Compliance: Will GDPR Cause a Spike in Data Requests from Policyholders?

GDPR comes in effect in a few weeks and one of the big questions for insurers and brokers alike will be how many customers will demand to see their data files? New findings from a study by Veritas Technologies, a leader in multi-cloud data management, indicate that many organisations will be inundated with requests for personal information from UK consumers, with two in five (40 per cent) already planning to take advantage of their data privacy rights within six months of the newGeneral Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force on May 25, 2018.

Under the new GDPR, European Union (EU) residents will have greater control over their personal data. Currently, EU residents already have the right to ask a company what personal data is held on them (e.g., gender, age, location, sexual preference, religious beliefs, passport/ driver’s licence information, etc.) and beginning May 25, 2018, they will also have enhanced rights to ask to have their data deleted (‘right to be forgotten’). Businesses will be required to sufficiently respond to these requests within one month of receiving the request.

A new study, commissioned by Veritas and conducted by 3GEM, surveyed 3,000 adults, including 1,000 in the UK. It reveals that consumers are most likely to target the following industries with personal data requests:

  • Financial services companies, including banks and insurance companies (56 per cent)
  • Social media companies (48 per cent)
  • Retailers (46 per cent)
  • Former, current or potential employers (24 per cent)
  • Healthcare providers (21 per cent)

The findings come as consumers reveal an increasing need to regain control over their personal data as trust in businesses to protect data fades, and as more and more consumers express a desire to put organisations to the test to understand whether they value consumer rights.

“In light of recent events surrounding the use of personal data by social media, and other, companies, consumers are taking much more of an interest in how their data is used and stored by businesses across many industry sectors,” said Mike Palmer, executive vice president and chief product officer, Veritas. “With a flood of personal data requests coming their way in the months ahead, businesses must retain the trust of consumers by demonstrating they have comprehensive data governance strategies in place to achieve regulatory compliance.”

According to the survey, the key drivers for exercising consumer data privacy rights are:

  • Increased control over personal data: over half (56 per cent) of respondents don’t feel comfortable having personal data sit on systems that they have no control over.
  • A clearer understanding of what data companies hold on them: over half (56 per cent) want to understand exactly what personal information companies hold on them.
  • Data breaches increase the likelihood of receiving requests for personal data: nearly half (47 per cent) of respondents will exercise their rights to request personal data and/or have that data deleted, if a company that holds their personal information suffers a data breach.
  • Businesses are not trusted to protect personal data: over a third (37 per cent) intend to exercise their data privacy rights because they do not trust companies to effectively protect their personal data.
  • Consumers want to put companies to the test: over a quarter (27 per cent) want to test businesses to understand how much their consumer rights are valued before deciding whether to continue doing business with them.
  • Consumers want to get revenge:  eight per cent will exercise their data privacy rights simply to irritate a company that they feel has mistreated them.

Under the new GDPR, this influx of personal data requests will need to be answered by organisations within a one month time limit. But meeting this timeframe may be difficult as many organisations have limited visibility into what data they have and where it is located.

Most consumers do not expect organisations to be capable of fulfilling their requests under the new regulation. The majority (79 per cent) believe that organisations won’t be able to find and/or delete all of the personal data that is held on them, and a fifth (20 per cent) believe that businesses will only be able to deliver up to 50 per cent of the personal data they hold.

“It’s imperative that businesses embrace technology that can help them respond to these requests quickly, with a high degree of accuracy. This means having the ability to see, protect and access all of the personal data they hold regardless of where it sits within their organisation. Businesses that fail to recognise the importance of responding effectively and efficiently to personal data requests will be putting their brand loyalty and reputation at stake,” added Palmer.  

In addition to this research, Veritas today announces the latest update to Veritas Enterprise Vault, part of its Digital Compliance suite of products. The new privileged delete feature streamlines data expiration upon request to help comply with GDPR “right to be forgotten” requests or to simply clean up legacy content manually.

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