This year’s ‘Actuary of the Year’ in Australia is an expert in data ethics in insurance. This recognition points to a growing awareness in the actuarial community, at least in Australia, that data ethics is very much part of ‘what they do’.

Chris Dolman is the ‘Executive Manager, Data and Algorithmic Ethics’ at Insurance Australia Group (IAG). Prior to taking on a role focussed on data ethics, he was IAG’s analytics director.

His overall work on data ethics follows two paths. One path is orientated around his IAG role addressing the “practical application of 'AI ethics/responsible AI/AI risk management' in industry’ and ‘the social impact of data availability, automation and AI in insurance’. The other path relates to his engagement with people outside of IAG. This includes...

  • his work with academics on ethical issues arising out of AI (this for example);
  • as a Fellow of the Gradient Institute, an independent, not-for-profit research institute dedicated to the advancement of ethical AI systems;
  • his work with other actuaries and the Australian Human Rights Commission pro-actively developing guidance for actuaries around artificial intelligence and anti-discrimination in insurance.

I’ve discussed data ethics with Chris on numerous occasions and he really does stand out for the insight he brings to the issues at hand. I know of no one else with his scope and depth of understanding of insurance, data and ethics.

What I think is worth highlighting are the multiple avenues through which Chris has approached data ethics. His engagement with academics, other professions, government and the actuarial profession is a very outward looking approach to data ethics in insurance.

I believe this outward looking approach is one that is mostly likely to build trust in insurance, especially as it develops new digital ways of working. I do see other actuarial communities pursuing similar paths and hopefully, this recognition for Chris will signal to them that they’re going in the right direction.

You can see the full text of the AIA announcement here.

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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