New cybersecurity rules for insurance companies licensed in South Carolina are set to take effect in part on January 1, 2019. The new law is the first in the United States to be enacted based on the data security model law drafted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The law requires licensed insurance companies to notify state insurance authorities of data breaches within 72 hours of confirming that nonpublic information in the company’s (or a service provider’s) system was “disrupted, misused, or accessed without authorization.” The breach reporting requirement is in addition to notification obligations imposed under South Carolina’s breach notification law and applies if the insurance company has a permanent location in the state or if the breach affects at least 250 South Carolina residents, among other criteria. The 72-hour notice requirement takes effect January 1, 2019.

Separately, effective July 1, 2019, the law requires insurance companies licensed in South Carolina to develop and implement a comprehensive, written cybersecurity program. Among other details, the program must be based on a company’s own risk assessments and must include encryption of information in transit, regular testing of systems, and cybersecurity awareness training for employees. The law will also require insurance companies to “exercise due diligence” in choosing third-party service providers and to ensure that service providers have appropriate information safeguards in place no later than July 1, 2020.