31 March 2017

General Data Protection Regulation - insurance industry raises concerns

The Lloyd’s Market Association has coordinated an industry response to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on its guidance on how firms should obtain explicit consent from policyholders and beneficiaries of insurance cover for the processing of sensitive personal data.  This is a vital legal ground for the processing of such data under the GDPR and clarity is essential.

There are many insurance products which rely on the provision of personal data for arranging and underwriting purposes and when claims arise.  When this involves for example health or travel insurance, some of this data is inevitably sensitive (Special Category data under the GDPR).  If a policyholder wants insurance protection, then clearly this goes hand-in-hand with the provision of necessary data – and the same when they want a claim paid (i.e. consent is a pre-condition to the insurance cover).  This needs to be recognised by the ICO.

Unlike the healthcare sector, which has a specific ground under the GDPR for processing sensitive personal data, the insurance industry has no such ground. Either the ICO’s guidance must clearly acknowledge and allow consent to go hand-in-hand with the provision of the service, or we need a dedicated legal ground for processing such data.

To this end, the LMA, ABI, IUA, BIBA, LIIBA and BIPAR have made a joint representation to the ICO and have also asked the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) to consider a new dedicated processing ground, which it has power to make.  

The associations have worked with DAC Beachcroft, Norton Rose Fulbright and Clyde & Co in putting together these submissions.

Steve Morrell of the LMA said “The insurance industry takes the protection of personal data very seriously and we welcome the strengthening of consumers’ rights to manage their data.  We don’t think it is the intention of the ICO to prejudice the provision of valuable and necessary products and services to consumers.  However, the current drafting of the ICO guidance could make that an unfortunate unintended consequence.”

The ICO consultation closes today.

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Notes to Editors

For further information please contact:
James Milne, Communications Manager
Lloyd’s Market Association
T 0207 327 8405

About the Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA)

Formed in 2001 and located in the heart of the Lloyd’s Building in the City of London, the Lloyd's Market Association represents the interests of the Lloyd’s underwriting community. All underwriting businesses at Lloyd’s are members, together managing gross premium income of around £30billion per annum. 

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