The personalisation of insurance: Data, behaviour and innovation - Liz McFall
From Elizabeth Mcfall on March 10th, 2021
The adoption of Big Data analytics (BDA) in insurance has been controversial but there has been little analysis specifying exactly how insurance practices are changing. Is insurance passively subject to the forces of disruptive innovation, moving away from the pooling of risk towards its personalisation or individualisation, and what might that mean in practice? This paper situates disruptive innovations, particularly the experimental practices of behaviour-based personalisation, in the context of the practice and regulation of contemporary insurance. I, with the help of a group of insurance scholars, argue that behaviour-based personalisation has different and broader implications than have yet been appreciated. BDA is changing how insurance governs risk; how it knows, classifies, manages, prices and sells it, in ways that are more opaque and more extensive than the black boxes of in-car telematics.
Dr Liz McFall is Director of Data Civics and Chancellor’s Fellow based in the Edinburgh Futures Institute and Sociology at the University of Edinburgh. She is a sociologist of markets with a particular interest in how markets for difficult products succeed (and how they fail). Her current research focuses on the impact of data-driven innovations in insurance and in civic regeneration and place-making. She is co-founder of AWED, a collective that make films and installations exploring the orchestration of civic sentiments and data techniques most recently Closes and Opens: a history of Edinburgh’s Futures.