AI Regulations Are Coming to The Global Stage – Are You Ready?

The UN's recent resolution on AI is a clear sign that mindsets around AI governance are shifting.

The United Nations’ groundbreaking (and unanimous) resolution on “seizing the opportunities of safe, secure and trustworthy artificial intelligence systems for sustainable development” may be non-binding, but it’s a clear signal that global mindsets around AI governance are shifting rapidly. This resolution represents a critical inflection point that everyone at the intersection of technology and insurance needs to be paying attention to.

On the surface, the UN’s vision for “safe, secure and trustworthy” AI sounds like motherhood and apple pie. Who could argue against using AI to “accelerate sustainable development”, “overcome digital divides”, and “promote and protect the enjoyment of human rights”? But a closer reading reveals meaningful implications for the insurance industry.

The resolution calls out the “improper or malicious design, development, deployment and use of artificial intelligence systems” and warns of AI’s potential to “reinforce structural inequalities and biases”, “lead to discrimination”, and “undermine information integrity.” Sound familiar? These are the exact AI risks insurers are already grappling with, from discriminatory pricing algorithms to privacy-violating surveillance. The UN is putting these issues squarely on the global agenda, increasing the urgency for proactive solutions.

While the resolution doesn’t have the force of law, it reflects a growing global consensus that the era of AI self-governance is coming to an end. The resolution’s call for “effective, internationally interoperable safeguards, practices and standards” for AI is a preview of the kind of coordinated global regulations that could soon become a reality. Insurers that fail to anticipate and prepare for this shift could find themselves at a competitive disadvantage or, even worse, in a negative, public spotlight.

Finally, and perhaps most provocatively, the resolution calls for “inclusive governance of safe, secure and trustworthy artificial intelligence systems.” It envisions a multi-stakeholder approach with “effective, coordinated and inclusive engagement and participation of all communities, particularly from developing countries.” This is a direct challenge to the tech giants currently dominating the AI race. It’s also an opportunity for insurers to help shape the future of AI governance in a way that benefits the industry and society.

Closer to home, the US is continuing to address the challenges of AI at a federal level. This includes the following draft laws in the legislative pipeline:

  • Financial Artificial Intelligence Risk Reduction Act
  • AI Foundation Model Transparency Act of 2023
  • Artificial Intelligence Environmental Impacts Act of 2024

These will start to impact insurers and related state regulatory AI frameworks from 2025 on.

At Datos, we’re already talking with insurers as they navigate this shifting landscape. Through our reports and advisory, we help insurance executives stay ahead of evolving expectations while maximizing the value of AI. If you aren’t already taking proactive steps to govern AI responsibly, now is the time to start.

The UN resolution may not be legally binding, but it’s a clear sign that the ground is shifting under our feet. Insurers that cling to the status quo risk being left behind as AI governance goes global. Will your organization be ready for this new reality?