MAPFRE Chairman Calls To Legislate On The Ethical Risk Of AI

November 30, 2023

During his keynote speech at the Geneva Association Summit 50, Antonio Huertas, Chairman and CEO of MAPFRE, discussed the most important topics facing today’s insurance industry,
from the social purpose of insurance, including in emerging markets, to tackling climate change and the opportunities and risks of AI and cyber.

This year’s summit, hosted in Zurich, Switzerland, 28-29 November, saw leaders from the world’s top insurance companies gather to project what the industry will look like in 2050, covering major issues including geopolitical uncertainty, rising energy costs, inflation, and the cost-of-living crisis.

Antonio Huertas speech set the scene for the event, watched by industry-leading attendees and many more online from around the world. He emphasised that “we must legislate on the ethical risk of AI, but it must be done judiciously. On a global stage, Europe has to strike the balance between necessary regulation and stifling competitive advantage”, a motion that follows MAPFRE Open Innovations’ industry-leading report on responsible AI, launched at DIA/ITC Europe. This presented the need for the industry to pull together to deploy the technology “responsibly, safely, and reliably” to generate a positive impact and minimise the risks.

MAPFRE’s chairman also highlighted cyber risks as one of the challenges of our time, when the interconnected world has brought unparalleled convenience and efficiency, but left it also exposed to unprecedented risks. “As insurers, our responsibility goes beyond financial compensation; we need to help our clients navigate the complex landscape of cyber threats”. Huertas also called for insurers to be proactive in assessing feasible options for sharing cyber risks, including with governments via Public Private Partnerships. Such collaborative efforts between insurers and governments will enable cyber protection gaps to be narrowed and ensure the full societal benefits of cyberspace can be realized.

Huertas also focused on the social purpose of insurance, which sits at the core of MAPFRE’s values. This involves the need to support emerging markets, such as Latin America (where MAPFRE plays a vital and transformative role), Africa, and large parts of Asia. Commenting on sustainability, Huertas said: “The global transition to a low-carbon model must be socially fair. We can’t deprive one generation of their livelihoods with the promise that the next will inherit a better planet. Developing countries are responsible for only 20% of global emissions. Asking them to pay a disproportionate price to facilitate the energy transition means condemning them to decades more of unfair inequalities.”

In a final call to action, Huertas said: “Let us seize this moment to reimagine our industry, to redefine our purpose, and to leave a lasting legacy of positive change. We don’t just protect against risk. We facilitate social and economic progress.”