17 Jul 2019
3 min read
Life and health insurers should embrace regulation and open communication
Updated: Apr 6
We are moving into a new era where sharing individualised digital data becomes the everyday way consumers interact with life and health insurers. However, studies suggest that consumers are uncertain as to how they feel about sharing their data. Some studies show they are relaxed at the prospect (1) with one suggesting more than 60% of US consumers say they are interested in sharing their health data. In contrast, recent research by EY (2) shows that 72% are at least cautious about disclosing their digital data.
How should the insurance industry respond to these divergent opinions as it adapts its business to the age of digital data?
I believe the answer is to build trust with customers. The building blocks of trust are: guaranteeing to protect privacy, that digital information is safe from cyber criminals and that data gathered will be used to deliver more responsive and individualised cover in a faster, cheaper and more accurate way.
The big digital consumer brands have all come under scrutiny in recent months for their holding and management of customer data. And this month’s announcement by Amazon that its Alexa voice control device will partner with the UK’s National Health Service has raised these concerns to an even higher level with one commentator taking to twitter to ask:
How is the data encrypted?
Who has access to the data?
Where is the data stored?
Will the data be used for marketing?
Will the data be sold?
As a business that leverages personal data from wearable and mobile devices and combines that with big data from long-term health studies, HealthyHealth is acutely aware of the need to protect individual data.
In fact, we take this belief so far that contrary to many in business we believe that regulation can be a positive force for improving data security and protection. AND I’d go so far as to say we love GDPR!
Its implementation in 2018 and the work undertaken to meet the requirements in the run up to it, saw many businesses take active measures to improve the management of data.
One year on and the GDPR rules mean that consumers are increasingly aware of how and where their data is used and importantly are able to choose whether or not it is used. This element of choice is vital in the building of trust and in the sharing of health data from wearables and mobile devices.
Open and clear communication from users of data that makes clear how data is used, stored and shared is increasingly vital as we are all, from government to businesses and individuals, more likely to be subject to a cyber-attack.
Finally, organisations that are transparent and open about how they manage and protect their customers’ data will at least be perceived to operate ethically and to be leading by example. In return they may be offered greater levels of consumer support and trust.
In the end, the digital agenda is moving forward and the adoption of wearable and mobile health data solutions have the power to transform the life and health insurance business and we need to empower customers to feel confident to share their data. I believe that building confidence through a robust regulatory environment that is actively embraced by data users combined with transparency between, the individual wearable user, insurance company and data management business will ensure that the technology can deliver benefits to everyone across the life and health value chain.