Big Data in Insurance

Held on Thursday, December 6, 2018


  • Dave Birch

  • Jo Ann Barefoot (Barefoot Innovation)

  • Matt Cullen (ABI)



In September this year, John Hancock – the US life insurance arm of Manulife, with c. US$6 billion of annual premiums – announced it would no longer sell conventional life policies. Instead, it will exclusively sell “interactive” policies, tracked through wearable devices and smartphones. Clean-living policy holders can expect discounts and rewards in exchange for their data; less clean-living (or simply privacy-conscious) policy holders cannot.

That is not an isolated example: geodata from smartphones is being used to price motor premiums; smart sensors are affecting home insurance; Allstate is trawling social media to keep fraudulent claims down, and so on.

Nudges towards healthier and safer behaviour might well be beneficial, but – as the CSFI’s technology fellow, Dave Birch pointed out in a recent article – the more targeted insurance becomes, the greater the chances that individuals will become “uninsurable risks”. And that means that “InsureTech” is starting to pose difficult questions about who and what should be insurable.

Dave is calling for “a genuine debate across society to work out what we do with it” and we are delighted to welcome him back. Joining him to discuss the new challenges facing the industry, regulators and civil society, we are pleased to welcome:

  • Jo Ann Barefoot, CEO of Barefoot Innovation Group and a senior adviser to the Omidyar Network. Over the years, Jo Ann has been a Deputy Comptroller of the Currency in the US, a partner at KPMG, and a staff member at the US Senate Banking Committee. In addition to her investment and consulting work, she is currently writing a book on financial innovation and regulation.

  • Matt Cullen, Head of Strategy, Data and Analytics at the ABI. Matt began his career in the UK and US nuclear industries before leading the development of Flood Re. His current responsibilities include developing the UK insurance industry’s response to data, cyber risk and climate change.

If you (or a colleague) would like to join us for what I am sure will be a lively discussion, please let us know by emailing or calling the CSFI on 020 7621 1056. Wine, refreshments and sandwiches will be available.

Sincerely yours,

Andrew Hilton