12 June 2018Analysis

Captives sector must ensure its data is accurate, relevant – and secure

The captives industry must to more to ensure the data it collects and uses is accurate and secure – both for its own accuracy and understanding of the business and because of regulatory requirements.

That was the theme of a panel discussion held on Monday afternoon session at the annual  Bermuda Captive Conference, which is taking place at the Fairmont Southampton Hotel on Bermuda this week.

The session, called Technology & the associated risk – the Software Application. How will it impact the insurance industry?, was chaired by Denise Kelly, business development manager, Websure. The other panelists included: George Thomas, senior adviser, PwC; Andrew Halls, deputy manager, underwriting and claims, JLT Management (Bermuda); and Andrew Vaucrosson, chief business development officer, Nova.

Kelly stated by offering an overview of just why data integrity is so important to companies and developed some of the questions and themes the panel went onto discuss.

Halls told the audience that the implications of not collecting data correctly can be very severe for companies – and may not become apparent for some time.

“It can cause long term issues but which do not become apparent for a long time,” Halls said. “I have seen examples where the cost and waste of this have been extraordinary. It once took me 2.5 weeks to understand the profitability of one line of business because the accountant had logged claims when they were paid rather than incurred. That is the sort of example that demonstrated if you do not capture data correctly, you cannot capture insights correctly.”

Thomas offered advice on good data management including: only collect what you need, keep it secure and be transparent about why you need it and how you used it. He also described some of the implications of the recently implemented GDPR regime in the EU, which applies to any company holding data for an EU citizen. “The industry will be exposed to this in many ways and needs to understand it,” he said.

Vaucrosson offered some wide ranging thoughts on which types of technology will become important to the industry; he attempted to differentiate between the media hype and the real financial impact different technologies will have. He said that things like self-driving vehicles and even blockchain have made little financial impact despite the hype; telematics, on the other hand, is becoming very important to the insurance industry now.

But he added that blockchain could become hugely important to the industry if it is implemented and embraced by the industry. “But it takes a lot of work and investment to get it up and running in the first place,” he admitted.