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The B3i initiative is making progress establishing an industry-grade blockchain prototype for a natural catastrophe excess of loss property reinsurance contract, according to Jags Rao, blockchain workstream lead at Swiss Re Ltd. in Zurich.
“The lab-controlled prototype will be ready in summer 2017, which will then be open to market testing,” he said in an email, adding that potential users of the NatCat Xol contract, as it is called, have expressed interest in the beta testing of the prototype. Findings to-date have confirmed significant potential in efficiency gains, as well as optimization of managing working capital, operational and foreign exchange risk,” Mr. Rao said.
A consortium approach to development is advantageous because blockchain is a shared technology platform.
“Blockchain is a mutual distributed ledger and therefore works best among a network of peers,” Markus Tradt, information technology architect for Munich Reinsurance Co. in Munich, said in an email. “We have to do this together with others to develop the necessary standards.
The cooperation also ensures that we focus on solutions that add value that ultimately benefits our clients and focus our blockchain application on that.” Mr. Rao also sees the benefits of collective development.
“Key hurdles such as collective standardization, systems integration, legal and regulatory framework, privacy and confidentiality need to be addressed for consistent and compatible adoption,” he said. “Therefore, collaboration amongst ecosystem players is crucial. B3i provides an ideal platform for joint experimentation in realizing business value.”
The use of blockchain technology is taking a small step forward in the commercial insurance industry as early efforts aim to highlight how the tool can be used to streamline the claims process and mitigate human error.