The Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative B3i, which was launched in October 2016 to explore the potential use of distributed ledger technology, has grown to 15 members from its original five.
Members of the B3i initiative are collaborating to explore the ability of blockchain technologies to increase efficiencies in the exchange of data between reinsurance and insurance companies.
The current members of B3i are Achmea, Aegon, Ageas, Allianz, Generali, Hannover Re, Liberty Mutual, Munich Re, RGA, SCOR, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance, Swiss Re, Tokio Marine Holdings, XL Catlin and Zurich Insurance Group. (The original five members were Aegon, Allianz, Munich Re, Swiss Re and Zurich.)
“Blockchain technology has the potential to optimize business processes and value chains in the insurance industry,” said Gerhard Ebeling, general manager and head of department IT operations at Hannover Re, which announced its B3i membership on Feb. 6.
“With the B3i initiative, we now have a platform for the efficient and trendsetting testing and improvement of inter-company processes. We are therefore pleased to be part of this initiative and to have an opportunity to develop common standards for our industry,” he added.
In September 2016 SCOR started to test blockchain technology and launched a technical accounting blockchain “proof of concept” to assess the feasibility of using the technology. SCOR said the test is described in this video.
SCOR said it is pleased with the results of these tests, which demonstrate that blockchain technology 1) is agile and quick to implement, 2) simplifies and accelerates interaction, with real-time status simultaneously shared by the business partners involved, and 3) has the potential to efficiently reduce costs.
Denis Kessler, chairman & chief executive officer of SCOR, commented: “SCOR’s role as a global tier 1 reinsurer is to experiment and test cutting-edge technology like blockchain. The success of the ‘proof of concept’ conducted by SCOR on blockchain, along with the work of the B3i members on this technology, will help to accelerate the digitalization of the re/insurance sector, to the benefit of the whole industry.” (SCOR announced its B3i membership on Feb. 6).
“We are very excited about joining the B3i consortium. We have been tracking the development of blockchain for some time and can see opportunities emerging in the future where internal processes, transparency and cost efficiency could improve in the new digital world,” said Ageas COO Antonio Cano. (Ageas also announced its membership on Feb. 6).
“To be involved with this initiative reflects our commitment to innovation and a strong entrepreneurial culture,” he added.
In order to realize a proof of concept, the participating members will implement a pilot project aimed at transacting reinsurance contracts with each other, Ageas explained.
“If blockchain technology proves to be a viable tool, it could transform the insurance industry through a shared, transparent record of contract-related information,” said Ageas, noting that streamlining communication and transactions would subsequently improve industry processes and provide better customer service.
“We are really excited about the B3i initiative gaining so much support from other industry players, now representing a truly global approach to the insurance ecosystem,” said Christof Mascher, chief operating officer of Allianz Group. “Allianz is convinced that embracing technological developments will enable us to further modernize our industry, improve efficiency and thereby innovate the way we serve our customers.”
Jason Richards, head P/C Business Management at Swiss Re, said: “More members joining our B3i initiative brings us one step closer to an industry-wide blockchain standard. This is exciting because blockchain has the potential to reduce the cost of insurance by making transactions simpler and faster.”
In order to achieve a proof-of-concept, participating members will engage in a pilot project transacting reinsurance contracts between member companies, Swiss Re said in a statement.
If blockchain technology proves to be a viable tool, it could transform the insurance industry through a shared, transparent record of contract-related information, Swiss Re continued.
Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative B3i plans to share its first results in June 2017, the companies said.