Technology Small Print – Why it Matters to Your Insurance Brokerage

The biggest threat to your insurance business and its data might not be cyber-attackers. In fact, it might be the way you use technology within your business. Recently AVG, the free anti-virus provider, announced that their privacy policy was changing and that they would be tracking the way their users operate online and could start selling that data to other companies.

Of course it’s not just AVG that are in on this act; Google and Facebook are two technology companies that already track user behaviour and sell the data on. This is particularly worrying in the case of Google because the company is already holding an incredible amount of data thanks to its search engine scanning utilities.

Why Does this Matter?

It matters because increasingly, technology companies are looking to get involved in insurance. Both Google and Amazon are already honing in on the market place and are likely to end up putting price pressure on premiums particularly in the business-to-consumer space.

That means data created from within insurance brokerages and insurers is going to be of increasing interest and value to technology companies. In short, if they can track the way that you conduct your business online; they can evolve competitive models based around that data.

In short, the use of technology within the work place can hand your competitors a significant advantage without your consent. Of course, the technology providers will argue that they anonymize your data and that you consent to their long winded privacy policies.

The ridiculous length of most user agreements means that the vast majority of them never get read at all – we would probably need to spend an extra week (or more) of the year at our desks to get through them; so this argument holds little weight but it won’t matter because someone, somewhere ticked the “yes, take it – I can’t handle reading this” box. That’s all it takes for these businesses to start using your data.

How Can You Combat This?

You can start to track sites that raise privacy concerns and block them and in turn recommend alternatives. DuckDuckGo’s search engine, for example, offers Google like results without collecting any data to sell to advertisers.

Facebook use should be limited to your social media team and otherwise be just straight up banned from the office. People can always keep up with what their friend had for lunch or the latest cat picture on their smartphones (assuming they’re not company phones).

AVG can be replaced, at a cost, with a paid for package which doesn’t collect and sell your data.

Now, more than ever, brokers need to be aware of data tracking from reputable businesses and take action to prevent their data from contributing to their competition’s success.