Digital Insurers Need Trust

“Trust but verify” is as much the approach insurers take to underwriting and servicing an insurance contract as it is a Russian proverb. It’s critical for insurers to invest effort to validate the risk data provided to them by applicants and to collect, with consent, other material risk data before confidently extending an offer of insurance. Otherwise, with imperfect knowledge, it’s akin to gambling. This concept extends to the claims side too, where effort is expended to confirm the facts of the loss and the veracity of the services being paid for as a result. And yet, things do fall through the cracks from time to time.

Balancing Risk and Trust in the Insurance Industry

What if, on the other hand, everything you needed to know about a risk could be collected digitally, with consent, during the initial interaction with the customer and you knew you could trust the data? Achieving an acceptable balance of risk and trust without human intervention may very well be that famous “last mile” en route to true digital transformation in insurance. 

Picture an insurer, or broker, requesting and being given explicit consent from applicants to retrieve digital identity data in real-time from an institution (government, financial) that has already applied physically based KYC and other regulatory identity verification processes. Now think of other authoritative digital asset providers specific to the insurance industry that can match relevant underwriting data confidently to that digital identity, also in real-time. Envision insurers themselves being able to provide data to authenticated digital consumers for proof of insurance or proof of claim coverage. The true promise of digital begins to materialize when data sharing can happen in real time, with trust and consent, anywhere insurers interact with others beyond their organizational boundaries.     

Trust is a two-way street - it's not just what insurers need. It’s also at the core of digital citizens’ expectations and those who watch out for them. Certainly, we’re seeing much more proactive activity from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Trust is also a foundational component of Canada’s new digital charter. It needs to be. All investments in digital transformation are for naught if the exchanged data can't be trusted. As Jordan Peterson recently wrote in a National Post editorial, "Are we entering a future where the only credible source of information will be direct personal contact?"

A Holistic Approach to Trust

The holistic challenge of trust in a digital world is driving the emergence of new solutions that hold great potential for insurers, the broader insurance ecosystem and all Canadians. SecureKey's Verified.Me service is certainly one of them. Developed in cooperation with seven of Canada’s major financial institutions, Verified.Me is a digital identity verification network that sits at the intersection of privacy, trust and consent. Consent is immutably recorded and maintained on the network by the network’s blockchain architecture. However, the identity data flows directly from the provider(s), upon consumer consent, to the online service of their choice with the highest-grade encryption technology, preserving the privacy between each participant. As more insurance data-specific providers join the network, Verified.Me is the type of solution that can help us traverse that “last mile” to true digital insurance.

To talk and learn more about our perspectives and services related to digital identity, digital payments and digital transformation in insurance please contact me at or visit