ROYAL and Sun Alliance (RSA) has been fined £150,000 following the loss of personal information of nearly 60,000 customers.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said the fine followed its investigation into the theft of a hard drive from the insurer’s offices in West Sussex containing 59,592 customers’ names, addresses and bank account details including account numbers and sort codes.

The device also held limited credit card details of 20,000 customers, although CVC numbers and expiry dates were not affected.

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ICO enforcement officers found that RSA did not have appropriate measures in place to protect financial information.

It said the device was stolen either by a member of staff or a contractor, adding that the information was not encrypted and the device has never been recovered.

ICO head of enforcement Steve Eckersley said: “Customers put their trust in companies to keep their information safe, particularly financial information.

““We discovered an organisation that simply didn’t take adequate precautions to protect customer information.

“Its failure to do so has caused anxiety for its customers, not to mention potential fraud issues.”

He added: “There are simple steps companies should take when using this type of equipment including using encryption, making sure the device is secure and routine monitoring of equipment.”