The Life Insurance Association of Singapore (LIA) has stated that it and its member firms will not use any of the leaked HIV information in a recent data breach affecting 14,200 HIV-positive individuals.
In a statement issued on February 01, LIA said that the leak of the information will in no way affect the status of the affected individuals’ life and health insurance policies.
“We would like to assure policyholders that life insurers will not seek out the leaked data for any purpose whatsoever,” the statement read. “Should the information related to this incident be intentionally sent to life insurers, life insurers will not use the data and will inform the relevant authorities immediately.
“It is our goal to ensure that all our policyholders are treated fairly. Policyholders should be assured that life insurers will not unreasonably reject a claim or void a policy.”
The leaked data contained sensitive information regarding 14,200 people living with HIV, including names, contact details, addresses, and medical histories. The data breach was announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on January 28, and an American fraudster is believed to be the culprit.
Mikhy Farrera-Brochez, the prime suspect, had lived in Singapore since 2008. In 2017, he was convicted for several fraud and drug-related offences, as well as lying to the Ministry of Manpower about his own HIV status, a Straits Times report said. After serving his jail term, Farrera-Brochez was deported, and the stolen data is reportedly still in his possession.
His alleged accomplice and lover is Ler Teck Siang, a Singaporean doctor who headed the MOH’s National Public Health Unit (NPHU) from March 2012 to May 2013, and had access to the HIV Registry for his work. He was charged with violating the Official Secrets Act for facilitating the illegal acquisition of information regarding HIV-positive patients.