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Berkshire Says Private Data Released for Claimants

Oak River Insurance Co., a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., asked clients to guard against identity theft after an employee released some of their personal information.

The data are tied to about 2,700 workers’ compensation claimants who had spinal surgery in Southern California between 2004 and 2011 or had urinalysis testing, diagnostics or other medical treatment performed in the state between 2006 and 2011, the unit of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire said in a Nov. 21 statement posted online. The personal information included medical records, Social Security numbers and health insurance information, the insurer said.

Oak River is seeking to protect clients against identity theft by offering them a free one-year subscription to a product that helps detect misuse of personal information. A former employee, while still working at the insurer, disclosed the data between October 2011 and March 2012 to individuals cooperating in an investigation of suppliers of medical services.

“We do not believe that access to individuals’ Social Security numbers or other identifying information was the goal of the disclosures,” the insurer said in the statement.

Oak River said it was unaware of any identity theft that had occurred as a result of the disclosures.

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