UNI signs declaration with Europe’s insurance employers committing to responsible use of AI


UNI signs declaration with Europe’s insurance employers committing to responsible use of AI

Today, 16 March 2021, UNI Europa Finance together with the European insurance sector employers – Insurance Europe, BIPAR and AMICE – signed a Joint Declaration on Artificial Intelligence (AI), committing to a responsible and ethical rollout of AI across the sector.

In the Declaration, the signatories recognize that AI should be designed and used to enhance rather than replace human abilities and that the deployment of AI systems should follow the ‘human in control’ principle.

While acknowledging that AI can help improve working conditions and increase productivity, the parties agree that AI must not subject employees to unfair bias and discrimination.

“Workers are rightly concerned about the potential intrusion of AI into their working lives. This declaration establishes a set of principles on responsible AI that not only protects workers and their jobs, but also ensures that workers are not required to use AI in ways that are unethical,” said Angelo Di Cristo, Head of Finance at UNI Global Union.

The Joint Declaration is the first of its kind to refer to a ‘People Plan’ for the responsible use of AI throughout the value chain.

“AI to be developed and applied in a responsible manner is crucial for the working conditions of the employees in the insurance sector and the long-term competitiveness of the companies,” said UNI Europa Finance President, Michael Budolfsen. “We encourage companies across the sector to engage with trade unions to negotiate the terms and conditions of the use of AI, for instance its use in mapping employees’ skill needs and to help develop career paths and training possibilities.”

The Joint Declaration also stresses the importance of complying with transparency rules, including when using and processing data by means of AI.

“This is a welcomed statement which touches on many of the issues confronting unions and companies when it comes to AI in the workplace. This declaration acknowledges that unions have the ability to challenge the outcomes of new technology and also recognizes that other key areas – such as the potential for bias if  AI is used in the recruitment process and algorithmic management – must be discussed with the social partners. It’s a positive step forward,” said Christy Hoffman, UNI Global Union General Secretary.

The Joint Declaration was agreed following 18 months of negotiations and signed in the presence of the European Commission during the European insurance sector social dialogue meeting. The European insurance social partners will continue to monitor and discuss the development of AI on employment and its social impact on employees and companies in the sector.