A series of data breaches within the computer systems for Anthem and its affiliates has landed the health insurer and several other insurers in trouble. That's because, according to a class action filed against Anthem and 28 of its affiliates, the insurer "allowed hackers to extract massive amounts of data from the insurer's database" by not heeding warnings from the federal government about potential cyberattacks.
Anthem is fighting back against the allegations of course, pointing to instances in which it did address security breaches. In fact, back in January of last year, Anthem hired Mandiant, a cybersecurity company, to help bolster its security systems to prevent future data breaches from occurring. Unfortunately, claims made by Mandiant suggest that there was more Anthem could have done, which may prove damaging as the case proceeds through federal court.
With the most recent nod from U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, the class action against Anthem and the remaining affiliates still associated with the case will proceed. Involving some 80 million claimants, the impending litigation will be a massive undertaking. Anthem and its affiliates will need the services of a skilled and experienced team of insurance attorneys who will more effectively be able to consolidate the facts of the case and hopefully dispel rumors that Anthem was negligent and simply let the attacks happen.
Even though this case is happening in a jurisdiction far from our own here in New York, the case should stand as a reminder of the scope of class action cases and what can be at stake if a defendant loses. In a case like the one against Anthem, a loss could mean potentially millions of dollars lost in a settlement deal. Though plaintiffs would rejoice if the verdict were in their favor, Anthem's profits would suffer as would its reputation.
Source: Courthouse News Service, "Anthem Can't Dodge Giant Data Breach Suit," Jonny Bonner, Feb. 17, 2016