How insurers can take a strategic approach to data


Organizational data is being reframed as a C-level responsibility

Although data is becoming increasingly relevant, only 19 percent of the leaders we surveyed said that a C-level executive is accountable for ensuring that workplace data and technologies are used responsibly and ethically. However, 48 percent noted that they were planning to make a C-level executive accountable in the near future.

Good data governance

Is your insurance business built to make the most of workforce data? Here are some pointers on structuring your leadership team.

  • A C-level executive should have oversight over all the workforce data, and should ensure that the data used to train machine-learning algorithms is correct and diverse. This could be the Chief Compliance Officer or General Counsel, or it could be a new role such as a Chief Ethics Officer or Chief Data Officer.
  • The appointed leader should be supported by an executive-level coalition, which is representative of the different areas within the C-suite. This coalition would be the bridge between the business and others in the external ecosystem who may have access to employee data through “as a service” agreements (software, for example).
  • High-level conversations about data should extend beyond the C-suite and involve the board of directors. Current trends indicate that investors are demanding greater transparency regarding human capital and workplace practices. It follows that new frameworks should be developed to ensure that management is responding to the strategic opportunities of workplace and customer data. This should encompass risk, governance, ethics oversight, culture, the operating model and competitive strategy.
  • Leaders in the business should consider creating an ethics review board. This would harness the coalition’s diverse insights. It could also serve as a collaborative sounding board, in partnership with ethicists, external experts and other specialists, to proactively address any unintended consequences.

The role of the ethicist

Has your organization considered employing an ethicist? As insurers begin to understand the far-reaching implications of collecting, storing, sharing and using employee and consumer data, ethics has become a central consideration. How does a business use data in a way that is unbiased, fair and ethical for all parties? A significant 72 percent of leaders we spoke to believed that ethicists should be employed to evaluate the impact of workplace technology and data, yet only 15 percent had them.

While some insurers may not yet be ready to employ an ethicist, there are other ways to promote the ethical collection and dissemination of data. In my next post in this series, I will discuss the co-ownership of workplace data, and how best practice begins when data strategy becomes inclusive.

For more information on this topic, and a deep dive into the strategy responsibilities of workplace data collection, have a look at this link: Putting Trust to Work. Decoding Organizational DNA: Trust, Data and Unlocking Value in the Digital Workplace.

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