Human Data Science: how to get the best out of data for customers benefit

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Human Data Science is the theme of the sixth edition of Open-F@b. We discuss this with Daniele De Vita, Chief Analytics Officer of BNP Paribas Cardif. “The key issues are ethics, privacy and awareness. We are interested in making the most of human aspects through Data Science.”

15 Oct 2019

Donatella Cambosu

Redattore


Listening to the data is important … but so is experience and intuition. After all, what is intuition at its best, if not a large amount of data of all kinds filtered through a human brain rather than a mathematical model?” Could it be the quote of a data science guru, instead to use these words, long before we talked about Big Data, was Andrew Lang, Scottish writer who died in 1912 known for his folk tales, thinker and especially ethnologist. A humanist who has studied man and his complexity, his relationships, observing data, behavior patterns, correlations between peoples with the aim of understanding more about man himself. 

The relationship between data and the human element is very topical: digital transformation has given us the possibility to generate, store and use disproportionate amounts of data, difficult even to imagine, quantified in units of measurement that we have difficulty learning: from bytes to zettabytes and yottabytes. We are all more or less data conscious generators. Each of us produces over 1.7 megabytes per second, thanks to social platforms, apps, search engines, ecommerce, websites and reviews, etc.. In addition there are all the data we leave to companies: the bank, insurance, health organizations, the employer. To what extent are we aware of the digital footprints we disseminate and the use thereof? 

Human Data Science is the theme of the sixth edition of the Open-F@b Call4Ideas contest, promoted by BNP Paribas Cardif in collaboration with InsuranceUp that will end with the Final Challenge event on November 21st (bids are closed). We talked about open data and data ethics with Daniele De Vita, Chief Analytics Officer of the insurance company. 

 “The main theme of reflection regarding the use of data is certainly ethics. – De Vita’s debut – There is a lot of talk about it, also in the insurance field, in many different ways, both at the modelling level, where of fundamental importance is to limit as much as possible the “prejudices” that can influence artificial intelligence, but especially at the treatment level, where the urgency is to make use of the data for the benefit of the person and not vice versa. It is no coincidence that Cardif has chosen to position the Analytics structure within the Customer Experience Department, because our ultimate goal is to be able to offer added value to the customer. 

Moreover, one of the most well-known and directly experienced issues, speaking of ethics, is undoubtedly privacy: in Europe we were among the first to realise the need for regulation and, perhaps in our wake, are now beginning to arrive at it elsewhere. From January next year, for example, a “light” counterpart of our GDPR, the Consumer Privacy Act, will come into force in California, a step forward for the land of big technology companies”. 

 “The third important issue is that of awareness: we are all producers of data, through socials, platforms, search engines and a number of other elements, we give information about us that is used in a more or less ethical way, which is not clear to everyone. At BNP Paribas Cardif the theme of awareness is very much felt and is closely related to the purpose for which the data is used, in our case improving the service and products we offer, to our customers or our employees. The mission is to return the value: if I take your data, you must be aware of the information you are giving me and I use it to return something advantageous to you, that is value. Value that can be expressed, for example, as a greater attention to the health of the customer. Being able to follow him in a path of well-being useful to prevent problems and possible illnesses, offering him more and more personalized and instantaneous assistance”. 

Talking about an ethical approach to data in an industry where data is the basis of business is not trivial: it requires rigor, consistency and even innovation. BNP Paribas Cardif has for some time now embraced the concept of Human Data Science, a ‘human’ approach to data analysis and modelling. 

“Human Data Science is the science of data, statistical analysis, machine learning, contaminated by human and social sciences, such as psychology or marketing itself. – De Vita continues – In all companies decisions are made on the basis of experience and, often, of their own intuitions: in every company department experience is a resource that is put on the table every day and guides many choices. If we can integrate this element with the objective data, with the information that emerges from the data itself, we arrive at even better decisions, choices, solutions. You could say that the ‘human’ element acts as a guide, but it must be supported by analytics”. 

“The reflection from which we started this open innovation contest was to try to get the best out of these two worlds, human and big data, and to go in this way to confirm our nature as a ‘travel companion’ for the end customer. As a company we are B2b2c, so we reach the consumer through our distribution partners, but everything we do, from product and service design to process improvement, we do it always with him, our customer, who buys the policy and for whom we work to improve his experience in mind”. 

But how does Human Data Science translate into advantage for the end customer? Through Open-F@b Call4Ideas 2019 BNP Paribas Cardif offers the possibility to start-ups, scale-ups, innovative companies and young students to contribute with their ideas and solutions to the construction of this new paradigm. 

“We are primarily interested in solutions and ideas for data enrichment, in particular we are looking for innovative ways to enrich data, for example through gamification. – explains De Vita – We are also very interested in everything related to emotional analysis and neuroscience, fields of study that applied to data modeling allow us to know more and more about our clients and human behavior. This, framed from a data ethics perspective, allows us to improve services, to advise clients, to better protect them from the less positive events in life, avoiding exploiting what we know about him (which can be a lot) to guide intrusive marketing activities. Taking up what I said before, we would like to be a travelling companion for our clients, and I add, a quiet companion who doesn’t bother but makes you notice if you’re falling asleep at the wheel”. 

“We are also very sensitive to blockchain applications,” concludes De Vita, “a technology that can be useful to insurers in many areas, from reducing administration costs to improving risk management and creating safer and more robust processes. Everything we do leads in one way or another to the customer, the ultimate goal is always to bring value to the customer, and in this sense it’s not just about creating ‘the new product’ or refining marketing, it’s about ‘serving’ it in a better way, also through process innovation”. 

“An example: think of claim management, where the concept of human data science certainly leads us towards a more fluid, simple and respectful customer experience. This aspect has been neglected in the past, but if we think that a claim always starts from a negative event that happened to the client (whether it is a road collision in a car policy or a death in a life policy), it is clear that offering insurance coverage that takes off and compensates as quickly and easily as possible, has a very high value for the client himself in that difficult moment”. 

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Donatella Cambosu
Redattore

Scrive da oltre 15 anni di tecnologie, startup, innovazione. E' condirettore di Startupbusiness e direttore editoriale di University2Business (Gruppo Digital360). Collabora con InsuranceUp sin dalla sua nascita nel 2015, maturando una forte esperienza in ambito insurtech.

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