA's director of enforcement, said: "Zurich UK let its customers down badly."