What are you interested in?

It's now more important than ever for underwriters to be fully aware of the ethical side to their work and how to manage it effectively. You're in the right place to find out what that involves and how to go about it. 

Choose from one of these 'ethics and underwriting' themes. If you just want to browse, click here, or use the search box below.  

Pricing Practices and the Super Complaint

"What are the ethical questions associated with insurance pricing? And how can we start preparing our answers?"

The regulator has spent several years preparing for this market study. It's important that your team gets up to speed quickly. That's where I can help.

Find out what the ethical issues are...

The underlying warning in the FCA’s report on household insurance pricing (article)

The super complaint will put pricing practices under intense scrutiny (article)

Answering the big questions about principles for insurance pricing (article)

Dual Pricing in Insurance – the beginning of the end? (article)

Why insurers need to prepare for some tough scrutiny of their underwriting (article)

A hugely significant decision for personal lines pricing (article)

Pricing Principles are a potential remedy. This guides explains all...

Principles for insurance pricing

Click on the guide cover to download it

Some Insight I provide to Clients...

The super-complaint doesn't have to demonstrate that consumer interests have been damaged. It just needs to show that consumer interests are at risk of being damaged.

With the increasingly use of algorithms in pricing, the General Data Protection Regulation might be triggered. Under certain circumstances, it allows for experts to verify how complex decisions are being arrived at. And it allows for 'significant effects' to be interpreted through not just an individual lens, but a group lens as well. 

Could the super-complaint lead to pricing algorithms being opened up and examined? It's a possibility. 

A Must Read for All Underwriting People

I've been tracking the ethical issues associated with insurance pricing for several years, drawing on insight from regulators, NGOs, academics and insurance people. I outlined much of that insight in this article from October 2017. Click on the image to read it

The super complaint puts the ethics of insurance pricing under an intense spotlight. Your firm needs to understand everything that's involved. Get in touch to see up a meeting with me so that we can map everything out and prepare your response.

Analytics, Data and the Digital Future 

"What do these calls for data ethics mean to how we underwrite business? Where do we start with data ethics? And what's expected of us?"

"Big data is not played under different rules", the Information Commissioner told insurers a few years ago. Data and analytics raise some significant ethics questions. Privacy is one, but there are other fundamental ones that insurers need to understand and have answers for. 

Find out what the ethical issues are...

Gender bias in artificial intelligence: a vital trust issue for Insurers (article)

Is big data steering insurance towards a cliff or a superhighway? (article)

It looks like the FCA really does not understand big data (article)

Destructive demand: Is it happening in insurance underwriting now? (article)

Access to medical records is controversial but achievable (article)

Click here to see all Underwriting articles

Research for a client...

Big Data Conversation

Click on the report cover to go to the CII download page

Conferences I've spoken at on digital futures...


The ABI 'Cyber, Data and Technology' conference 2017

European Computer, Privacy and Data Protection - 2017

2016 Financial Times Future of Insurance Conference

Big Changes like Personalisation

"What should I be on the lookout for with all these big changes happening in insurance? Are there problems associated with 'personalisation?' What ethical risks should we watch for as our approach to underwriting evolves?"

These big changes are revolutionising insurance in exciting ways. They're also linked with some fundamental issues, like access to insurance and vulnerability. Just the sort of 'political' issues that will not go away. Understanding how they fit together is a big part of my work with clients.   

Find out what the ethical issues are...

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

Ethical storm ahead – insuring people with experience of mental illness(article)

The atomisation of insurance (article)

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

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

Click here to see all Underwriting articles

This guide explains the big issues...

ethics and underwriting

Click on the guide cover to start the download

Some Insight I provide to Clients...

The trend towards ever greater personalisation in retail general insurance changes the relationship a firm has with its clients. Here are two ways...

Personalisation lets you know more about a person, but that doesn't in itself built trust. It's important not to confuse proximity with intimacy. The latter is only given when the person trusts you. 

And as personalisation becomes individualisation, arguments about social justice and accessibility can explode. Firms have to understand how this happens in order to prepare their response.  

Fairness and Non Discrimination 

"What should we be on the lookout for with issues like fairness and discrimination? What should our response look like? And where do we start?" 

This is where insurers will face some direct challenges. Forget about the technicalities of pricing, cover or risk. The media will raise some challenging questions and will want explanations. This is where you can start framing your response.

Find out what the ethical issues are...

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

Ethical storm ahead – insuring people with experience of mental illness(article)

Two simple ways to make a fair decision (article)

Building a persuasive argument on fairness (article)

The dangers of unintentional discrimination (article)

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

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

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Moving the Debate forward...


In 2015, I took part in a panel discussion on fairness at the actuarial community's general insurance conference.

I've lectured on fairness and discrimination in insurance at the University of Leicester and the University of Southampton

My 2017 ethics lecture to the Insurance Institute of Ireland was based upon the practicalities of ethical decision making

The Prospect of Equal Treatment...

In a series of four posts, I explored the ramifications that an Equal Treatment Directive could have on insurance...

1- will rating on age and disability soon be deemed unfair? (article)

2 - on a collision course with price optimisation? (article)

3 - Transparency on a vast scale (article)

4 - the spectre of polarisation (article)

What does this mean for your firm?

Helping clients to understand and respond to the ethical implications of their underwriting strategies is a big part of my work with insurance firms. 

Some of those ethical implications are in the public eye at the moment. I bring an independent and professional  mind to how you fashion your response. My input is well known for being pragmatic, yet full of insight about what different approaches could mean.

Other ethical implications are on the horizon. I give input into forums like the CII's Future Horizons Group and the Digital Ethics Forum, as well as a number of academic research groups.

My in-depth analysis is delivered to clients. They want to understand the ethical landscape in which their underwriting is developing, as well as the way in which ethical forces could impact on their plans. What they're seeking is greater certainty that their underwriting plans support the trust that they want their clients to have in the firm. 

Get in touch using this contact form if you'd like to meet up for a preliminary discussion. 

Current topics I'm working on...

  • Underwriting and application fraud
  • Behavioural bias affecting underwriting teams
  • SMCR and algorithmic trading
  • The use of credit histories in underwriting 
  • The influence of empathic agents in underwriting processes

This analysis is on issues at the heart of current and emerging underwriting practices. Get in touch if you'd like to know more.

This in-depth analysis of a key underwriting trend highlighted important ethical issues...

Click on the report cover to go to the CII download page

Smart Policy Wordings 

"What sort of ethical issues do smart policy wordings throw up? Is this something I should be engaging with suppliers on? What should I watch out for as these developments roll out?" 

Find out what the ethical issues are...

Can insurance delivered over the blockchain be labelled trustless? (article)

Smart contracts in insurance: clever but dangerous (article)

Click here to see all Underwriting articles

Recent articles on Underwriting...

How do you feel about insurers tracking and analysing your emotions?
Insurers are using data and analytics to track and predict our emotions. Yet using it in underwriting and claims decisions raises some significant ethical issues. Here's why.
How good are your firm’s algorithms? Can you prove it?
There's a lot of excited claims being made about algorithms in insurance. Can they credible? Can they be trusted? It's time to remove the hype and focus on performance.
Ethics, data and analytics: the problem that insurers will have with identity
Data and analytics is changing insurance in all sorts of exciting ways, but it's also raising some fundamental ethical questions. The first we'll be looking at is identity
Why confusion could become a key ethics metric for insurers
The quality of policy wordings could well be coming under close scrutiny soon - scored for comprehension and audited for confusion. Time for your firm to tune in.