Consumers are sharing personal data they would rather keep private

16 April 2014

SSP, a leading global technology solutions provider in the insurance industry, reveals that consumers are sharing personal information without being aware that it is being made widely available.

SSP commissioned omnibus research in the UK to understand how consumers felt about sharing information about themselves.

With big data being the number one item on many insurance organisations’ agendas, SSP capitalised on its unique visibility across the whole insurance value chain to understand how personal data sharing is perceived by consumers. The research was undertaken with The Leadership Factor, a leading provider of consumer research in the UK, utilising the monthly omnibus survey amongst a nationally representative base of UK adults.

Consumers were asked “what personal information would you be prepared to share if you could get lower insurance premiums as a result?”

Over half of respondents (59%) were prepared to share publically available information and/or information held by the insurance company or related organisations such as the DVLA. This rose to 66% for information provided by the individual themselves in relation to an insurance policy quote. But this means one third of people would not be prepared to share this information – indicating they see the information as being provided specifically for one single activity (i.e. obtaining a policy quote). It also indicates people may not be aware this information is already shared amongst the insurer community.

Only 28% of consumers would be prepared to share socio/geolocational information, and the same percentage would only consider sharing information they have specifically authorised to be used. There is a large disconnect here, as many are making this information available via Facebook usage and through allowing locational mobile phone apps. Clearly people aren’t aware of the implications of how they handle information about themselves. An even lower percentage of consumers are prepared to share financial transaction and credit information (21%).

The case for telematics as a mainstream service is supported by 61% of people, indicating they are prepared to share their personal driving behaviour – a similar percentage to those prepared to share publically available data. This indicates a level of comfort in line with other more traditional data sources.

Males are generally more comfortable sharing information, with a higher percentage than females across all categories. The closest alignment across the sexes is where the individual has specifically authorised sharing of the information – so maybe women are more controlling than men after all!

Looking at attitudes across different age bands, the propensity for sharing socio/geolocational information unsurprisingly declines with age, with 39% of 18-24 year olds happy to share, falling to only 17% of over 65s. But this still means that over half of younger age groups are not happy to share this information, even to get lower insurance premiums.

The propensity to share publically available information declines with age from the 18-24 band through to the 45-54 age band, but then surprisingly increases in the 55-64 and 65+ age bands. A similar declining profile was seen in insurance company and related data and personal driving behaviour data in the bands up to age 44, followed by an increase in the 45-65+ age brackets. Indeed these two older age bands have the highest percentage prepared to share personal driving behaviour – maybe because they perceive themselves to be good drivers! If this is because they perceive themselves to be good drivers, this has implications for encouraging drivers to engage with driving behaviour telematics applications.

It is unlikely that this reluctance to share in the 60s and 70s baby boomer population is due to a recognition or awareness of the value of their own personal data to insurers, as the trend is pretty consistent across all information sources, indicating it is more culturally/age-related. So much for the laid back 1960s mentality!

Pam Wilde, Marketing Director for SSP, said “SSP has a unique position in the industry and has full visibility across the entire insurance value chain – from the consumer through to the carrier. This means we are informed and can link together the different elements of the chain – for example between insurers and brokers – to provide insight for our customers. No other provider is able to see what we can, so they risk making decisions without seeing the full landscape. This research enables organisations further up the value chain to understand their ultimate customers’ view of data sharing, which will inform their own organisation’s data strategy.”

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