2019 US Insurance Awards: Ernst & Young, Insurtech Initiative of the Year (underwriting and insurance platforms)Posted On: May. 1, 2019 12:00 AM CST
Collaboration was key as a small consortium worked to produce Insurewave, a technology platform for the placement of marine hull and war coverage with plans to expand.
The project began with contact between Ernst & Young LLP and GuardTime AS, the project’s technology provider, which had been developing blockchains in other industries including defense and telecommunications, according to Shaun Crawford, global vice chair for industry markets in London for Ernst & Young.
Ernst & Young had been “talking for quite a while about how this technology could apply to insurance,” a high-cost, low-efficiency business, Mr. Crawford said, adding that he wanted to take the project to a client and noting shipping insurance as “the oldest, most inefficient insurance market in the world,” with stringent regulatory and capital requirements.
The project aimed to solve challenges in the quoting and purchase of marine hull and war coverage via a secure permissioned distributed ledger.
Denmark-based shipper AP MollerMaersk A/S was contacted and enthusiastic about the project, and the two parties set about a 12-week proof of concept phase which validated the concept and allowed them to move on to a first-stage build, he said.
“It was a great idea but would never have gotten off the ground without Maersk,” Mr. Crawford said.
Funded by EY and performed and executed by Guardtime, the build took almost a year to the time it came online at the beginning of June 2018, Mr. Crawford said.
While the first iteration of Insurewave focused on marine hull and war coverage and limited to participants EY, Guardtime, Maersk, Maersk Insurance A/S, MS Amlin, Willis Towers Watson PLC, and Axa XL (originally XL Catlin), Mr. Crawford said sights are now set on potentially expanding to other participants and perhaps further product lines.
Insurewave, he said, “is not just a Maersk proposition, it’s all hull and war coverage,” and then can be extended to other lines such as cargo and aviation.
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