Big data reveals risks but is not risk-free

Esko Kivisaari, Finance Finland’s deputy managing director, has joined a new expert group that covers the use of Big Data Analytics in insurance. The Consultative Expert Group on Digital Ethics in Insurance was established by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority EIOPA.

Insurance business has always been based on data analytics, and the relevance of data will only continue to grow with new business models, technologies and data sources. Big data refers to extremely large, unstructured and continuously growing data sets that cannot be analysed without advanced statistical and data-processing methods.

”The use of massive data sets naturally raises many ethical questions. The working group was established to address these questions”, Kivisaari says.

All kinds of data is collected on every one of us either with our consent (My Data) or even without our knowledge (Big Data). This data provides a good opportunity to assess risk exposure in an entirely new way.

”The technical potential of the of data is not free of issues, however: it’s easy to make ostensible conclusions out of a large volume of data, but just as easily these conclusions can prove out to be incorrect”, Kivisaari points out.

The aim – and challenge – of the insurance sector is to utilise these massive data sets with exceptional diligence so that customers who share their data can genuinely benefit from it in the form of improved risk sharing.