Ethical Responsibility of Nationwide's Advanced Analytics Work

From machine learning to artificial intelligence, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company is at the forefront of the advanced analytics industry. Our ability to harness the full capabilities of cutting-edge advanced analytics technologies has helped Nationwide increase operational efficiency, organizational sustainability and serve our customers with extraordinary care. As we embrace the power of these technologies, we know that maintaining high ethical standards in advanced analytics work is crucial to preserving our customers’ trust and Nationwide’s integrity.

Rooted in Nationwide’s core values, ethical concerns have been a part of our analytics strategy and daily work for several years. Within the Enterprise Analytics Office, Nationwide’s centralized advanced analytics team, an ethics working group was started in 2019 to explore the emerging field of ethics within our practice areas. In 2020, Nationwide created the role of Lead Statistical Modeling and AI/ML Ethicist, which is held by Shontael. The role was created to ensure ethics remains central to our rapidly growing advanced analytics work. Parag Shah, Nationwide’s Chief Ethics Officer, and Shannon Terry, Nationwide’s first Chief Advanced Analytics Officer help lead enterprise efforts. They work together with a community of Nationwiders to cultivate robust ethical practices for data and advanced analytics. One such initiative is the Nationwide Data Ethics Working Group that is focused on enterprise-wide data and analytics initiatives.With this strong foundation, Nationwide is positioned to continue to be an industry leader in advanced analytics and ethics.


Ethics in Practice

At Nationwide, we actively reflect on our moral obligations as analytic scientists and actuarial practitioners in the insurance industry. What does this look like in practice? One way is to think carefully about what kinds of data will be used, how data will be used and how a model might be applied or scaled. It also means integrating this care into our culture, standards, process and governance. Most importantly, we consider these issues through the lens of Nationwide’s mission and core values.



Ultimately, it comes down to our identity as Nationwiders first and analytic scientists second. We want all associates to know that advanced analytics work is delivering superior value to our customers and company while also upholding rigorous ethical standards. It’s not about checking lists but rather leading with our values and taking the time to ask meaningful questions in all stages of analytic development. 

Staying Current with Ethics Best Practices

In addition to our broad network of supporters within Nationwide, we collaborate with data ethics experts and other business leaders outside our company so we can stay current with industry developments and best practices. Thanks to Nationwide’s Enterprise Analytics Office’s thoughtful consideration of applied ethics in the practice of statistics and machine learning, Nationwide became a founding member of the Ohio Data Ethics Working Group three years ago. The group seeks to identify and understand data ethics management best practices that will allow its members to achieve the responsible, just, legal and ethical use of advanced analytics and artificial intelligence.

As part participation in the Ohio Data Ethics Working Group, Shannon Terry, Nationwide’s Chief Advanced Analytics Officer, was invited to join a national expert group to write a Responsible AI management white paper. This expert group brings together a variety of partners from various industries and disciplines including other Fortune 500 advanced analytics leaders, senior legal counselors and applied ethics thought leaders. Once published, the white paper will serve as a blueprint for others to adopt AI in an ethical and responsible way in their own organization.

 From our participation in industry and academic working groups to our daily AI/ML work,Nationwide is positioned to continue to lead the industry in defining and applying ethics to advanced analytics work.

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Shontael Starry & Shannon Thomas