Post Office Scandal Teaches Us a Lesson

In my social media postings on Linkedin, I have mentioned the current Post Office scandal more than once, and with even more than my usual weight of condemnation of all that is rotten in the corporate world. The whole country has been horrified to see the extent to which those in authority can abuse power, with little to no accountability and consequence. If it can happen in the Post Office, then you can be certain that it happens elsewhere, although hopefully not with the same industrial scale of incompetence.

My key point is that the ‘Post Office’ has done nothing wrong – for the simple reason that the ‘Post Office’ cannot make decisions, cannot hound sub postmasters, and cannot generate a culture of cover-up. People are the ones who make decisions, not corporate entities. Either collectively or individually, we all decide on the next course of action, the next change of policy, the next operational development…

Every hour of every day, we are faced with the need to answer questions, sometimes simple and sometimes complex, which could have profound consequences for our business, our people, and our customers.

The Need for an Al Code of Conduct

It was partially this desire to see real accountability and responsibility that led me to initiate a movement to establish a Code of Conduct for the Use of Al in Claims. There is a danger, however small, that the advent of Al will lead to irresponsible design and implementation. Or, perhaps we will see the ‘law of unintended consequences’ come to bear as we rush headlong into the promised land of ever-greater efficiency and effectiveness in the management of claims. Maybe the beguiling promises of Al tech vendors will cause us to lose our collective sense of morality and ethics, as so clearly happened in the case of the Post Office scandal.

The Code of Conduct is therefore intended as a clear and unequivocal ‘stake in the ground’ for all claims and supply chain practitioners. The focus on transparency, accountability, and clear rules of governance will act as a safeguard for us all. The sections on client redress and avoiding the temptations of over-reliance on the computer who ‘says no’ will help us to strive for a better future in a considered and balanced manner.

Core Principles Really Matter

There has never been a Code of Conduct that will trap those who intentionally wish to cheat the system. Anyone intent on malicious, negligent, or genuinely mistaken deployment of Al will surely avoid accountability, unless those around them (and the companies they are employed by) work to a set of rules and principles that provide protection for all stakeholders.

Hence, when the Code of Conduct attracts the support of Allianz, Covéa, Ecclesiastical, Verisk, Questgates, and so many others, it is a very positive testament to those in our industry who are intent on avoiding the worst excesses of corporate power.

It’s All About People

I began this commentary by suggesting that the ‘Post Office’ is entirely innocent. Instead, it’s all about the people in power who abused their authority.

As we venture into the relatively unknown world of Al and embrace the fantastic opportunities that it provides, we must keep in mind that the insurance industry – and especially the claims function – revolves around policyholders and claimants who look to us to protect their futures. We would do well to remember that.

For further information on the Code of Conduct, please visit:


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