BLOCKCHAIN – GAINING MOMENTUM

21 December 2018

Blockchain has the potential to transform business processes and business models.

Blockchain holds a lot of potential for the insurance and financial services industries, analysts say, as it could help streamline processes, increase efficiency, reduce cost and help combat fraud. Blockchain operates as a distributed ledger so it has the ability to allow multiple parties to transfer and store sensitive information in a secure, permanent location that is easily assessable. A recent report by Cognizant found that 86 percent of insurance professionals across all industry segments believe that blockchain will be either “important” or “very important.” Further, 54 percent of respondents said it would fundamentally transform the industry.

Last year, The Institutes and LIMRA announced a partnership to advance the adoption of blockchain solutions across the insurance industry through The Institutes RiskBlock Alliance™. Both LIMRA and The Institutes believe industry alignment is the most important factor in unlocking the potential of blockchain. The RiskBlock Alliance’s mission is to develop blockchain solutions that will lower industry transaction costs, improve the customer experience and increase the speed and security of data transfers. Interest in blockchain has continued to grow in the industry; recently more companies have joined the blockchain consortium. Here is some of the latest news around blockchain in the industry.

Blockchain Use Case for L&A

LIMRA and The Institutes’ RiskBlock™ Alliance recently announced the first blockchain use case for the insurance consortia’s newly formed life and annuity sector.

 “Using blockchain technology, we will enable companies to not only meet the state regulatory requirements but better serve their customers, identify and prevent fraud, and have proof that the appropriate proceeds have reached intended recipients” said Christopher McDaniel, president of the RiskBlock Alliance.

Participating life insurance and annuity companies will be part of the life insurance industry’s first enterprise-level blockchain consortium, joining the RiskBlock Alliance’s 31 property and casualty insurance members, who are working together to develop blockchain solutions that create business efficiencies and improve the customer experience in their market.

Over the past 12 months, LIMRA members have held several working labs with the RiskBlock Alliance to identify the best opportunities to use blockchain technology in the life insurance and annuity space.

Blockchain Consortium Continues to Grow

The Institutes RiskBlock™ Alliance announced that 12 additional companies have joined the risk management and insurance industry’s first enterprise-level blockchain consortium, bringing the total number of member companies to 30. The RiskBlock Alliance is building blockchain solutions that will lower industry transaction costs, improve the customer experience, and increase the speed and security of data transfers among customers.

The Institutes, a leading provider of risk management and insurance education and research, launched the not-for profit consortium in 2017.

In partnership with LIMRA, the RiskBlock Alliance will be expanding to the life, annuity and retirement sectors. According to The Institutes, new RiskBlock Alliance members include insurers, brokerages and reinsurers serving customers in the United States and abroad.

Evaluating the Security of Blockchain Applications

The Institutes RiskBlock Alliance also recently announced that EY will serve as a primary service provider for blockchain specific cybersecurity and risk management guidance. These services are part of the 30-member consortium’s efforts to implement and test multiple insurance use cases by the end of 2018.

Through its blockchain-based applications and tools, RiskBlock seeks to better serve policyholders and reduce industry and consumer costs by streamlining payments, reducing fraud and improving the accuracy of customer data. RiskBlock has identified more than 40 uses cases and is ready to implement and test the following:

• A proof-of-insurance application that allows drivers and law enforcement to confirm insurance coverage in real time, without relying on paper forms

• A first notices of loss data sharing process, which will create a more streamlined experience for both consumers and business

• A subrogation tool that uses blockchain-enabled smart contracts to facilitate the netting of consortium members’ payments, reducing manual processes and creating efficiencies in the payment and accounting of claims processing

• A parametric insurance application to automate the claims process, utilizing a weather oracle and smart contracts

The Institutes RiskBlock™ Alliance Launches Canopy

The Institutes RiskBlock Alliance further announced that it has launched Canopy, the industry’s first end-to-end reusable blockchain framework, using the Corda blockchain platform R3, the enterprise software

firm that developed Corda, signed an agreement with the RiskBlock Alliance to support the Canopy platform as a set of standardized blockchains to be used for all use cases and applications. Creating core underlying blockchains to power future applications will help:

• Streamline the production of future blockchain applications

• Strengthen core blockchains as more applications are built on top of them

• Enable applications developed for use by all members to be built faster and more efficiently

Deloitte to Accelerate Blockchain in Canada

The Institutes RiskBlock Alliance also recently announced that it has selected global professional-services organization Deloitte to help advance its blockchain application and product-development efforts. Deloitte will leverage its industry-leading digital capabilities to help the RiskBlock Alliance implement and test multiple products that will be brought to market by the end of 2018. Deloitte will also help the RiskBlock Alliance expand the consortium into Canada, the first piece of a planned international expansion. Over the next few months, and with Deloitte’s strategic support, the RiskBlock Alliance will establish a legal entity in Canada and begin working with Canadian-based property-casualty and life/annuity insurers. The expansion will help the RiskBlock Alliance deliver scalable blockchain solutions across the global insurance industry.

Under this engagement, Deloitte will be responsible for the methodology, prioritization and development of a number of blockchain applications for RiskBlock Alliance members. The applications will address different aspects of the insurance transaction life cycle, ranging from underwriting to claims processing. Each new app will be provided via Canopy, the industry’s first end-to-end reusable blockchain framework, and will focus on enhancing efficiency and lowering transaction costs for the benefit of policyholders.

Deloitte has worked with the RiskBlock Alliance since its initial launch in July 2017, and this announcement expands its scope significantly.

MetLife Uses Blockchain Technology

MetLife Asia’s Singapore-based innovation center, LumenLab, recently announced that it has begun testing what it says is the world’s first, automated insurance solution using blockchain technology to offer pregnant women financial protection in case of gestational diabetes, without ever needing to make a claim.

According to the company, the experimental product, known as “Vitana,” is Singapore’s first dedicated insurance product for gestational diabetes—a condition affecting up to one in five expectant mothers in Singapore. Vitana securely connects to customers’ electronic medical records via their mobile device to issue a policy within minutes. It triggers an automatic payout upon diagnosis. “Vitana embodies MetLife’s commitment to its customers. In today’s world, people expect experiences to be simple, automated, and digital. We saw an opportunity to test how blockchain can make insurance more seamless and we’ve partnered with some of the best companies in their fields to create a blueprint to launch new parametric insurance products in the future,” said Zia Zaman, MetLife’s chief innovation officer in Asia and chief executive officer of LumenLab.

VUE Software Launches Blockchain Initiative

VUE Software, the insurance distribution modernization company, recently announced that it has funded a blockchain research project—teaming with select graduate students from NYU’s Stern College and Harvard University—on how blockchain technology can solve business issues in the insurance industry. VUE Software will gradually release the findings of this initiative within the next few weeks.

 

Source: LOMA – Resource Magazine, November 2018

 

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