Poor cyber security, spreading ’fake news’ and failing to protect personal data are classic abuses - Swiss Re Institute

Digital trust is earned by companies who have demonstrated their ability to provide safe, reliable and ethical online programs or devices to their users. The benefits of having digital trust may not be easily visible, yet the cost of losing it can be huge.

In a new report, Swiss Re Institute provides a framework for understanding digital trust, highlighting its relevance against the backdrop of increasing digital automation, both in insurance and across other industries. 

The digital trust pyramid

The paper lays out a nine-step methodology – the digital trust pyramid – that explores digital trust solutions for companies.

Christoph Nabholz, chief research officer at Swiss Re Institute: “As a reinsurer, trust is a fundamental part of our business. In simple terms, when you buy an insurance policy, you receive a promise that we will provide you with financial recompense should disaster strike – and you will trust us to keep our promise. 

“In a world where tech innovations are changing the way we live our lives, including how we manage our health and possessions and much more, digital trust has become of utmost importance.”

Moses Ojeisekhoba, CEO of Reinsurance at Swiss Re: “Providing our clients with reassurance that data will be handled responsibly is a prerequisite for realising the full potential of digital technologies.

”In the reinsurance business, digital trust lays the foundation for all of the digital products and solutions that we create and develop. Building, earning and keeping digital trust cannot be underestimated.” 

Avoid fake news

Misinformation and fake news is an abuse of digital trust, it points out, giving healthcare as an example. Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes are largely caused by poor nutrition and lack of exercise, yet an alarming amount of online information is misleading or false.

This misinformation not only results in the loss of valuable years of life, but also costs close to $1 trillion per year globally, representing 1.1% of the world’s GDP, estimates Swiss Re Institute.

Key highlights include:

  • Cyber resilience is an important step towards establishing digital trust. Swiss Re Institute analysis finds that there is a strong positive correlation between cyber preparedness and digital trust, suggesting that countries that invest in cybersecurity policies, legislation and outcomes experience greater levels of digital trust within their economies. 
  • A key imperative to establishing digital trust is the protection of personal data. Capturing new and personalised data sets, such as real-time monitoring of fitness and exercise data, has clear benefits for helping individuals maintain a healthy lifestyle. It marks a shift in approach from disease treatment to prevention. 
  • Insurers can help to foster digital trust. Traditionally underserved smaller businesses can now better protect their digital assets by partnering with firms that combine comprehensive insurance and proactive cybersecurity tools to help manage and mitigate cyber risk. Insurers can leverage new data sources to design and offer parametric products that pay out in case of disruptions such as internet outages. 
  • Recognised standards help boost digital trust. Legal frameworks, global norms and digital trust labels will serve as building blocks for artificial intelligence to be trusted.