While slow information exchange, complex risk insurance, data fragmentation, middlemen omnipresence, and other severe issues continue evading the insurance sector, there are companies ready to step to the plate. They bring blockchain innovation to the space and shoulder the consequences whatever they might be.
Indubitably, blockchain is a new, mostly undiscovered area where pitfalls might expect newcomers at any stage. Yet its potential as a decentralized, transparent, and immutable infrastructure holds a great promise for sectors and related businesses across the globe.
Today, we will explore the practical examples of blockchain implementation in insurance.
Blockchain to Revolutionize Insurance: Nine Prominent Examples
The status quo reflects the following picture: mostly startups are penetrating the space, with stellar ideas on the way to promising projects, just waiting for financial backup. However, some projects are already publicly available as mobile apps.
We will focus on the major aspects of insurance already imbued with — or eagerly waiting for — novel solutions.
The Etherisc startup is now working on multiple projects, each covering a particular insurance aspect. Those include flight delays, natural disasters, digital assets, collateral protection, crops, and life insurance.
Although most initiatives are currently at the designing and prototyping stages, the project for flight delay insurance is the one already available for purchase.
At its core, the project is a dapp that insurances users against flight delays and cancellations. Based on the Ethereum public blockchain, it allows passengers to purchase flight insurance with digital or fiat assets and get compensation automatically upon delay.
Smart contracts are the driving force that initiates payments. To get insurance, users should register their flight in the system and then choose payment type and details. Each user account has a cryptographic ID through which they can read flight policies and receive payouts.
Property and casualty take up significant space of the industry, with 621.8 m employees in the US alone (the figure as of 2018 according to Statista). Minding that, EY, in a collaborative effort with Guardtime, A.P. Møller-Maersk, Microsoft, and ACORD, launched a project for marine insurance.
Already in commercial usage, the platform allows insurance participants to monitor logistics info — location, physical conditions, and other data — in real-time. The program automatically calculates insurance costs with involved risks across the entire transportation cycle, setting pricing in each entered zone.
Insurwave records all data in the Corda blockchain, ensuring immutable audit trails of marine shipment data. Thanks to that, insurers can have a more accurate understanding of what type of insurance and policy they need as well as access global insurance markets by sharing their data with other brokers.
The automotive insurance sector sometimes seems “overlooked” by modern technologies. In this light, several blockchain insurance software companies, among them is the Kasko2Go startup, strive to get rid of this drawback with own DLT solutions.
With blockchain, AI, and other innovative technologies, Kasko2Go aims to cut car insurance costs by incentivizing safe driving, tackling illegal activities, lowering rents, and minimizing red tape.
The Kasko2Go mobile app monitors the behavior of each driver and individually calculates insurance prices. The safer users drive, the cheaper their insurance will be.
If accidents occur, drivers receive insurance payments practically instantly. The app automatically evaluates damage costs. All drivers need to do to make a claim is to take a photo of their damaged car. Claims are recorded on a blockchain, where frauds are next to impossible.
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In 2017, B3i, a consortium that brings together Allianz, Swiss Re, AIG, and other big players, launched Cat XoL, a platform that manages smart contracts for casualty reinsurance.
That is, each reinsurance contract in the system is written as a smart contract. In the case of a catastrophic event, the contract analyses data from related sources and calculates compensations accordingly.
Currently, the project is at the pilot stage, with the release scheduled for the end of 2019.
Tierion is a blockchain platform that deals with document verification. By “marking” documents with “timestamps,” i.e., linking them to particular “blocks,” the system guarantees easily verifiable audit trails.
Each document registered in the network will have a digital signature confirming its authenticity. Hackers attempting to steal or corrupt the data will fail in that attempt since blockchain cryptography guarantees security and immutability of recorded assets.
Besides documents, the platform allows issuing blockchain-verifiable credentials, such as insurance licenses. This way, insurance companies can check their clients’ credentials with a minimum risk of being tricked.
Surety.ai is an Asia-focused project that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence and provides insurance coverage for poverty-stricken regions without access to traditional banking tools and institutions. It allows for purchasing insurance with cash.
The platform provides seamless p2p access to banks, insurers, and payment providers, rewards users with digital assets for insurance purchases, and stores insurance policies in permanent smart contracts.
Currently, the project’s history counts only one milestone — a private sale in 2018. You can find more information on the official website.
RYSKEX creates a transparent and immutable infrastructure for risk insurance and provides frictionless access to B2B insurance markets.
With alternative risk transfers enabled by blockchain, the processes get free of intermediaries, unnecessary bureaucracy, and additional steps towards insurance. Once a user creates an offer for risk transfer, it becomes available to the global network of risk-takers ready to assume a part of that risk.
The claimed amount is safely deposited under cryptography protection. At any moment, users can report a claim and initiate its processing on the platform.
The Lemonade startup aims to disrupt the charity insurance sector by combining blockchain with Data Science and AI technologies in its solution.
The company’s primary focus is on rental insurance. Based on user input, the AI-powered Lemonade mobile app provides personalized insurance policies that users can easily customize if the offered coverage seems incomplete. The system instantly handles payments and refunds users if their policies are old.
More to it, there’s no need for filling out forms; instead, a smartphone camera records claims. Once the system generates a request, the user can review and submit it and get paid immediately.
Another vivid example of blockchain-powered insurance is RiskBazaar, an insurance marketplace where users can establish contracts with each other.
Currently presented as a whitepaper and a prototype, the project proposes the idea of a p2p marketplace for risk contracts based on blockchain technology. Parties will be able to enter into contracts, trustless, anonymous, and without regulations.
The developers promise the support of the main types of risk contracts, including fully collateralized contracts (with funds locked up by smart contracts) along with partially collateralized ones with and without legally unregulated guarantees.
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It’s not a secret that enterprises and startups around the globe gradually realize the positively destructive and disruptive power of blockchain for their procedures and processes.
From the earlier examples of blockchain usage in the insurance industry, we can tell that those who already work with blockchain-enabled tools make the most of its currently perceivable potential.
Yet there could be even more to discover, and we will keep a close eye on the latest news and emerging blockchain insurance projects.