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Ethics and Insurance: Spotlight on Technology

Ethics and insurance go together like peanut butter and jelly. Insurance agents, brokers, claims adjusters, underwriters, and many others in the insurance ecosystem must take ethics courses annually and reaffirm their commitment to ethical business practices.

When it comes to the ethical use of technology and digital advancements in insurance, insurance agents and brokers can continue to service policyholders ethically while managing the need for digital technology.

Technology, Ethics and Insurance

Vendors and solution providers introduce new technologies daily designed to help the insurance industry in various ways. Some of these innovations are directly customer-facing, like chatbots that answer basic customer questions or software that send emails or text messages automatically. Others provide new information to help underwriters make better decisions or streamline billing processes.

But anything new can add different risks, and insurance technology — or insurtech — is no different. One of these new issues is about the ethics of technology. Here are some things to keep in mind when you consider adopting new technologies at your agency:

Remember the risk of bias in technology.

It is possible that software used in the insurance industry contains bias that the developers have accidentally built in. Because humans build and design AI and other digital products, our perceptions, views, hopes, and biases can unintentionally affect the technology. This means it could negatively affect some consumers. As an agent, you must be aware of this possibility and take steps to reduce or avoid this risk. Developers are also taking measures to reduce the possibility of bias in their AI, but this risk remains as the industry digitizes more of its processes. 

Work with policyholders with their best interests in mind.

New technology allows you to automate communications and turn many workflows into robot-led processes. While these digitizations save you time and money, they may not fit every client’s situation or policyholder’s need. You may need to take a more personal approach at different times, perhaps when a claim is being filed or at the start of a new policy. Being available and responsive to your customers is important as an agent, so avoid the temptation to respond virtually to all contact attempts. Knowing when to reach out personally is a skill you can develop.

Look for guidance within the industry and from digital experts.

Seek out advice when it comes to the ethics of technology. Governments, research agencies, and digital experts have written guidelines about the ethics of AI. The insurance and risk management industry is also establishing guides for the ways in which technology and innovations can be ethically used. These frameworks help companies and consumers be proactive about the ethical use of data and help answer ethical questions digitization introduces. Read about these guidelines and how you can adopt technology ethically to learn more.

How to Keep Ethics a Top Priority Through Digitization

If you’re adding new technology resources to your agency, you may wonder how to keep ethics a top priority while also adopting new innovations. Try these tips:  

  • Attend training focused on ethics and AI.
  • Talk with your colleagues about issues.
  • Subscribe to industry podcasts focused on technology and digital issues.
  • Include discussions on ethical technological use in your team meetings.
  • Ask vendors about the ethics of AI and other innovations you consider bringing to your agency and clients.
  • Become a member of the American Agents Alliance to stay up-to-date on ethics, technology, and other issues affecting independent insurance agents and brokers.

Join the American Agents Alliance to Learn More 

Members of the American Agents Alliance have access to a vast network of peers around the country to discuss ethical concerns with — and valuable discounts on CE courses designed specifically for independent agents and brokers. Join today to stay up-to-date on ethical issues and more.

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