25 May 2017 Insurance

Insurers at risk of losing sales pipeline under new data protection laws

Insurers will have to delete two thirds of the records they hold on past customers, losing a vital sales pipeline, under new data protection laws, research from Consumer Intelligence and fast.MAP suggests.

Companies must obtain explicit permission from customers to store their information under GDPR, which becomes law on May 25, 2018, or risk a fine of 4 percent of the company's global turnover or £16.5 million.

As well as changing how new customers opt in to allow insurance companies to store their personal information, companies must also get permission to keep information about any previous customers on file. If they don’t get active consent by the May 25 deadline, they will be required to delete millions of records.

However, a survey of over 1,000 drivers conducted by Consumer Intelligence and fast.MAP revealed that only 32 percent would give permission for their insurer to keep their information after they leave for “legitimate purposes”, the criteria set by the rules.

Consumer Intelligence CEO Ian Hughes said that too many GDPR committees in insurance firms are comprised exclusively of compliance, risk and IT experts, without involvement from marketing or customer-centric teams.

“You need [clients] to opt in, and that means giving them a reason to want to stay connected. If you simply write to them and say ‘is it ok to keep your data for legitimate purposes?’ only a third will say yes,” Hughes said. “For the many brands that rely on targeting past customers to maintain their policy numbers, that would be disastrous.”

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