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Insureblocks

Business
Podcasting
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Insureblocks is a dedicated weekly podcast on blockchain, smart contracts and distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the insurance industry. Hosted by Walid Al Saqqaf, this podcast will invite expert speakers from incumbents to the most promising start-ups in London, New York, Zurich and around the world. Insureblocks is the best way to not only understand the basics of blockchain but to also hear about proof of concepts, what insurance companies have done, their learnings and the end results. Whether you are new to or an expert on blockchain and would like to understand the impact it will have on the insurance industry, this is the podcast you'll want to tune into.

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Insureblocks is a dedicated weekly podcast on blockchain, smart contracts and distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the insurance industry. Hosted by Walid Al Saqqaf, this podcast will invite expert speakers from incumbents to the most promising start-ups in London, New York, Zurich and around the world. Insureblocks is the best way to not only understand the basics of blockchain but to also hear about proof of concepts, what insurance companies have done, their learnings and the end results. Whether you are new to or an expert on blockchain and would like to understand the impact it will have on the insurance industry, this is the podcast you'll want to tune into.

iTunes Ratings

7 Ratings
Average Ratings
6
0
1
0
0

iTunes Ratings

7 Ratings
Average Ratings
6
0
1
0
0
Cover image of Insureblocks

Insureblocks

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Insureblocks is a dedicated weekly podcast on blockchain, smart contracts and distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the insurance industry. Hosted by Walid Al Saqqaf, this podcast will invite expert speakers from incumbents to the most promising start-ups in London, New York, Zurich and around the world. Insureblocks is the best way to not only understand the basics of blockchain but to also hear about proof of concepts, what insurance companies have done, their learnings and the end results. Whether you are new to or an expert on blockchain and would like to understand the impact it will have on the insurance industry, this is the podcast you'll want to tune into.

Top Episodes

Most Popular Episodes of Insureblocks

Rank #1: Ep. 37 – Blockchain in the specialty insurance market – insights from Ed, a Lloyd’s broker

Nov 25 2018
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For this week’s episode, we spoke to Arun Narayanan, Head of Data and Analytics at Ed. This episode provides an excellent insight into the specialty insurance market at Lloyd’s and how blockchain based solutions can streamline processes, generate savings and promote product innovation. Ed Broking is a global wholesale insurance broker which is headquartered in London with offices in China, Dubai, Germany, and the USA.  Ed Broking provides clients with broking facilities for a wide-range of specialty business lines such as aerospace, marine cargo, construction and energy. What is blockchain?  “Blockchain is a distributed ledger that sits on a peer-to-peer network where transactions are validated by every other member in the network.” After providing a technical definition of blockchain, Arun proceeds to explain the benefits and features of blockchain: * Blockchain can improve data sharing – Each transaction stored on the distributed ledger must be validated and these transactions are visible to all parties with requisite permissions. Thus, blockchain can enable data sharing between parties that may potentially have conflict of interests (for example, insurers and reinsurers.) * Blockchains are secure – Cryptography (cryptographic hashes) ensure that transactions once stored on chain cannot be tampered with – this makes the information in the blockchain secure and verifiable. * Blockchain can generate savings – There is a large amount of manual work done in the Lloyd’s market today (especially in the specialty business lines). Smart contractscan help automate some of these tasks to save time and money.  At the same time, immutability and time-stamping in a blockchain provides a verifiable audit trail for regulatory or internal compliance processes, thereby generating even more savings.   Will blockchain disintermediate brokers? At the start of this calendar year, there was a lot of discussion around the possibility that blockchain will disintermediate brokers entirely. However, over the past few months, this idea has been replaced by a notion that blockchain will enable brokers to focus on their core competencies – translating complex risks their clients face and bringing appropriate risks to the correct sources of capital (underwriters). It goes without saying that automation may eat into some of the existing revenues of broker, but it is important to remember that blockchain, which may cause this revenue loss, will also reduce costs and create significant new product opportunities.   Brokers leading the charge in blockchain – is this counterintuitive? Some examples of brokers playing an instrumental role in blockchain are: * Marsh: In collaboration with IBM, ACORD and ISN, Marsh has launched a commercial Proof of Insurance solution on the IBM Hyperledger protocol. Extending this idea of proof of insurance, in October this year, Marsh collaborated with Evident to launch a a href="https://www.evidentid.

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Rank #2: Ep.10 – An Introduction to The RiskBlock Alliance

May 21 2018
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RiskBlock Alliance This week’s Insureblock’s episode takes us to Pennsylvania, USA, where we had the chance to interview Christopher McDaniel,  President of the RiskBlock Alliance; an industry-led consortium that collaborates to unlock the potential of blockchain across the insurance industry.   2 Minute Definition of Blockchain For Chris, there are three fundamentals to blockchain: * Ubiquitous data – all data is synchronised between the participants behind the scenes. * Immutable – data cannot be erased. It is a perfect audit trail with a one source of truce for the participants using the blockchain. * Smart contracts – the capability of saying if a situation exists do something on the blockchain. It is a way of automating different processes that may exist on the blockchain.   What is the RiskBlock Alliance The Institute is an organisation that has been around for a hundred years in the property and casualty space. It provides education and research in that space. 18 months ago, the board of the Institute tasked the RiskBlock Alliances with: * Proof of concept - could blockchain be used in the insurance space * Proof of collaboration - can we get competing firms to work together around a common goal By June 2017, four proof of concepts were set up with over 40 insurance entities collaborating together, leading to the formation of the RiskBlock Alliance. In Chris’ opinion, one of the smartest things that the RiskBlock Alliance did was instead of jumping into the deep end of the pool was taking 12 weeks to really define what the RiskBlock Alliance was going to be and what value it will bring to its members. They created a consortium of insurance carriers, reinsurance and brokers to build a blockchain framework with multiple use cases on top of it. The framework is really key, as it is the first truly enterprise friendly reusable blockchain framework.   Why use blockchain? Prior to the RiskBlock Alliance one of the Institute’s members built a Proof of Concept for a compelling need in the insurance industry and tried to get the rest of their peers / competitors to join in. They received a lot of pushback from their competitors. RiskBlock being an independent trusted source was able to bring that exact same solution with the participation of all its members in the roll out of that particular use case. Blockchain is a “team sport”. If you are doing something that is individual to your organisation there are more likely better solutions out there than blockchain. However if you are looking to join together different entities and competitors and want to have them share information in an ubiquitous, secure and real time manner, then blockchain is the best solution for that.   Getting competing entities to work together Everyone seems to think that they have the secret sauce. In one example of a use case need around subrogation – the process between 2 insurance firms who are involved in an auto accident (for example) with a need to negotiate a final financial settlement. Arbitration may be involved and it’s a very painful manual process. By creating a blockchain solution you can automate that process and create efficiencies for all parties. Effectively the way to getting competitors to work together is by ensuring that the value they get is greater than their competitive fears.   Building a truly digital process 80% of blockchain use case are in the efficiency area. 20% is in new products, new channels, new ways of doing things.

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Rank #3: Ep.13 – Blockchain & Trade Finance

Jun 11 2018
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Blockchain & Trade Finance This week’s podcast is all about blockchain in trade finance. We were very lucky to have Marilyn Blattner-Hoyle, Head of Supply Chain and Trade Finance at AIG. In this episode she will share with us the pilot they ran with Standard Chartered and with TradeIX.   2 Minute Definition of Blockchain Marilyn, approaches blockchain as a layman, so the way she looks at it, is blockchain is a form of distributed ledger technology, which simply put is a distributed database or ledger that can record and track transactions in a secure environment with optimal transparency. Cryptography underpins the way this is done. The way AIG, and particularly Marilyn’s trade finance team look at blockchain is how it can be used to providing solutions to their clients by creating simpler ecosystems for allowing trade finance to occur.   What is trade finance? Simply put, trade finance is the facilitation by banks, financial institutions and other funders to support sellers selling goods and services and buyers buying them. There are many different ways to do trade finance whether with receivables, payables, loans or traditional trade finance with instruments like letters of credit. All areas of trade finance are ripe for blockchain/DLT solutions as we have seen with many pilots. So the issues with centralized databases, legacy systems, and fragmented paper driven solutions and even with fraud make blockchain a great potential solution for this industry.   Hurdles with trade finance that blockchain can overcome The reason blockchain and trade finance are natural partners is because much of trade finance is paper driven, fragmented, with different systems even within corporates, and certainly centralised databases that have a single point of failure. For example, there is lots of paper-based invoice requirements. There are requirements for following different stages of an invoice life cycle and so there are lots of different data points that are super key for trade finance and so by being able to optimize all of those data points in a centralized place, where there's essentially one source of the truth; that's a game changer for the industry. That’s something that the trade finance industry doesn't have right now and if it can be solved you can increase the trust between the parties. You can make it simpler to execute transactions at volume and then you can also add far more ecosystem participants such as corporates, banks and insurers. But at the moment, that's all very difficult. So even within trade finance you have lots of corporates that use multiple banks to do lots of their different trade finance around the globe with lots of different systems for each jurisdiction and it's very difficult to merge those. By using blockchain or in fact even other forms of technology, such as even API's to be able to integrate legacy systems with something like a distributed ledger, that opens up opportunities that don't mean that you have to make full scale adoption a requirement now.   The first blockchain-enabled trade finance system In October 2017, AIG launched its first blockchain-enabled trade finance system alongside Standard Chartered and TradeIX. The proposition is essentially based around a receivables finance deal where a large multinational corporate logistics client wanted to sell its receivalbes to Standard Chartered to give its core customers more time to pay. The reason blockchain was used was because the corporate wanted the capability to have a multi-bank structure as well as multiple insurers supporting the same.

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Rank #4: Ep.18 – Insurwave: the complete story with EY

Jul 15 2018
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In one of our previous episode, Insurwave - a Maersk pilot for marine blockchain insurance, we introduced Insurwave, a new marine blockchain insurance platform launched by EY, Guardtime, Microsoft, Willis Tower Watson, XL Catlin, MS Amlin and ACORD and piloted by Maersk. This week we are joined by Shaun Crawford, Global Insurance Sector Leader at EY and one of the founders of Insurwave. We will be discussing the complete story of Insurwave, from Proof of Concept to launch.   Blockchain in two minutes A blockchain is a series of blocks of continuous records, where a previous block is effectively a cryptographic copy of the information from the preceding block. The blockchain is managed autonomously using a peer to peer network, meaning that the whole network will know if a peer makes a change to the blockchain. Therefore, everything has to be authenticated. This leads to a live, immutable audit trail.   Insurwave Insurwave is the first product of Insurwave Ltd, a joint venture between EY and Guardtime, a blockchain company whose experience ranges from the NHS to the US Air Force. It is a blockchain platform linking the shipping industry with the brokers, the insurers and reinsurers. At the moment it is focused on providing hull and war cover. Insurwave is built on the open source version of Corda (See Corda's latest announcement). The reason for this choice is that Corda is a very mature and privacy-focused blockchain. In other blockchains every peer has access to all the data on the blockchain. Insurwave, however, deals with sensitive company information and requires certain data to only be accessible by certain peers, making Corda the best choice.   Building Insurwave Building Insurwave required looking beyond the insurance industry. Guardtime was chosen both for its expertise in blockchain and its range of experience. Gathering a group including shipping, insurance and technology leaders created a team capable of critically examining existing processes to build a new product from the ground up. The first step in building Insurwave was to create a PoC. This revolved around ten use cases and considered how blockchain can improve efficiency and reduce costs. In doing that, it was always important for Insurwave to be a new proposition, a completely new business model, rather that a digitisation of existing processes. Insurwave has been an opportunity to re-imagine how the underwriting process would be in the future and how claims handling could become more efficient. The end result is that Insurwave can improve cost efficiency by at least 40 per cent. As the insurance industry isn't particularly known for embracing change, building a completely new platform can be challenging. What made Insurwave feasible was having a small team. Having just one shipping company, one broker, an insurer and a reinsurer ensured that the team could examine all facets of the insurance industry while also remaining flexible.   Insurwave's potential Creating an immutable audit trail and seamlessly sharing data between parties has the potential to improve existing practices in numerous ways.   1. Bring risk closer to capital For shipping companies like Maersk, a major benefit of Insurwave is that it allows them to bring risk...

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Rank #5: Ep. 22 – Fizzy, AXA’s Blockchain Case Study

Aug 13 2018
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For today’s episode we are going to Paris with Laurent Benichou, director of R&D at AXA. Laurent will introduce a famous blockchain case study called Fizzy, AXA’s blockchain flight delay insurance policy.   Blockchain in two minutes A blockchain is a fully distributed database. This means it has no single point of failure and no central managing authority. Blockchain’s technical characteristics, such as its immutability and cryptographic verification, create numerous convenient features including fast and easy payments, smart contracts and the ability to indefinitely store information.   Fizzy Fizzy is a fully automated flight delay insurance policy that runs on the Ethereum blockchain and allows customers to get indemnified as soon as they arrive to their destination. The process is fully automated, with a smart contract deciding whether customers are eligible for indemnification. This means no action is required by eligible customers to claim their indemnity. AXA fully supported Laurent’s idea. Deploying Fizzy, which began development in late 2015, was easy from an internal point of view. This is because AXA is aware of customer pain points regarding flight delay insurance: * Coverage exclusions reduce customer satisfaction as they can lead to cases where the policyholder is unaware whether they are covered or not. * Customers do not know when they will be compensated. * Customers have to provide proof of delay. This is a cumbersome process involving contacting the airline to provide proof and sending it over to the insurer. AXA was excited to create a product that efficiently deals with these challenges. Fizzy is very transparent with no claim forms, proof of delay or other paperwork involved. These issues are all automatically dealt by Fizzy, which notifies the customer that the policy has been purchased successfully, that it is stored on the blockchain and that compensation has been completed. In that way, AXA tries to create trust between itself and its policyholders. If you would like to find out more about the process behind launching Fizzy, Laurent has written a blog post which you can find here.   Fizzy’s value proposition Fizzy’s value proposition for AXA revolves around rebuilding trust in the insurance system.   1. Customer-centricity Despite AXA being a party to the transaction, Fizzy will reinforce trust by ensuring total transparency in making policy payouts. As Laurent puts it, “it’s not the insurer, it’s the smart contract on the blockchain” that will decide whether the policyholder is eligible for indemnification. This means that unlike traditional flight delay policies, where not every eligible policyholder asks for their indemnity due to the cumbersome process, Fizzy guarantees that every eligible policyholder will be compensated. Laurent is confident that customers will be willing to pay more for that guarantee, a necessary condition as paying every eligible customer  means the price will need to be adjusted to retain margins. Having said that, Laurent is keeping the same margin for Fizzy as for other products (and perhaps even a lower margin for the first years). Fizzy is more about increasing customer-centricity than directly improving AXA’s profit line. In that way, AXA can build trust between themselves and their customers. We cannot but notice how both Laurent and Stefan from a href="https://etherisc.

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Rank #6: Ep. 23 – Blockchain from an Allianz perspective & lessons learnt

Aug 20 2018
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For today’s episode we are going to Munich with Bob Crozier, Head of Global Blockchain Centre of Competence at Allianz. Bob shares his views on blockchain’s effect on the insurance industry and sheds some light on the Allianz approach to blockchain. Blockchain in two minutes A blockchain is a shared ledger record of transactions. When everyone in a network agrees a piece of information is correct, it is added to the ledger and the blockchain’s technology links each successive transaction to the previous one. The end result is an unbroken history of transactions that all parties can trust is correct.   Blockchain’s impact on the insurance industry In August 2017 Bob wrote a blog post titled “how blockchain will impact insurance in 2017 and beyond”, where he examines how blockchain is changing how insurance companies operate on a fundamental level and the way insurers and customers relate in a shared economy. This refers to the gradual change in which insurers realise that working together to solve common customer pain points requires rewriting the rules of business. Blockchain is the first time competitors have to work together to improve the industry and insurers have to learn to coexist in a world where the means of developing and delivering products or services, i.e. blockchain, require shared development and maintenance. By working together Bob does not simply mean creating policies and exchanging risk, for which Lloyd’s of London already does a good job. Bob refers to solving more fundamental issues in the low value adding tasks that are a prerequisite for doing business. It is about solving common pain points and creating a customer-centric experience. Bob’s post also introduces the concept of self-sovereign identity. Data privacy rules are increasingly granting more protection to consumers. Self-sovereign identity, therefore, refers to the way in which people can take control of their data and only give companies the data which is necessary for a product or service. This means that insurers will have to better calibrate the level of information required to provide a service, which will naturally lead to more customer-centric products and services. It is an opportunity for insurers to listen to customers and provide the services they want, in the right volume and in the right way. If you are interested in Bob’s article, you can find it here.   Allianz and blockchain Allianz is keen on experimenting with blockchain and Bob walks us through two recent projects.   1. Captive insurance blockchain Captive insurance programmes, one of the most complicated aspects of commercial insurance, are established by multinational organisations which self-insure instead of purchasing insurance. This entails creating their own self-insurance program which pools together selected assets and insurance exposures from their global operations. They collect premiums from each operating company and pay out claims internationally as they arise. Due to the complexity of self-insuring, captive insurance companies use an insurer to effectively administer the program. Allianz is one of those insurers, having partnered with captive insurance companies to provide administration and compliance services utilising its international network. Blockchain is integral in making this task simpler. The blockchain network automatically connects all the parties in the programme, including the captive management,

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Rank #7: News flash episode – Blocksure OS Goes Live with Commercial & General and Covéa Insurance – 03.08.18

Aug 02 2018
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Welcome to another episode in ours News Flash series, where we share the latest developments in the blockchain space, straight off the press. Today we are joined again by Ranvir Saggu, who previously featured in Ep.8 – Building a Blockchain PoC/Pilot, and we welcome Bradley Brandon-Cross to Insureblocks for the first time. Ranvir is CEO at Blocksure – a blockchain business specifically focussing on implementing blockchain in the insurance space, and is currently focussing on Blocksure OS, which is a platform set to revolutionise the insurance industry. He is a seasoned insurance executive with over 25 years in-depth experience across various composite insurers, with hands-on experience in delivering large transformational programmes at the highest level. Bradley is Managing Director at Commercial & General– a small independent insurance broker which focuses on both commercial and consumer insurance lines. Bradley also has a wealth of experience in insurance, leading GE Capital’s primary insurance business in Europe and responsible for innovative products such as the first Shariah compliant insurance product authorised by the FSA. Ranvir and his team at Blocksure have been developing Blocksure OS for 4 years, with 2 years in concept and 2 years spent on PoC and validation. Throughout the final year they were looking for pioneering brokers to partner with in designing an innovative concept product on their new platform. Bradley and his team at Commercial & General were instantly excited by the technology and the prospect of reducing costs and improving customer flow and beginning product development on their Blocksure OS platform. The Product Together with Covéa Insurance, Blocksure and Commercial & General are releasing Insure Now. Insure Now is a tenant’s policy targeted at millennials, where blockchain facilitates policy administration and premium collection with the entire insurance methodology built around the technology. It is the first insurance product in Europe which utilises blockchain and the first product to be built on the Blocksure OS platform, which uses a microservice architecture with R3’s corda platform at its core. The product is smartphone based, with an app controlling the interactions of the customer, catering for their every need through a simple user interface on their phone, a revolution in the paperwork heavy insurance world. The blockchain engine allows secure and validated contracts in each part of the database which can be viewed in real-time by all parties, behind a web-enabled front end. Previous platforms utilised for tenant’s insurance have been plagued by issues with database integrity and data transferral between brokers and insurers, and third-party administrators. However, blockchain should alleviate some of the back-office costs by removing these issues and a huge amount of the administrative mess, ensuring that companies can focus on the customer experience. Real-time updates and automated functionality allow changes to policies to be administered with minimal fuss and within seconds, reducing cost and time and providing obvious benefits to the customer. What challenges have been faced in blockchain adoption? At Commercial & General, one of the main hurdles to overcome was unders...

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Rank #8: Ep. 24 – Britain poised to be global leader in blockchain

Aug 28 2018
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This week we focus on a recently published report claiming that the UK is poised to become a global leader in blockchain. To help us discuss this we are joined by Sean Kiernan– one of the reports key authors and CEO at DAG Global. Sean is a banker, with previous experience in both Switzerland and London, as CEO of Falcon Private Bank’s London office, who at the time were the first regulated crypto-bank. He has recently been involved in setting up DAG Global, a London-based company aiming to become the UK’s first regulated crypto-bank where he is its CEO. Blockchain in two minutes The easiest way of describing blockchain is to imagine a spreadsheet, which everyone across the world can see, in both its current format but also every previous edition. This analogy reflects the decentralization of the ledger and also the immutability of the blockchain technology and can be extended further as formulas can be added to spreadsheets. The addition of formulas reflects automation offered by smart contracts, allowing ecosystems to be built and enabling the restructuring of processes for the benefit of all parties.   Is the UK placed to become a leader in blockchain? To build a successful blockchain ecosystem, both IT and Financial sectors are required. Unlike the US, where San Francisco and New York are independently recognised as the technology and finance hubs respectively, London is rare in that it has a huge IT sector alongside a financial services sector which are both globally recognised. Many of the big American IT houses have acknowledged this, with Google, Apple and Facebook increasing their UK staffing despite Brexit lying just around the corner.  In addition to the right industry components, the UK’s regulatory framework is also beneficial to widespread blockchain development and adoption, but more on this will be mentioned later. Whilst places like the Zug Valley in Switzerland are also competing for the title of ‘blockchain capital’, with an intent in the Swiss Banking sector redefining itself through marketing and cryptocurrency. However, the Swiss finance sector cannot compete with the depth of financial services offered in London, with a multitude of hedge funds, insurance, private equity and asset management firms alongside a healthy range of private banking firms also, leading to wider demands on the blockchain ecosystem and more potential for progress. The presence of blockchain consortium R3 in London represent the developmental opportunities in London, not only in finance but also within both healthcare and real-state industries also.   How has the UK Government engaged with blockchain? The involvement of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain (APPG Blockchain) and Deep Knowledge Analytics in authoring this report has outlined the discussions between governmental groups and different sectors of the UK economy as to how blockchain can be used to optimal effect. Additionally, the FCA has provided public statements of support for the...

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Rank #9: Ep.19 – Insurwave: the insurer’s perspective with MS Amlin and XL Catlin

Jul 22 2018
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Insurwave, the new marine insurance blockchain platform launched by EY, Guardtime, Microsoft, Willis Tower Watson, XL Catlin, MS Amlin and ACORD and piloted by Maersk has been a recurring theme here at Insureblocks. In a previous episode, Insurwave - a Maersk pilot for marine blockchain insurance, we examined the client’s perspective. In a more recent episode, Insurwave: the complete story with EY, we discussed the process of creating Insurwave. To complete the circle, today we will look at Insurwave from an insurer’s perspective. For today’s episode we were lucky enough to have two speakers, Madeline Bailey, Head of Strategic Initiatives at MS Amlin, and Hélène Stanway, Digital Leader at XL Catlin. Blockchain in two minutes Blockchain is a distributed ledger that allows users to share data in real time in a secure and immutable way. This data can be related to assets, for example the location of a vessel, or it can be a smart contract, a piece of code set to execute when a set of specified parameters is fulfilled. Blockchain has the potential to create trust between parties in the insurance industry and improve risk intelligence, lowering costs and benefiting parties across the insurance value chain.   Why Insurwave? In the past four years the marine insurance industry has experienced declining performance and increasing combined operating ratios. It has become necessary, therefore, to take a strategic look at the industry and consider how new technologies can improve efficiency. In building Insurwave, both MS Amlin and XL Catlin were willing to take a leadership position in the insurance industry and commit to a vision of how the industry is going to develop. In an industry not known for embracing change, developing Insurwave came with challenges. Working alongside competitors and completely re-inventing the underwriting process is not something insurance companies have done before. However, every participant was keen to grasp an opportunity to cooperate with representatives across the value chain and consider what each needs out of an insurance transaction to re-imagine the underwriting process. The low margins plaguing the insurance industry posed an additional challenge. Unlike usual, well defined projects, it is harder to quantify the costs and benefits of investing in innovation. For that reason it was important to have a clear set of goals with Insurwave. One of the main factors Insurwave has been successful is its focus on providing hull and war cover for its pilot with Maersk.   Insurwave’s effect Insurwave allows parties to seamlessly share data between them. By combining blockchain with IoT data, parties have access to real time information. At the moment Insurwave provides over thirty data points per vessel. The aim is to get to fifty. Insurers get more data, get data of different types and get it in real time. Up until now, insurers traditionally looked backwards to quantify risk. This means the insurance industry has yet to come up with a definitive answer on how to use all this new data but Insurwave opens up a range of new possibilities.

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Rank #10: Ep.17 – Creating a decentralised insurance model with blockchain & smart contracts – Etherisc

Jul 09 2018
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Creating a decentralised insurance model with blockchain & smart contracts - Etherisc This week we are taking a broader look on how blockchain can transform the insurance sector. Specifically, we will consider how blockchain and smart contracts can be used to create a decentralised insurance model. With us we have Stephan Karpischek, co-founder of Etherisc. Etherisc is building decentralised insurance applications on the Ethereum blockchain. They began in 2016, pioneering a flight delay application utilising a public blockchain. Currently they are developing over 20 products and will soon release a product covering hurricane insurance for Puerto Rico. Etherisc’s vision is much larger than simply developing its own applications. It is building an open and free protocol for decentralised insurance so that companies can develop their own insurance products using smart contracts.   Blockchain (and Ethereum) in two minutes On a first level, a blockchain is a data structure. On a larger scale, blockchain is an experimental field where we can try and build new incentive schemes. It is an opportunity to re-evaluate how economic actors cooperate and make decisions. We can use blockchain to develop new financial instruments, and more generally a new financial system, that works better than the current financial industry and economic structure. The Ethereum blockchain adds another infrastructure layer. At its core, Ethereum is meant to be an open space. Everyone can join the Ethereum network and develop their own applications and financial products. This means that Ethereum is supported by a large and diverse community of developers who make sure the blockchain rises up to any challenges it faces, such as cost of transactions. This makes Ethereum one of the most mature blockchains to tackle the decentralisation of the insurance industry.   The decentralised insurance model 1. The goal of decentralised insurance So why should we decentralise insurance in the first place? In the current insurance model there is an asymmetrical relationship between the insured and the insurer. The insurance company manages both the risk pool and the pay-out. They are therefore incentivised against paying out claims, at the expense of the insured. A decentralised model using blockchain offers a solution to this problem. Blockchain can be used to build automated systems that manage the risk pool just like an insurance company, minus the commercial incentive to withhold pay-out.    2. Smart contracts as a public utility A decentralised insurance model assumes that any company can provide their own insurance product. To achieve this, it is necessary to make the means of providing insurance easily accessible. Etherisc's solution to that is a smart contract that is freely available to copy and use. Anyone would be able to use this technology without requiring a licence. As often happens with free software, funding can be an issue. Etherisc is using a token sale to fund this idea and has already raised enough money for a few developers to start work on this protocol. In the end, however, making smart contracts a public utility is a community project requiring the feedback and engagement of the developer community.

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Rank #1: Ep. 37 – Blockchain in the specialty insurance market – insights from Ed, a Lloyd’s broker

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For this week’s episode, we spoke to Arun Narayanan, Head of Data and Analytics at Ed. This episode provides an excellent insight into the specialty insurance market at Lloyd’s and how blockchain based solutions can streamline processes, generate savings and promote product innovation. Ed Broking is a global wholesale insurance broker which is headquartered in London with offices in China, Dubai, Germany, and the USA.  Ed Broking provides clients with broking facilities for a wide-range of specialty business lines such as aerospace, marine cargo, construction and energy. What is blockchain?  “Blockchain is a distributed ledger that sits on a peer-to-peer network where transactions are validated by every other member in the network.” After providing a technical definition of blockchain, Arun proceeds to explain the benefits and features of blockchain: * Blockchain can improve data sharing – Each transaction stored on the distributed ledger must be validated and these transactions are visible to all parties with requisite permissions. Thus, blockchain can enable data sharing between parties that may potentially have conflict of interests (for example, insurers and reinsurers.) * Blockchains are secure – Cryptography (cryptographic hashes) ensure that transactions once stored on chain cannot be tampered with – this makes the information in the blockchain secure and verifiable. * Blockchain can generate savings – There is a large amount of manual work done in the Lloyd’s market today (especially in the specialty business lines). Smart contractscan help automate some of these tasks to save time and money.  At the same time, immutability and time-stamping in a blockchain provides a verifiable audit trail for regulatory or internal compliance processes, thereby generating even more savings.   Will blockchain disintermediate brokers? At the start of this calendar year, there was a lot of discussion around the possibility that blockchain will disintermediate brokers entirely. However, over the past few months, this idea has been replaced by a notion that blockchain will enable brokers to focus on their core competencies – translating complex risks their clients face and bringing appropriate risks to the correct sources of capital (underwriters). It goes without saying that automation may eat into some of the existing revenues of broker, but it is important to remember that blockchain, which may cause this revenue loss, will also reduce costs and create significant new product opportunities.   Brokers leading the charge in blockchain – is this counterintuitive? Some examples of brokers playing an instrumental role in blockchain are: * Marsh: In collaboration with IBM, ACORD and ISN, Marsh has launched a commercial Proof of Insurance solution on the IBM Hyperledger protocol. Extending this idea of proof of insurance, in October this year, Marsh collaborated with Evident to launch a a href="https://www.evidentid.

Nov 25 2018
28 mins
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Rank #2: Ep.10 – An Introduction to The RiskBlock Alliance

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RiskBlock Alliance This week’s Insureblock’s episode takes us to Pennsylvania, USA, where we had the chance to interview Christopher McDaniel,  President of the RiskBlock Alliance; an industry-led consortium that collaborates to unlock the potential of blockchain across the insurance industry.   2 Minute Definition of Blockchain For Chris, there are three fundamentals to blockchain: * Ubiquitous data – all data is synchronised between the participants behind the scenes. * Immutable – data cannot be erased. It is a perfect audit trail with a one source of truce for the participants using the blockchain. * Smart contracts – the capability of saying if a situation exists do something on the blockchain. It is a way of automating different processes that may exist on the blockchain.   What is the RiskBlock Alliance The Institute is an organisation that has been around for a hundred years in the property and casualty space. It provides education and research in that space. 18 months ago, the board of the Institute tasked the RiskBlock Alliances with: * Proof of concept - could blockchain be used in the insurance space * Proof of collaboration - can we get competing firms to work together around a common goal By June 2017, four proof of concepts were set up with over 40 insurance entities collaborating together, leading to the formation of the RiskBlock Alliance. In Chris’ opinion, one of the smartest things that the RiskBlock Alliance did was instead of jumping into the deep end of the pool was taking 12 weeks to really define what the RiskBlock Alliance was going to be and what value it will bring to its members. They created a consortium of insurance carriers, reinsurance and brokers to build a blockchain framework with multiple use cases on top of it. The framework is really key, as it is the first truly enterprise friendly reusable blockchain framework.   Why use blockchain? Prior to the RiskBlock Alliance one of the Institute’s members built a Proof of Concept for a compelling need in the insurance industry and tried to get the rest of their peers / competitors to join in. They received a lot of pushback from their competitors. RiskBlock being an independent trusted source was able to bring that exact same solution with the participation of all its members in the roll out of that particular use case. Blockchain is a “team sport”. If you are doing something that is individual to your organisation there are more likely better solutions out there than blockchain. However if you are looking to join together different entities and competitors and want to have them share information in an ubiquitous, secure and real time manner, then blockchain is the best solution for that.   Getting competing entities to work together Everyone seems to think that they have the secret sauce. In one example of a use case need around subrogation – the process between 2 insurance firms who are involved in an auto accident (for example) with a need to negotiate a final financial settlement. Arbitration may be involved and it’s a very painful manual process. By creating a blockchain solution you can automate that process and create efficiencies for all parties. Effectively the way to getting competitors to work together is by ensuring that the value they get is greater than their competitive fears.   Building a truly digital process 80% of blockchain use case are in the efficiency area. 20% is in new products, new channels, new ways of doing things.

May 21 2018
26 mins
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Rank #3: Ep.13 – Blockchain & Trade Finance

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Blockchain & Trade Finance This week’s podcast is all about blockchain in trade finance. We were very lucky to have Marilyn Blattner-Hoyle, Head of Supply Chain and Trade Finance at AIG. In this episode she will share with us the pilot they ran with Standard Chartered and with TradeIX.   2 Minute Definition of Blockchain Marilyn, approaches blockchain as a layman, so the way she looks at it, is blockchain is a form of distributed ledger technology, which simply put is a distributed database or ledger that can record and track transactions in a secure environment with optimal transparency. Cryptography underpins the way this is done. The way AIG, and particularly Marilyn’s trade finance team look at blockchain is how it can be used to providing solutions to their clients by creating simpler ecosystems for allowing trade finance to occur.   What is trade finance? Simply put, trade finance is the facilitation by banks, financial institutions and other funders to support sellers selling goods and services and buyers buying them. There are many different ways to do trade finance whether with receivables, payables, loans or traditional trade finance with instruments like letters of credit. All areas of trade finance are ripe for blockchain/DLT solutions as we have seen with many pilots. So the issues with centralized databases, legacy systems, and fragmented paper driven solutions and even with fraud make blockchain a great potential solution for this industry.   Hurdles with trade finance that blockchain can overcome The reason blockchain and trade finance are natural partners is because much of trade finance is paper driven, fragmented, with different systems even within corporates, and certainly centralised databases that have a single point of failure. For example, there is lots of paper-based invoice requirements. There are requirements for following different stages of an invoice life cycle and so there are lots of different data points that are super key for trade finance and so by being able to optimize all of those data points in a centralized place, where there's essentially one source of the truth; that's a game changer for the industry. That’s something that the trade finance industry doesn't have right now and if it can be solved you can increase the trust between the parties. You can make it simpler to execute transactions at volume and then you can also add far more ecosystem participants such as corporates, banks and insurers. But at the moment, that's all very difficult. So even within trade finance you have lots of corporates that use multiple banks to do lots of their different trade finance around the globe with lots of different systems for each jurisdiction and it's very difficult to merge those. By using blockchain or in fact even other forms of technology, such as even API's to be able to integrate legacy systems with something like a distributed ledger, that opens up opportunities that don't mean that you have to make full scale adoption a requirement now.   The first blockchain-enabled trade finance system In October 2017, AIG launched its first blockchain-enabled trade finance system alongside Standard Chartered and TradeIX. The proposition is essentially based around a receivables finance deal where a large multinational corporate logistics client wanted to sell its receivalbes to Standard Chartered to give its core customers more time to pay. The reason blockchain was used was because the corporate wanted the capability to have a multi-bank structure as well as multiple insurers supporting the same.

Jun 11 2018
29 mins
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Rank #4: Ep.18 – Insurwave: the complete story with EY

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In one of our previous episode, Insurwave - a Maersk pilot for marine blockchain insurance, we introduced Insurwave, a new marine blockchain insurance platform launched by EY, Guardtime, Microsoft, Willis Tower Watson, XL Catlin, MS Amlin and ACORD and piloted by Maersk. This week we are joined by Shaun Crawford, Global Insurance Sector Leader at EY and one of the founders of Insurwave. We will be discussing the complete story of Insurwave, from Proof of Concept to launch.   Blockchain in two minutes A blockchain is a series of blocks of continuous records, where a previous block is effectively a cryptographic copy of the information from the preceding block. The blockchain is managed autonomously using a peer to peer network, meaning that the whole network will know if a peer makes a change to the blockchain. Therefore, everything has to be authenticated. This leads to a live, immutable audit trail.   Insurwave Insurwave is the first product of Insurwave Ltd, a joint venture between EY and Guardtime, a blockchain company whose experience ranges from the NHS to the US Air Force. It is a blockchain platform linking the shipping industry with the brokers, the insurers and reinsurers. At the moment it is focused on providing hull and war cover. Insurwave is built on the open source version of Corda (See Corda's latest announcement). The reason for this choice is that Corda is a very mature and privacy-focused blockchain. In other blockchains every peer has access to all the data on the blockchain. Insurwave, however, deals with sensitive company information and requires certain data to only be accessible by certain peers, making Corda the best choice.   Building Insurwave Building Insurwave required looking beyond the insurance industry. Guardtime was chosen both for its expertise in blockchain and its range of experience. Gathering a group including shipping, insurance and technology leaders created a team capable of critically examining existing processes to build a new product from the ground up. The first step in building Insurwave was to create a PoC. This revolved around ten use cases and considered how blockchain can improve efficiency and reduce costs. In doing that, it was always important for Insurwave to be a new proposition, a completely new business model, rather that a digitisation of existing processes. Insurwave has been an opportunity to re-imagine how the underwriting process would be in the future and how claims handling could become more efficient. The end result is that Insurwave can improve cost efficiency by at least 40 per cent. As the insurance industry isn't particularly known for embracing change, building a completely new platform can be challenging. What made Insurwave feasible was having a small team. Having just one shipping company, one broker, an insurer and a reinsurer ensured that the team could examine all facets of the insurance industry while also remaining flexible.   Insurwave's potential Creating an immutable audit trail and seamlessly sharing data between parties has the potential to improve existing practices in numerous ways.   1. Bring risk closer to capital For shipping companies like Maersk, a major benefit of Insurwave is that it allows them to bring risk...

Jul 15 2018
30 mins
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Rank #5: Ep. 22 – Fizzy, AXA’s Blockchain Case Study

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For today’s episode we are going to Paris with Laurent Benichou, director of R&D at AXA. Laurent will introduce a famous blockchain case study called Fizzy, AXA’s blockchain flight delay insurance policy.   Blockchain in two minutes A blockchain is a fully distributed database. This means it has no single point of failure and no central managing authority. Blockchain’s technical characteristics, such as its immutability and cryptographic verification, create numerous convenient features including fast and easy payments, smart contracts and the ability to indefinitely store information.   Fizzy Fizzy is a fully automated flight delay insurance policy that runs on the Ethereum blockchain and allows customers to get indemnified as soon as they arrive to their destination. The process is fully automated, with a smart contract deciding whether customers are eligible for indemnification. This means no action is required by eligible customers to claim their indemnity. AXA fully supported Laurent’s idea. Deploying Fizzy, which began development in late 2015, was easy from an internal point of view. This is because AXA is aware of customer pain points regarding flight delay insurance: * Coverage exclusions reduce customer satisfaction as they can lead to cases where the policyholder is unaware whether they are covered or not. * Customers do not know when they will be compensated. * Customers have to provide proof of delay. This is a cumbersome process involving contacting the airline to provide proof and sending it over to the insurer. AXA was excited to create a product that efficiently deals with these challenges. Fizzy is very transparent with no claim forms, proof of delay or other paperwork involved. These issues are all automatically dealt by Fizzy, which notifies the customer that the policy has been purchased successfully, that it is stored on the blockchain and that compensation has been completed. In that way, AXA tries to create trust between itself and its policyholders. If you would like to find out more about the process behind launching Fizzy, Laurent has written a blog post which you can find here.   Fizzy’s value proposition Fizzy’s value proposition for AXA revolves around rebuilding trust in the insurance system.   1. Customer-centricity Despite AXA being a party to the transaction, Fizzy will reinforce trust by ensuring total transparency in making policy payouts. As Laurent puts it, “it’s not the insurer, it’s the smart contract on the blockchain” that will decide whether the policyholder is eligible for indemnification. This means that unlike traditional flight delay policies, where not every eligible policyholder asks for their indemnity due to the cumbersome process, Fizzy guarantees that every eligible policyholder will be compensated. Laurent is confident that customers will be willing to pay more for that guarantee, a necessary condition as paying every eligible customer  means the price will need to be adjusted to retain margins. Having said that, Laurent is keeping the same margin for Fizzy as for other products (and perhaps even a lower margin for the first years). Fizzy is more about increasing customer-centricity than directly improving AXA’s profit line. In that way, AXA can build trust between themselves and their customers. We cannot but notice how both Laurent and Stefan from a href="https://etherisc.

Aug 13 2018
30 mins
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Rank #6: Ep. 23 – Blockchain from an Allianz perspective & lessons learnt

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For today’s episode we are going to Munich with Bob Crozier, Head of Global Blockchain Centre of Competence at Allianz. Bob shares his views on blockchain’s effect on the insurance industry and sheds some light on the Allianz approach to blockchain. Blockchain in two minutes A blockchain is a shared ledger record of transactions. When everyone in a network agrees a piece of information is correct, it is added to the ledger and the blockchain’s technology links each successive transaction to the previous one. The end result is an unbroken history of transactions that all parties can trust is correct.   Blockchain’s impact on the insurance industry In August 2017 Bob wrote a blog post titled “how blockchain will impact insurance in 2017 and beyond”, where he examines how blockchain is changing how insurance companies operate on a fundamental level and the way insurers and customers relate in a shared economy. This refers to the gradual change in which insurers realise that working together to solve common customer pain points requires rewriting the rules of business. Blockchain is the first time competitors have to work together to improve the industry and insurers have to learn to coexist in a world where the means of developing and delivering products or services, i.e. blockchain, require shared development and maintenance. By working together Bob does not simply mean creating policies and exchanging risk, for which Lloyd’s of London already does a good job. Bob refers to solving more fundamental issues in the low value adding tasks that are a prerequisite for doing business. It is about solving common pain points and creating a customer-centric experience. Bob’s post also introduces the concept of self-sovereign identity. Data privacy rules are increasingly granting more protection to consumers. Self-sovereign identity, therefore, refers to the way in which people can take control of their data and only give companies the data which is necessary for a product or service. This means that insurers will have to better calibrate the level of information required to provide a service, which will naturally lead to more customer-centric products and services. It is an opportunity for insurers to listen to customers and provide the services they want, in the right volume and in the right way. If you are interested in Bob’s article, you can find it here.   Allianz and blockchain Allianz is keen on experimenting with blockchain and Bob walks us through two recent projects.   1. Captive insurance blockchain Captive insurance programmes, one of the most complicated aspects of commercial insurance, are established by multinational organisations which self-insure instead of purchasing insurance. This entails creating their own self-insurance program which pools together selected assets and insurance exposures from their global operations. They collect premiums from each operating company and pay out claims internationally as they arise. Due to the complexity of self-insuring, captive insurance companies use an insurer to effectively administer the program. Allianz is one of those insurers, having partnered with captive insurance companies to provide administration and compliance services utilising its international network. Blockchain is integral in making this task simpler. The blockchain network automatically connects all the parties in the programme, including the captive management,

Aug 20 2018
29 mins
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Rank #7: News flash episode – Blocksure OS Goes Live with Commercial & General and Covéa Insurance – 03.08.18

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Welcome to another episode in ours News Flash series, where we share the latest developments in the blockchain space, straight off the press. Today we are joined again by Ranvir Saggu, who previously featured in Ep.8 – Building a Blockchain PoC/Pilot, and we welcome Bradley Brandon-Cross to Insureblocks for the first time. Ranvir is CEO at Blocksure – a blockchain business specifically focussing on implementing blockchain in the insurance space, and is currently focussing on Blocksure OS, which is a platform set to revolutionise the insurance industry. He is a seasoned insurance executive with over 25 years in-depth experience across various composite insurers, with hands-on experience in delivering large transformational programmes at the highest level. Bradley is Managing Director at Commercial & General– a small independent insurance broker which focuses on both commercial and consumer insurance lines. Bradley also has a wealth of experience in insurance, leading GE Capital’s primary insurance business in Europe and responsible for innovative products such as the first Shariah compliant insurance product authorised by the FSA. Ranvir and his team at Blocksure have been developing Blocksure OS for 4 years, with 2 years in concept and 2 years spent on PoC and validation. Throughout the final year they were looking for pioneering brokers to partner with in designing an innovative concept product on their new platform. Bradley and his team at Commercial & General were instantly excited by the technology and the prospect of reducing costs and improving customer flow and beginning product development on their Blocksure OS platform. The Product Together with Covéa Insurance, Blocksure and Commercial & General are releasing Insure Now. Insure Now is a tenant’s policy targeted at millennials, where blockchain facilitates policy administration and premium collection with the entire insurance methodology built around the technology. It is the first insurance product in Europe which utilises blockchain and the first product to be built on the Blocksure OS platform, which uses a microservice architecture with R3’s corda platform at its core. The product is smartphone based, with an app controlling the interactions of the customer, catering for their every need through a simple user interface on their phone, a revolution in the paperwork heavy insurance world. The blockchain engine allows secure and validated contracts in each part of the database which can be viewed in real-time by all parties, behind a web-enabled front end. Previous platforms utilised for tenant’s insurance have been plagued by issues with database integrity and data transferral between brokers and insurers, and third-party administrators. However, blockchain should alleviate some of the back-office costs by removing these issues and a huge amount of the administrative mess, ensuring that companies can focus on the customer experience. Real-time updates and automated functionality allow changes to policies to be administered with minimal fuss and within seconds, reducing cost and time and providing obvious benefits to the customer. What challenges have been faced in blockchain adoption? At Commercial & General, one of the main hurdles to overcome was unders...

Aug 02 2018
25 mins
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Rank #8: Ep. 24 – Britain poised to be global leader in blockchain

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This week we focus on a recently published report claiming that the UK is poised to become a global leader in blockchain. To help us discuss this we are joined by Sean Kiernan– one of the reports key authors and CEO at DAG Global. Sean is a banker, with previous experience in both Switzerland and London, as CEO of Falcon Private Bank’s London office, who at the time were the first regulated crypto-bank. He has recently been involved in setting up DAG Global, a London-based company aiming to become the UK’s first regulated crypto-bank where he is its CEO. Blockchain in two minutes The easiest way of describing blockchain is to imagine a spreadsheet, which everyone across the world can see, in both its current format but also every previous edition. This analogy reflects the decentralization of the ledger and also the immutability of the blockchain technology and can be extended further as formulas can be added to spreadsheets. The addition of formulas reflects automation offered by smart contracts, allowing ecosystems to be built and enabling the restructuring of processes for the benefit of all parties.   Is the UK placed to become a leader in blockchain? To build a successful blockchain ecosystem, both IT and Financial sectors are required. Unlike the US, where San Francisco and New York are independently recognised as the technology and finance hubs respectively, London is rare in that it has a huge IT sector alongside a financial services sector which are both globally recognised. Many of the big American IT houses have acknowledged this, with Google, Apple and Facebook increasing their UK staffing despite Brexit lying just around the corner.  In addition to the right industry components, the UK’s regulatory framework is also beneficial to widespread blockchain development and adoption, but more on this will be mentioned later. Whilst places like the Zug Valley in Switzerland are also competing for the title of ‘blockchain capital’, with an intent in the Swiss Banking sector redefining itself through marketing and cryptocurrency. However, the Swiss finance sector cannot compete with the depth of financial services offered in London, with a multitude of hedge funds, insurance, private equity and asset management firms alongside a healthy range of private banking firms also, leading to wider demands on the blockchain ecosystem and more potential for progress. The presence of blockchain consortium R3 in London represent the developmental opportunities in London, not only in finance but also within both healthcare and real-state industries also.   How has the UK Government engaged with blockchain? The involvement of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain (APPG Blockchain) and Deep Knowledge Analytics in authoring this report has outlined the discussions between governmental groups and different sectors of the UK economy as to how blockchain can be used to optimal effect. Additionally, the FCA has provided public statements of support for the...

Aug 28 2018
30 mins
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Rank #9: Ep.19 – Insurwave: the insurer’s perspective with MS Amlin and XL Catlin

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Insurwave, the new marine insurance blockchain platform launched by EY, Guardtime, Microsoft, Willis Tower Watson, XL Catlin, MS Amlin and ACORD and piloted by Maersk has been a recurring theme here at Insureblocks. In a previous episode, Insurwave - a Maersk pilot for marine blockchain insurance, we examined the client’s perspective. In a more recent episode, Insurwave: the complete story with EY, we discussed the process of creating Insurwave. To complete the circle, today we will look at Insurwave from an insurer’s perspective. For today’s episode we were lucky enough to have two speakers, Madeline Bailey, Head of Strategic Initiatives at MS Amlin, and Hélène Stanway, Digital Leader at XL Catlin. Blockchain in two minutes Blockchain is a distributed ledger that allows users to share data in real time in a secure and immutable way. This data can be related to assets, for example the location of a vessel, or it can be a smart contract, a piece of code set to execute when a set of specified parameters is fulfilled. Blockchain has the potential to create trust between parties in the insurance industry and improve risk intelligence, lowering costs and benefiting parties across the insurance value chain.   Why Insurwave? In the past four years the marine insurance industry has experienced declining performance and increasing combined operating ratios. It has become necessary, therefore, to take a strategic look at the industry and consider how new technologies can improve efficiency. In building Insurwave, both MS Amlin and XL Catlin were willing to take a leadership position in the insurance industry and commit to a vision of how the industry is going to develop. In an industry not known for embracing change, developing Insurwave came with challenges. Working alongside competitors and completely re-inventing the underwriting process is not something insurance companies have done before. However, every participant was keen to grasp an opportunity to cooperate with representatives across the value chain and consider what each needs out of an insurance transaction to re-imagine the underwriting process. The low margins plaguing the insurance industry posed an additional challenge. Unlike usual, well defined projects, it is harder to quantify the costs and benefits of investing in innovation. For that reason it was important to have a clear set of goals with Insurwave. One of the main factors Insurwave has been successful is its focus on providing hull and war cover for its pilot with Maersk.   Insurwave’s effect Insurwave allows parties to seamlessly share data between them. By combining blockchain with IoT data, parties have access to real time information. At the moment Insurwave provides over thirty data points per vessel. The aim is to get to fifty. Insurers get more data, get data of different types and get it in real time. Up until now, insurers traditionally looked backwards to quantify risk. This means the insurance industry has yet to come up with a definitive answer on how to use all this new data but Insurwave opens up a range of new possibilities.

Jul 22 2018
31 mins
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Rank #10: Ep.17 – Creating a decentralised insurance model with blockchain & smart contracts – Etherisc

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Creating a decentralised insurance model with blockchain & smart contracts - Etherisc This week we are taking a broader look on how blockchain can transform the insurance sector. Specifically, we will consider how blockchain and smart contracts can be used to create a decentralised insurance model. With us we have Stephan Karpischek, co-founder of Etherisc. Etherisc is building decentralised insurance applications on the Ethereum blockchain. They began in 2016, pioneering a flight delay application utilising a public blockchain. Currently they are developing over 20 products and will soon release a product covering hurricane insurance for Puerto Rico. Etherisc’s vision is much larger than simply developing its own applications. It is building an open and free protocol for decentralised insurance so that companies can develop their own insurance products using smart contracts.   Blockchain (and Ethereum) in two minutes On a first level, a blockchain is a data structure. On a larger scale, blockchain is an experimental field where we can try and build new incentive schemes. It is an opportunity to re-evaluate how economic actors cooperate and make decisions. We can use blockchain to develop new financial instruments, and more generally a new financial system, that works better than the current financial industry and economic structure. The Ethereum blockchain adds another infrastructure layer. At its core, Ethereum is meant to be an open space. Everyone can join the Ethereum network and develop their own applications and financial products. This means that Ethereum is supported by a large and diverse community of developers who make sure the blockchain rises up to any challenges it faces, such as cost of transactions. This makes Ethereum one of the most mature blockchains to tackle the decentralisation of the insurance industry.   The decentralised insurance model 1. The goal of decentralised insurance So why should we decentralise insurance in the first place? In the current insurance model there is an asymmetrical relationship between the insured and the insurer. The insurance company manages both the risk pool and the pay-out. They are therefore incentivised against paying out claims, at the expense of the insured. A decentralised model using blockchain offers a solution to this problem. Blockchain can be used to build automated systems that manage the risk pool just like an insurance company, minus the commercial incentive to withhold pay-out.    2. Smart contracts as a public utility A decentralised insurance model assumes that any company can provide their own insurance product. To achieve this, it is necessary to make the means of providing insurance easily accessible. Etherisc's solution to that is a smart contract that is freely available to copy and use. Anyone would be able to use this technology without requiring a licence. As often happens with free software, funding can be an issue. Etherisc is using a token sale to fund this idea and has already raised enough money for a few developers to start work on this protocol. In the end, however, making smart contracts a public utility is a community project requiring the feedback and engagement of the developer community.

Jul 09 2018
31 mins
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