At a recent conference, Ben Fletcher of the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) talked about their ‘Project Revolution’. It aims to achieve a single customer view through the joining up of their various databases.

The MIB operates a range of databases, including…

  • MID - “the central record of all insured vehicles in the UK”
  • IFR - the “industry-wide database of known insurance fraudsters”
  • MIAFTR - a database containing records of written off and stolen vehicles
  • ELD - a database of employers liability policies
  • CUE -  a “central database of motor, home and personal injury/industrial illness incidents reported to insurance companies which may or may not have given rise to a claim.”
  • NCD – a database of policyholders’ no claims discounts.

That’s quite a range of databases, some of which are insurer facing, others consumer facing. How those different interests are balanced and controlled within a ‘single customer view’ database will raise some interesting challenges.

The MIB will be bringing together databases involving people, vehicles and policies. Is there a single customer view there?

And the data in all of these databases comes only from insurers, of which there are some hundreds. Is there a single customer view there?

If none of this data comes from customers, will they be able to find out if that single customer view is accurate, complete and with the right consent?

A single customer view is a big investment that the insurer members of the MIB will want to see a decent return from. Some of that return will come from better insight, yet will that be enough? That’s more likely to come from the single customer view as a platform for growth and expansion. In which case, what does this mean for the MIB’s unusual status? Or its accountability within the regulatory framework?

There’s nothing wrong per se with the idea of a single customer view. Where concerns might arise is around how its scope, depth, configuration and deployment are decided and monitored. The MIB does not have, in my opinion, a strong enough governance framework. If it did, those concerns would be lessened.

Do these concerns matter? They do for the long term health of the sector’s counter fraud initiative. For a lesson in database mismanagement, look at what happened to the insurance market in South Korea back in 2014. Insurers had to close down personal lines sales until the problem was sorted, and even the regulator was penalised.

Duncan Minty
Duncan Minty
Duncan has been researching and writing about ethics in insurance for over 20 years. As a Chartered Insurance Practitioner, he combines market knowledge with a strong and independent radar on ethics.
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