While blockchain technology is still in its infancy, there are already a number of promising use-cases and applications for it in the insurance industry. Giant insurance players like Allianz and Swiss Re, as well as newer blockchain entrants in the space are leveraging solutions.
TOWARDS A BLOCKCHAIN-POWERED INSURANCE INDUSTRY
Despite the rise of online brokers, many consumers still call insurance brokers by phone to purchase new policies. Policies themselves are often processed on paper contracts, which means claims and payments are error-prone and often require human supervision. Compounding this is the inherent complexity of insurance, which involves consumers, brokers, insurers and reinsurers, as well as insurance’s main product — risk.
Each step in this collaborative process represents a potential point of failure in the overall system, where information can be lost, policies misinterpreted, and settlement times lengthened.
Enter blockchain technology, a cryptographically secured form of shared record-keeping.
The big difficulty with Property and Casualty (P&C) insurance, which insures items like houses or cars, is gathering the necessary data to evaluate and process claims. Today, this is an error-prone process that involves a lot of manual data entry and coordination between different parties. By allowing policy holders and insurers to track and manage physical assets digitally, blockchain technology can codify business rules and automate claims processing through smart contracts, while providing a permanent audit trail.
You can think of insurance as a contract that stipulates the premium an insuree pays, as well as the conditions in which the insurer is liable for damages. The tricky bit is that “damages” can be pretty subjective, and insurance revolves around verifying that the conditions for each policy are met. Say that you’ve recently gotten into a car accident and the other driver was at fault. To recover losses, you have to submit a claim to your insurance company. Your insurer needs to examine the claim, and then recover the claim for the at-fault driver’s insurance company — which has an entirely different system and process for claims handling.
With blockchain, automated processing replaces the exchange of thousands of emails and massive data files.
Smart contracts on the blockchain can turn paper contracts into programmable code that helps automate claims processing and calculates liabilities in insurance for all players involved. A contract is a paper agreement between two or more parties that is enforceable by law; a smart contract is an agreement between two or more parties that lives on a blockchain and is enforceable by code. For example, when a claim is submitted with an insurer, a smart contract could automatically confirm coverage, and trigger a request for manual review for losses that meet a specific criteria. For flight insurance, a smart contract could be linked to an air traffic control database, and automatically trigger compensation when delays or cancellations occur.
Allianz Insurance recently launched a prototype for captive insurance, built on top of Hyperledger’s Fabric blockchain. Allianz’s blockchain connects to Citi’s CitiConnect API to accept instructions and payout contracts and is designed for professional and property insurance. The prototype records policy renewals, premiums payments, and claims processing onto the blockchain, simplifying the flow of transactions between parties.
Blockchain health insurance
Health insurance today is plagued by a sprawling and inefficient ecosystem of providers, insurers, and patients. A single patient will typically see multiple doctors and specialists over the course of his life. Because there are so many different parties involved in healthcare, it’s difficult to share and coordinate sensitive medical data between them. Medical records get siloed within different healthcare providers and insurers, and duplicate and erroneous records across different organizations lead to costly administrative overhead as well as unnecessary procedures for patients.
A cryptographically secured blockchain can maintain patient privacy, while creating an industry-wide, synchronized repository of healthcare data, delivering the industry billions in savings a year.
LIFEdata is a digital platform for Insurers. Our team works with you to design a branded and differentiated engagement process, specifically adapted to your specific business objectives, including e.g. health assessment, segmentation, personal recommendation and incentive system. Leverage a wide range of services and content, including in-house services, those of your current partners and the power of the ecosystem to fulfil the requirements of your diverse user base.
Also published on Medium.