Nick Wright, AFL Insurance Brokers Head of Operations, explains why GDPR fits perfectly with London Market modernisation initiatives, representing a further opportunity for independent brokers to demonstrate their value.
There’s nothing quite like a new regulation to ruffle a few feathers, and the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has certainly done that. From implementing the opt-in personal data consent rules to ensuring rigorous data storage, encryption and security protocols are in place, with effect from 25th May GDPR is bringing data responsibility to the boardroom of every company.
It’s a hugely welcome development from AFL’s point of view. And not just because GDPR should herald the end of the dreaded pre-ticked opt in box (not before time!). GDPR is another opportunity for independent brokers to demonstrate their expertise and the value they bring, particularly to multinational policy coordination and reverse flow business, which present specific compliance challenges.
The team at AFL has worked extensively in conjunction with our legal partners and our international peers in the Worldwide Broker Network to share knowledge on the requirements and implications of GDPR. Our activities have been running for months, and have included a panel discussion at the WBN Conference in San Antonio hosted by AFL Corporate Managing Director Steve Vickers, and a comprehensive series of webinars and training sessions hosted by AFL Founder and Non-Executive Director Alex Finch.
The result? AFL and WBN are GDPR ready and have been for some time. But who else is? Now, more than ever, it is crucial to have confidence in the relationships your broker has with their overseas partners, and their understanding of and compliance with GDPR.
Modernising the insurance market
GDPR’s data-driven approach is forcing those companies who are still resisting modernisation initiatives to review their entire data culture and systems. Excellent! GDPR represents an opportunity for (re)insurance businesses to assess their IT systems from end to end, and modernise – raising standards across the specialist (re)insurance sector that in the past has been guilty of dragging its heels.
And, from a business development perspective for insurers, the challenge of GDPR compliance presents a clear opportunity for the development of specialist insurance products – from cyber risk to liability and reputation risk – that offer expert coverage for GDPR-applicable territories.
The principles and disciplines that GDPR engenders also ties in with more progressive company cultures. We are proud of AFL’s modern, open plan office space, for instance, and our clear desk and clear screen policy is not only supporting GDPR compliance, but also improving the working environment for all our employees.
Lead the great data debate
We live in an era of great data debate, with global social networks coming under the spotlight for their data sharing practices, the threat of hacking attacks and massive data breaches impacting every area of the economy, and the emergence of data-heavy technologies, like Machine Learning and Blockchain, raising new questions about data ownership and accountability.
Understanding and respecting the importance of having robust governance, together with systems and controls in place to protect the rights of individuals when it comes to their personal data, are now the hallmarks of a professional, trustworthy and modern business.
GDPR represents the toughest data protection regulation on the planet – anyone who views this as a negative has missed the point. The London Market, already a custodian of global specialty risks, now must rise to the challenge of being a data custodian too. The AFL team and our international partners are ready and willing to lead by example, and showcase our expertise in working across geographies and sectors with efficiency and confidence.