The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has said the insurance industry ‘fully supports' the findings of the HSCIC Partridge review in safeguarding the use of medical data.
The independent review, led by Sir Nick Partridge and carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), concluded there were "significant administrative lapses" in recording the release of data at the NHS IC, the HSCIC's predecessor.
The HSCIC made a series of recommendations to guarantee greater openness and reassurance to the public, stricter controls of data use and better clarity for data users.
Helen White, head of protection at the Association of British Insurers, said: "The insurance industry fully supports the findings of the HSCIC Partridge review in safeguarding the use of medical data. Insurers (that offer insurances that pay out when someone experiences a serious illness, injury or early death) do not want or use data that enables them to identify individuals."
The HSCIC recommended that patients and public representatives will be part of a new membership of the HSCIC's data oversight committee, the Data Access Advisory Group (DAAG).
All data agreements will be re-issued, to ensure activity is centrally logged, monitored and audited, resulting in a clear and transparent process. Decisions will be documented and published.
A new, strengthened audit function will monitor adherence to data sharing agreements and halt the flow of data if there are any concerns exposed.
Additionally, a programme of active communication to the public and patients will help bring greater clarity about an individual's right to object to their data flowing to or from the HSCIC, the review said.
White added: "Insurers are interested only in data that shows population trends in health, including trends in how common specific illnesses are, and trends in recovery from specific illnesses. For example this kind of data helps insurers to understand how people are responding to medical advances in the treatment of illnesses such as diabetes or HIV.
"Understanding developments in health and healthcare is then reflected in the range insurance products being offered to a wider number of people and that those products are more accurately priced."
White concluded: "When insurers want information about a customer's individual health and health history, then they may contact the customer directly.
"Insurers have to meet the requirements of the Data Protection Act in storing and protecting all data about individuals."