Big data means big challenges – and opportunities – a View from Spain

20 February 2018

By Ana Gascón Iglesias, Lawyer, LC Rodrigo Abogados

In Spain, the insurance industry is currently in the midst of a profound process of digital transformation. According to the latest studies carried out, three out of five companies have set in motion initiatives related to new technologies and about 44% of insurance entities have embraced Big Data in their processes.

Although there is still a long way to go, the number of companies using new technologies in order to process huge amounts of data to develop or improve their business is growing all the time.

The disruption of new technologies and the high data volume in the hands of companies explain the entry into force of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will replace the current domestic regulations in the European Union (EU) and will take effect on May 25, 2018. In Spain, a new Organic Law will replace the former Organic Law 15/1999 of December 13 on the Protection of Personal Data. On November 10, 2017, the Council of Ministers approved  the submission to Parliament of the Data Protection Bill.

Companies will now need to take additional precautions while processing their clients’ personal information and creating suitable protocols in order to live up to the responsibility that the processing of personal data entails.

Insurance companies with Big Data systems or wishing to implement a Big Data system, will need to pay close attention to this Regulation and raise their diligence standards if they wish to avoid penalties of up to 20 million euros or 4% of their revenues.

Nevertheless, in terms of data protection, Spain presents a higher degree of maturity compared to other Member States since the contents in the previous Data Protection Act did not differ significantly from the contents in the GDPR and the Spanish Agency of Data Protection (AEPD) ensured its strict compliance. Indeed, Spain is a benchmark for Data Protection in the EU and exerts great influence on Latin-American countries, such as Argentina or Mexico, who have developed their own data protection regulations using the Spanish Personal Data regulation as a reference.

Insurance companies should take the occasion that this new regulation provides to step into the Big Data era with strong strides and be aware of both the risks and opportunities that this technology presents.

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of InView Magazine. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. Visit InView 5 magazine.