Data and Analytics are exciting
both for insurance and for the ethics questions they raise

Choose from one of these 'data and analytics'  themes. If you want to browse everything, click here, or use the search box below.  


Data and Analytics are moving insurance firms in new and exciting directions. Yet in doing so, they are also challenging the ability of those firms to maintain accountability for the outcomes being generated. Important questions are being raised and executives need to have answers ready.  

Find out what the issues are...

The biggest ethics challenge for insurers in 2019 (article)

The Great Accountability Challenge - looks at 7 issues raised by digitisation (article)

Accountability in an era of algorithm driven insurance – between a rock and a hard place? (article)

Could algorithms make insurance firms ungovernable? (article)

The ethics of big data – a critical window of opportunity for insurance firms (article)

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Digital Panopticon and the new power of data

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Data and Privacy

Questions of data and privacy are amongst the most often raised. GDPR has focused minds, yet it doesn't cover everything. Just because a firm can collect this or that piece of data, doesn't mean it should do so. Consumers want reassurances, but about what exactly?  

Find out what the ethical issues look like...

Why data is the key regulatory challenge in financial services (article)

?How objective is the data your firm uses to make decisions (article)

How to challenge four common myths about privacy (article)


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Something I wrote a few years back...

Big Data Conversation

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Algorithms and Decisions

As algorithms enhance and then automate decisions in underwriting and claims, how should firms exercise management control and oversight? What are the risks they must look out for, and how far should they push some analytical opportunities?  

Find out what the ethical issues are...

Why that magic element of big data could be fatal for insurers (article)

One vital rule for insurers to remember about predictive analytics (article)

Why underwriters need to use predictive analytics with care (article)

Analytics is the new frontier for insurance – exciting but dangerous (article)

Some Thoughts on Data and Analytics

Beneath the everyday news of insurtechs and incumbents are some meta trends that are changing the structure of insurance in new and powerful ways.  The meta trends run deep and power the more specific ‘surface trends’, in a similar way to ocean currents.

My research has found six meta trends that are changing not just insurance, but the relationship between insurers and consumers.  These six meta trends are defining how trust is won or lost in a digitised insurance market. Some of them are more developed than others, but crucially, they’re all underway already. Watch the blog for more.

Client Project

Recognising that pricing trends could introduce reputational risks to their business, this client asked me to map out key developments and extend them into near future scenarios. Important decision points were identified so that their pricing people were better prepared for subsequent events

Fairness and Equality

When regulators have intervened in certain data and analytics practices, it has been fairness and non-discrimination that have been most often cited as the reason. These are minefields from which reputations are rarely salvaged, so understanding the issues from the start is vital.

Find out what the ethical issues are...

Data, Equality and Insurance: a small survey (article)

Social Sorting: could it be the stuff of nightmares for insurance firms? (article)

Insurance, Fairness and the work of Marie Curie (article)

Insurance marketing and the dangers of manufactured vulnerability (article)

The Ethical Problems at the root of the Mohammed and John Quotations (article)

Client Project

This client wanted to explore their understanding of fairness in a digitised market and so called me in to provide some ‘critical friend’ challenge. My understanding of their work and the pressures they would typically be facing meant I could both recognise and explore their boundaries with them. From this event, the client felt less bound by ‘group think’ and much more open to thinking about the future in new ways.

A Thought on Fairness and Equality

About 4 years ago, state insurance regulators in the United States started banning certain data driven underwriting practices because they were viewed as unfair and discriminatory. 20 states followed suit, some big, others small. The lesson here is for insurers to be prepared for regulatory push back on certain practices, with fairness and equality being cited as the main issue. What are you prepared for?


Questions about where personalisation might lead the insurance market have grown steadily since first being raised in this blog over five years ago. Is it pointing insurance towards a cliff, or a bright new future? Will it drawn consumers to the market, or distance them forever? 

Find out what the ethical issues are...

Do personalised premiums mean the end of risk pooling? (article)

Personalisation – could it take insurance into a digital winter? (article)

Ethics, data and analytics: the problem that insurers will have with identity (article)

Price optimisation – approach with care! (article)

Is this the most controversial claims innovation of all? (article)

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Client Project

At this client’s annual workshop on future trends, I facilitated a discussion on the impact that data and analytics would have on their core functions. Lots of questions were raised and the implications discussed. The outcome was a much more shared platform of understanding upon which attendees could then discuss and coordinate their response more confidently. They have a clearer picture of the landscape ahead of them and started mapping out a more reliable course. 

I help insurance people to understand more about the ethical issues associated with data and analytics, so that they can make better decisions...

I provide insurers with insight into the implications of emerging trends around data and analytics in insurance. This is independent advice, free of parallel interests. The perspective is that of building trust in a digitised market.

I help insurers avoid the drift into a digital group think, with pragmatic challenge on key questions that can sometimes be missing from the project radar. This is about highlighting connections and consequences for your people to think about.

Being probably the only person active in the UK insurance market with a postgraduate degree in innovation, my input to client projects is a rich blend of market knowledge and academic thoroughness. I have an ongoing engagement with the academic community.

I’m part of the debate on the future of insurance, and clients draw on that foresight to help shape their own long term plans. This helps them position ‘trust’ as an active part of their digital planning, giving it a clear and structured voice.

If you'd like an informal chat about how I might help your firm, get in touch via the contact form below

A Good Read

Daniel Solove's book  is an excellent analysis of what is meant by privacy. It's accessible and contains many points relevant to insurance. 

Another Good Read

'Emotional AI' by Andrew McStay is an important book for insurance people to read because it gets to the heart of the questions they need to be thinking about as they weigh up the use of voice and facial analytics in underwriting, claims and marketing. It's coverage is thorough and well argued. 

Any Questions? Get in touch...