By Angelique Strumpher at SilverBridge Holdings.
With the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) that came into effect on 1 July this year, time for companies to ensure compliance has run out. POPIA has a significant impact on data-rich organisations such as insurers; it also presents them with opportunities to innovate, modernise and digitalise in ways they might not have considered before.
Fundamentally, POPIA provides guidelines for organisations around the collection, processing, storing, and sharing of any personal information collected by them and holds them accountable for any loss or abuse of information they have. Robust systems need to be in place that can scale as data warehouses grow, while safeguarding the integrity of stored information. POPIA has created a springboard for insurers to clean up outdated legacy systems and has enabled the move towards a single, consolidated view of their policyholders, premium payers and beneficiaries. Insurers can better position themselves in the delivery of customised and richer end user experiences, reducing churn while driving business growth.
Insurers will also have to be more transparent in terms of the purpose of why personal information is collected and how it is used, what is stored, and where and who has access to this information, in particular identity numbers and bank details. Customer consent becomes imperative in this environment, especially when it comes to protecting the right to privacy in terms of gaining access to insights that can help shape individualised service offerings.
In addition to cleaning up both historical and current data, insurers can use the cloud to safely store information aligned to their own data governance and data protection policies and procedures. The high-performance computing capabilities available through the cloud in terms of processing big data enables the use of disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, intelligent process automation, machine learning, and the like.
Adopting these agile technology solutions and combining them with human experience, the insurer and its consultants will become more adept at delivering customised offerings better suited to the immediate needs of their customers.
Ensuring compliance, factored with the need to grow, can be challenging. POPIA brings with it an opportunity for organisations to implement better technology solutions, rework existing information processing practices, upskill staff and review internal policies to ensure they are compliant and align to what and how data is collected, processed, stored, communicated and destroyed.
No insurer wants to fall foul of POPIA best practice. Now is the time to gain a better understanding of the advantages of implementing cloud-based solutions to unlock the full value and benefits of being compliant and simultaneously growing your business.
The rapid push towards digitalisation over the past 12 months has certainly helped in this regard as there is an increased awareness about the benefits of adopting a modernised approach to data and its analytics. All told, POPIA is a business imperative to kickstart data transformation and is most certainly a pillar in terms of how organisations reinvent and innovate, regardless of industry sector, in terms of the protection of personal information and the use thereof.