Driving affordable insurance with digital solutions

Collage of various charts (photo)

By embracing the opportunities offered by new technologies and the digital transformation, we aim to develop solutions that make insurance more affordable, accessible and available to customers. Technology not only allows us to deliver greater efficiencies through the entire insurance value chain, but also to provide innovative insurance covers and share our risk knowledge more widely.

In 2019, our stakeholder dialogue on this 2030 Sustainability Ambition included the following highlights:

  • As part of our Digital Ecosystems Series (May 2019), we published the research report titled “Mobility ecosystems: striving towards a seamless interface for customers”. The study found that urbanisation, changing demographics and greater environmental awareness are putting pressure on existing mobility infrastructure. It also found that rapid urbanisation means that societies will increasingly need sustainable and resilient mobility solutions, including a more dynamic use of existing systems, as well as newer tech-enabled mobility platforms.
  • As part of our Digital Ecosystems Series (January 2019), we published the research report titled “Extending the boundaries of value creation in insurance”. The study took a look at how different digital ecosystems are creating new markets by combining a variety of services and vendors on one platform to offer consumers a holistic and “power of choice” user experience. Further, by leveraging digital ecosystems, it is expected that reinsurers and insurers will be better able to customise their products to customers’ needs.
  • We co-organised “The Power of Predictions” conference together with the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute and IBM. Swiss Re Institute positioned the effects of better predictions in the insurance industry, and how financial markets and risk allocation will evolve. In addition, we presented emerging trends and risks that are key for the insurance industry and future of societies.
  • We produced the sigma issue 4/2019: “Advanced analytics”, which investigated how re/insurers will be able to unlock new frontiers in property and casualty re/insurance. Through the use of structured and unstructured data sources from new sensor networks and platforms, re/insurers will be able to price new markets and risk classes, as well as make existing processes more efficient.

Digital responsibility

Digitalisation across the re/insurance value chain is accelerating. It is expected that it will enhance the value provided to customers as well as foster closing of protection gaps. Thus, it is important to actively promote digitalisation to harness these advantages. However, the use of artificial intelligence and digital personal data also raises ethical concerns regarding fairness, inclusion, hardship and solidarity. In this context, we have started to develop our own ethical guidance to enable swift digitalisation in SRZ, while at the same time ensuring that we maintain customers’ trust, differentiate our services, and safeguard our reputation as a leading re/insurance company.

Various regulators around the world have started to evaluate the need for regulations on the topic of big data / digital ethics or have issued initial guidelines. Swiss Re actively engages in discussions with regulators by participating in regulatory expert groups, contributing to studies and reports, as well as giving feedback to consultations and responding to regulatory questionnaires.

The European Insurance and Occupational Pension Authority (EIOPA) has appointed a Swiss Re employee to its consultative expert group for digital ethics and to chair the workstream on Fairness and Non-Discrimination. The outcomes of this work are expected to be published in 2021.

In 2019, we supported the finalisation of a three-year research project on “Between Solidarity and Personalization – 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 was funded by Switzerland’s National Research Programme 75 on “Big Data”. The final report has been published and is available at www.nfp75.ch.

Additionally, we contributed to the report “Promoting Responsible Artificial Intelligence in Insurance”, published by the Geneva Association. The publication analysed a selection of ethics guidelines issued by governmental and non-governmental organisations, as well as private companies. It took a close look at the topics of transparency, explainability and fairness, which are particularly complex for re/insurers to interpret and implement. It also explores how to address the key trade-offs that arise in applying these principles.

For Swiss Re’s commitment to data protection and privacy compliance, see Ensuring good corporate governance and compliance.