The Institutes, a provider of educational materials and consulting for the P&C industry, is launching a blockchain consortium with the goal of spurring development of use cases for the technology in the U.S.
The RiskBlock Alliance has a goal of 30 members across the P&C value chain. Potential use cases envisioned by The Institutes include proof of insurance, subrogation, data sharing and risk registries, and parametric insurance.
The Institutes has been getting cozier with blockchain this year. It was a founding member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, a cross-industry effort to create protocols, standards and governance models for the use of private Ethereum networks. Ethereum is one of several distributed computing platforms that make up the blockchain ecosystem.
Source: The Institutes launches U.S. blockchain consortium – Information Management
InsureX has announced that due to security attacks on its system it has halted its crowdsale with immediate effect, two days after starting its sale.
Founded in 2017, the London-based insurance blockchain startup had only launched the opening of its ICO crowdsale on the 11th July, becoming the first blockchain-based marketplace to be utilized for the trade and management of insurance products.
However, on the 13th July, the company announced that because of security attacks on its system over the last two days they had decided to stop the sale.
This action is not taken lightly but is necessary to protect existing IXT holders and stakeholders of InsureX. We have been working around the clock to keep the token sale open, but the sheer number of attacks is now overwhelming.
More at: Insurance Blockchain Startup InsureX Halts Crowdsale due to Security Attacks – CryptoCoinsNews
While Edward Lloyd is largely credited with commercializing the insurance industry, with the creation of his namesake firm, Lloyd’s, over 330 years ago, the original concept of spreading risk (or “mutualizing”) goes back even further. Hundreds of years before Lloyd’s was formed, Chinese merchants would spread their valuable cargo across multiple vessels, with each one carrying an equal share of another merchant’s goods. In this manner, no single loss would be catastrophic. This spread of risk, of course, also prevented a merchant from absconding with his ship’s goods and never reuniting with the other traders; he’d have too much to lose. In effect, they all had skin in the game, which remains one of the most elusive elements of modern finance. Both then and in 1686, when Lloyd’s was born in a London coffee house, the global insurance industry was a business of utmost good faith, as it remains today.
Thus a trust and efficiency engine like blockchain technology has the potential to drive radical change in the insurance industry while improving transparency and outcomes across the entire value chain. Intermediaries or “trust brokers” do not have to be written out of the equation — or disintermediated — as many blockchain enthusiasts argue. Rather, they can become early adopters of the technology. Admittedly, this shift will be hardest on the established monoliths in the industry, for it will require uncomfortable transparency and price corrections in their business models. This will be toughest on the portions of the industry that are the least differentiated, where consumers often decide based on price: auto, life, and homeowner’s insurance. However, even these commodity offerings can find ways to innovate and survive.
More at: Blockchain Could Make the Insurance Industry Much More Transparent – Harvard Business Review
Insurance is a space that is in desperate need of digital transformation.
Blockchain is set to break new ground in the development of “smart” insurance policies as American International Group (AIG) and IBM collaborate to carry out the process.
The intention is to create an insurance policy that uses the cutting edge technology to manage international coverage, a task that is currently highly complex.
Moves have already been made towards bringing this project to reality, as the duo have conducted and completed a pilot of a multi-national policy for Standard Chartered Bank PLC.
AIG and IBM have said that this is the first instance of the use of blockchain in this specific way; this marks another stride towards blockchain becoming a practical and trusted method that can revolutionise traditional processes.
More at: AIG and IBM to use blockchain for a ‘smart’ insurance policy – Computer Business Review
Etherisc, a Munich-based Insurtech startup, has bagged the Blockchain Oscar for Most Innovative Blockchain Startup.
Produced by The Cointelegraph, the competition was a part of Blockshow Europe 2017. Six promising startups were shortlisted. During the final ceremony on 6 April 2017, Etherisc presented the project to a jury and received a prize of €5,000.
“BlockShow Europe is a major international event for showcasing established blockchain solutions,” according to its organizers. “Blockchain can provide every company with transparency and disintermediation, help with process integrity, and just simplify things.”
Etherisc aims to make the purchase and sale of insurance more efficient, enable lower operational costs, provide greater transparency to the insurance industry, and democratize access to reinsurance investments.
More at: Insurtech startup Etherisc wins Most Innovative Blockchain Startup award at Blockshow Europe – EconoTimes
Global innovation platform Plug and Play has announced its largest cohort to date in which 175 companies will join its ecosystem of 180 corporate partners, 200 VCs, and 583 alumni.
After reviewing over 8,500 startups, Plug and Play selected 175 companies. According to the official release, the selected startups will be dispersed across nine Innovation Platforms: Brand & Retail, Fintech, Food & Beverage, Health & Wellness, Insurtech, Internet of Things, Mobility, New Materials & Packaging, and Travel & Hospitality.
Three blockchain startups have made it to the final list:
healthcoin: A global, blockchain-enabled rewards platform designed to change people’s behaviors and prevent diabetes. It has been selected under “Health & Wellness”.
RiskBazaar: P2P risk contracts on the blockchain. It has been selected under “Insurtech”.
Chronicled: Securing physical world identities and data with Blockchain, including IoT, supply chain, and M2M applications. It has been selected under “Internet of Things”.
More at: 3 blockchain startups among 175 selected companies for Plug and Play accelerator programs – EconoTimes
The key to getting value out of blockchain is to identify key business areas where multiple records are being kept of the same transaction and using it in those areas to eliminate the potential for discrepancies and to increase the overall speed.
It is my belief that blockchain will ultimately transform the life and pension sector but initially the gains will be relatively low. Most life and pension companies have multiple legacy systems, which they struggle to keep in sync. The use of blockchain to provide a single record of transactions accessible by multiple internal systems could remove discrepancies between those systems and improve accuracy. Similarly, the sharing of ledgers between trusted participants could speed up transactions between multiple parties to transactions, e.g. where there are reassurers involved in the contract.
It is only later, when there is far wider adoption of blockchain that the true value will be training in the adoption. For instance when health-care providers start storing medical records directly on a blockchain, one can foresee scenarios where applicants for protection give underwriters permission to directly access those records, allowing them to assess risk with far greater accuracy and at much higher speed than the current process. Or when national insurance payments are blockchained, working out a client’s state pension entitlement will be simple for financial advisers and lead to better long-term financial planning for those clients.
But these scenarios lie comfortably in the future. For the present, life and pension providers are better off ignoring the extreme hype and seeing blockchain technology solutions as a good step forward in introducing internal efficiencies or efficiencies in their interactions with trusted stakeholders. This will position them well to benefit as more and more companies and government agencies adopt blockchain, whether on private blockchains or in the purist distributed version. But ignoring blockchain is dangerous. It’s so useful, it is definitely here to stay.
Source: Blockchain – Has it really any value for L&P? – Actuarial Post