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Privacy Law and Policy Reporter

Privacy Law and Policy Reporter (PLPR)
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Greenleaf, Graham --- "Complaint: Insurer's claim file (NZ)" [1994] PrivLawPRpr 87; (1994) 1(6) Privacy Law & Policy Reporter 111

Complaint: Insurer's claim file (NZ)

NZ Privacy Commissioner Case Note 030W, April 1994

Privacy Act 1993 (NZ) - IPP 6 - s27 - s29

The complainant requested, under IPP 6, access from her insurance company to a file relating to a claim she had made in respect of a stolen vehicle. The company refused access. The Commissioner rejected the insurer's claim that disclosure ''would breach legal professional privilege' (s29(1)(f)), because ''the dominant purpose for the preparation of most of the documents on the file was to decide whether or not to accept the complainant's claim' (applying Guardian Royal Exchange Assurance of New Zealand Ltd v Stuart (1985) 1 NZLR 396). He also rejected an argument for exemption (s29(1)(b)) based on it being ''Evaluative ... material compiled solely ... (c) for the purpose of deciding whether to insure any individual or property or to continue for review the insurance of any individual or property' (s29(3)), because the information was not ''compiled solely' for that purpose but principally for the different purpose of claim evaluation. However, those parts of the file that indicated that information had been provided to the police by an informant about this matter were exempt from disclosure under s27(1)(c) (likely ''to prejudice the investigation of law'). The insurer was required to disclose the rest of the file.

Graham Greenleaf

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