Aflac Reports Laptop Detailing 152,000 Clients Stolen (Update 1)


Hugh Son

Aflac Inc., the world's largest seller of supplemental health insurance, said a laptop containing information on 152,000 customers in Japan was stolen from an employee of an insurance agency there.

The laptop contained the clients' names, addresses, birth dates, and policy details, according to Laura Kane, a spokeswoman at Aflac's headquarters in Columbus, Georgia. It was used by a worker of Tokyo-based Tsusan Company and stolen on a commuter train July 17. Aflac wanted to send letters apologizing to policyholders before alerting the press, she said.

``All the information was encrypted and password-protected, so it would be very difficult for any third-party to access it,'' Kane said today. ``Obviously we've reported this to the police and they are making every effort to find the missing laptop.''

Aflac, which gets three-quarters of its revenue from Japan, insures about a quarter of the population there and has more than 40 million customers around the world.

The shares of Aflac had the biggest decline in the Standard & Poor's 500 Insurance Index today after being the biggest gainer yesterday, when it rose on better-than-expected second-quarter sales in Japan. The stock dropped $2.87, or 5.1 percent, to $53.32 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

Steven Schwartz, an analyst at Chicago-based Raymond James & Associates, lowered his stock rating to ``market perform'' from ``outperform,'' saying yesterday's 8.3 percent increase brought it closer to his 12-month target of $57.

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