Unitrin Direct Insurance Company Earns TRUSTe Privacy Seal; TRUSTe Privacy Seal Granted to Unitrin Direct for Helping Consumers Protect Privacy and Security Online

VISTA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Feb. 23, 2001–Unitrin Direct Insurance Company today announced that it has joined the TRUSTe privacy seal program. Today’s announcement demonstrates that Unitrin Direct meets TRUSTe’s strict requirements in the areas of notice, choice, access and security.

Beginning immediately, Unitrin Direct Insurance Company will prominently display the TRUSTe Privacy Seal, or “trustmark,” on its Web site. The TRUSTe seal offers a direct link to Unitrin Direct’s privacy statement, which provides Web site visitors with details of the company’s privacy and security policies. By displaying the TRUSTe Privacy Seal, Unitrin Direct will assure its customers about how the company’s Web site handles personally identifiable information.

“Obtaining insurance quotes and purchasing insurance online requires an extraordinary level of trust on the part of consumers,” according to Larry Sundram, president of Unitrin Direct. “We need to request personal information in order to provide an insurance quote. Our customers must be assured that we will treat their information confidentially and adhere to our posted Privacy Policy. Obtaining the TRUSTe seal is proof of our commitment to the privacy of our customers.”

The TRUSTe privacy seal is an online branded symbol that signifies that a Web site has posted a privacy statement and, moreover, that the company’s data gathering and dissemination practices address the elements of notice, choice, access and security outlined in the Federal Trade Commission’s fair information practices. Specifically, TRUSTe’s licensees must:

disclose their information gathering and dissemination practices,

give users choice – through opt-in or opt-out – of any secondary uses of their personal information,

provide users with access to their personal information to correct any inaccuracies, and

ensure that reasonable security mechanisms are being used to protect the data that is collected.

TRUSTe ensures that its licensees are in compliance with their privacy statement through regular monitoring and the TRUSTe Watchdog, an easy to use alternative dispute resolution mechanism for consumers.

“It has become increasingly clear that the TRUSTe seal has emerged as a symbol that consumers look for when deciding whether to do business with a Web site,” said Bob Lewin, President and CEO of TRUSTe. “By becoming a TRUSTe licensee, Unitrin Direct Insurance Company is making it easy for its customers to protect their personal information online.”

Unitrin Direct joins TRUSTe’s worldwide licensee base of nearly 2,000 Web sites, with representation from virtually every vertical segment on the Internet.

About Unitrin Direct Insurance Company

Based in Vista, California, Unitrin Direct is a member of the Unitrin family of insurance companies, headquartered in Chicago (stock symbol:UNIT). Unitrin, Inc. member companies have served the basic financial needs of individuals, families and small businesses for more than 70 years. Through its subsidiaries, Unitrin provides property and casualty insurance and life and health insurance. The Unitrin family of insurance companies currently has over $5 billion in assets and 6 million insurance policies in force. Unitrin’s insurance companies employ more than 6,700 associates.

About TRUSTe

TRUSTe, the leading privacy seal program, is an independent organization dedicated to building consumer trust and confidence in the Internet. The TRUSTe coalition of participating companies includes America Online, [email protected], Intel, Intuit and Microsoft.

Founded in 1997, TRUSTe is the premier privacy seal program worldwide. The TRUSTe seal is currently displayed on all of the Internet’s portal sites and has been rated by Cheskin Research as the most trust-invoking seal online. Since the summer of 1999, Nielsen//NetRatings has continuously rated TRUSTe as the most visible symbol on the Internet. Today, the TRUSTe maintains the largest privacy seal program with nearly 2,000 Web sites certified throughout the world.

TRUSTe is based in San Jose, CA, with an office in Washington, DC. To learn more about protecting your privacy online, visit the TRUSTe Web site at www.truste.org.

CONTACT: Unitrin Direct Insurance Company

Marc Zeitlin, 760/597-4630

[email protected]



Dave Steer, 415/260-9669

[email protected]