min read

How ISO standards secure Australia's health insurance industry

Rich Atkinson
October 31, 2023
A woman sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen smiling.

For the health insurance industry, safeguarding health information is not just a regulatory requirement but a trust pact with millions of Australians. Balancing this responsibility with the need to offer an engaging digital experience presents a unique challenge.

In an era where data breaches are far too common, it's essential for health funds to demonstrate unwavering commitment to data security while ensuring that members have easy and efficient access to their services.

The rising concerns of data breaches in the healthcare industry

Data breaches have become a growing concern, especially in sectors that handle sensitive information like healthcare and insurance. The consequences of such breaches are not just financial; they can erode trust, damage reputations, and have long-lasting effects on consumers.

Statistics highlighting the vulnerability:

· According to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), the health sector reported the highest number of data breaches in 2020, accounting for 22% of all breaches.

· A study by IBM revealed that the average cost of a data breach in the healthcare sector is $7.13 million, the highest of all industries surveyed.

· The same study found that it takes an average of 280 days to identify and contain a breach, giving adversaries ample time to exploit the data.


What are ISO certifications?

The International Organization for Standardization, commonly known as ISO, is an independent, non-governmental international body that develops standards to ensure the quality, safety, and efficiency of products, services, and systems. These standards are recognised globally and are seen as a mark of excellence in various sectors, including healthcare.

ISO 27001 - Information Security Management

One of the most pertinent certifications for the health insurance industry is ISO 27001, which pertains to Information Security Management Systems (ISMS). This standard provides a framework for organisations to manage and protect their information assets, ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability. For health insurers, achieving ISO 27001 certification means they have robust systems in place to protect sensitive member data from breaches, unauthorised access, and other threats.

ISO 9001 - Quality Management Systems

ISO 9001 is the gold standard for quality management systems. It ensures that organisations consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements while demonstrating continuous improvement. For health insurance providers, adhering to ISO 9001 means they are committed to delivering quality services to their members, continually refining their processes, and maintaining a customer-centric approach.

Why ISO certifications matter in health insurance

In the health insurance landscape, where sensitive data is paramount, ISO certifications stand as pillars of trust, security, and compliance. These are vital not just internally, but when engaging with third party software providers or when building custom software.


1. Robust data protection

ISO 27001 offers a structured approach to safeguarding member data, ensuring protection against breaches and unauthorised access. This standard ensures that insurers have stringent measures to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of member information.

2. Building member trust

ISO certifications signal to members that their data is treated with utmost care, adhering to globally recognised standards.


3. Meeting regulatory standards

ISO certifications, especially ISO 27001, align with key supervisory regulations like APRA's CPS 234. Achieving this certification ensures compliance with industry regulations, bolstering an insurer's market reputation.


As data breaches become more prevalent, the need for robust security measures has never been more critical. ISO certifications, particularly ISO 27001 and 9001, offer a beacon of trust and quality in this complex environment. They not only ensure that health funds adhere to global standards of data protection and quality management but also serve as a testament to their commitment to member trust and satisfaction.

Choose ISO certified partners

If you are looking to ensure member data security in your digital member services portal or other software, we recommend engaging a software development company who prioritises member security. For example, teams like ours here at Airteam, a Member Health Fund Alliance partner who have both ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 certifications. 

You can reach out to us via our contact form, by email, or learn more about our member portal and health insurance software solutions.

Share this post