Navigating the digital transformation

The digital transformation has the potential to radically transform the re/insurance sector. The huge growth in the range and volume of electronic data from various devices makes it possible to personalise insurance policies to a greater extent and to cover previously excluded risks. At the same time, Big Data raises questions concerning data protection and solidarity. The digital transformation is a research focus of the Swiss Re Institute and one of Swiss Re’s Corporate Responsibility Topics.

Among our activities to navigate the potential and the risks of the digital transformation, we contributed to a research project on “dealing with ethical and legal big data challenges in the insurance industry”, conducted by researchers at the University of Zurich and the University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur. The project receives funding from Switzerland’s National Research Programme 75 on “Big Data”.

The project analyses how re/insurers, in particular, are affected by the ethical and legal challenges arising from the digital transformation and can address them. Furthermore, it examines whether legislation and regulations are fit to address them, and aims to propose a Big Data handling standard for the sector.

We also contributed to the publication “Big Data & Privacy: unlocking value for consumers” published by the CRO Forum ( The publication looks at some of the potential challenges that may arise from using Big Data to improve insurance protection while ensuring data privacy and protection – in particular, in the context of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), to be implemented in May 2018.

For Swiss Re’s in-house data protection policies and standards, please refer to the “Code of Conduct” section.