Commissioner Releases Investigation Report

January 7, 2008

An investigation by the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) found that the Alberta Motor Association Insurance Company (AMA) did not breach the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) when it collected information about an Alberta couple and disclosed information about them to a bankruptcy trustee without their consent.

The complainants experienced a house fire for which they submitted a claim to the AMA. As a result of circumstances specific to the case, the AMA was concerned about insurance fraud. The AMA therefore conducted an investigation to detect insurance fraud which required verification of information provided by the complainants. The AMA also collected information that revealed the husband was in bankruptcy and was in debt to a civil judgement creditor. The OIPC investigator found that the AMA did not require the consent of the complainants to collect this information since it was collected for the purposes of an investigation and PIPA authorizes the activity.

The complainants also alleged that the AMA disclosed their personal information to the husband’s bankruptcy trustee without their consent. The OIPC investigator determined that the AMA was authorized by PIPA to disclose information about the complainant’s insurance claim to the trustee without consent. Since the disclosure was made in accordance with bankruptcy law and for the trustee’s investigation, consent was not necessary. A court order requiring the AMA to disclose the information also authorized the disclosure under PIPA.

The AMA’s activities were determined to be in compliance with PIPA and the matter was closed.