Top European insurers explore blockchain

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Aegon, Allianz, Munich Re, Swiss Re and Zurich have launched the Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative B3i aiming to explore the potential of distributed ledger technologies to better serve clients through faster, more convenient and secure services.

If blockchain technology proves viable, it could well streamline paperwork and reconciliations for (re-) insurance contracts and accelerate information and money flows, while greatly improving auditability.

Blockchain offers huge potential for enabling digital contracts and transactions amongst multiple parties to be executed in a secure, transparent and auditable way, Allianz says in a press release. “By establishing trusted relationships among all participants, blockchain has the potential to provide a consistent, automatic contract execution environment where transactions and contracts are stored on a shared ledger, thus reducing the administrative workload of multiple stakeholders to ensure contract consistency and execution.”

The Blockchain technology can only reach its full potential for stakeholders if implemented in a consistent and compatible way, based on minimum standards to exchange data and transactions via blockchain. The five insurers are working together on a pilot project, using ‘anonymised transaction information’ and ‘anonymised quantitative data’, to create a proof-of-concept.

With this feasibility study, the founding members aim to explore whether blockchain technology can be used to develop standards and processes for industry-wide usage and to catalyze efficiency gains in the insurance industry, explains Allianz.

“We are thrilled that Allianz is investigating emerging technologies such as blockchain together with other key insurance industry players”, said Christof Mascher, Chief Operating Officer of Allianz Group. “This initiative, enabling alternative operating models based on the blockchain technology, can help us increase transparency and efficiency and deliver a better experience to our customer.”

The Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative B3i will allow insurers and reinsurers to get a better insight into the applicability of the Blockchain technology in the insurance market. In addition, B3i offers a platform to exchange insights regarding blockchain and potentially other technologies, use case experiments and research information.

This initiative aims to facilitate the transition from individual company use cases to viable solutions across the entire insurance value chain. Such future development of a modern and efficient handling of insurance transactions will require common standards and procedures. Consequently, the Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative B3i is open to other insurers and reinsurers. Its ultimate ambition is to assess how blockchain technology can be established as a viable tool for the insurance industry in general and for insurance clients in particular.