6 February 2017Insurance

Hannover Re, Generali and SCOR join blockchain insurance initiative B3i

Italian insurer Generali Group, French reinsurer SCOR and German reinsurer Hannover Re are new additions to the blockchain insurance industry initiative B3i.

Since its launch in October 2016, the B3i initiative has gained 15 members including 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.

Blockchain technology allows for the recording of data—transactions, contracts, agreements—in a way that means the data are simultaneously stored, but also updated in real time—on hundreds or even thousands of computers globally. It is meant to make the data almost impossible to tamper with or hack into—yet it is also accessible and updated instantly for every user.

Members of the B3i will explore the ability of distributed ledger technologies to increase efficiencies in the exchange of data between reinsurance and insurance companies. In order to realize a proof of concept, the participating members will implement a pilot project aimed at transacting reinsurance contracts amongst each other. If blockchain technology proves to be a viable tool, it could transform the insurance industry through a shared, transparent record of contract-related information. Streamlining communication and transactions would subsequently improve industry processes and provide better insurance services to customers, Munich Re said in a statement.

The blockchain insurance industry initiative B3i intends to share first results in June 2017.

SCOR launched a technical accounting blockchain proof of concept (PoC) to assess the feasibility of using blockchain technology in September 2016 and its results revealed that the cross-industry initiative is "agile and quick to implement, simplifies and accelerates interaction, with real-time status simultaneously shared by the business partners involved, and has the potential to efficiently reduce costs".

Denis Kessler, chairman and CEO 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 (PoC) conducted by SCOR on blockchain, along with the work of the B3i members on this technology, will help to accelerate the digitalisation of the re/insurance sector, to the benefit of the whole industry."

Gerhard Ebeling, general manager and head of department IT operations at Hannover Re, said: "Blockchain technology has the potential to optimise business processes and value chains in the insurance industry. With the B3i initiative we now have a platform for the efficient and trendsetting testing and improvement of intercompany processes.

"We are therefore pleased to be part of this initiative and to have an opportunity to develop common standards for our industry."

Steve Hales, head of connected insurance at Generali Group, said: "The Blockchain initiative is particularly important in insurance where the secure and efficient exchange of information can benefit from disruptive technology that could eventually lead to game-changing applications. As a leading player in continental Europe, we are convinced that we need to keep innovating to help Generali customers enjoy a simpler and smarter life."

Paolo Ribotta, head of corporate and commercial at Generali Group, added: "We believe that B3i is a key initiative in the insurance ecosystem that could further modernize our industry and pave the way to unexplored opportunities.

"We have invested in the transformation of our corporate and commercial business, especially in multinational programs, where the digitalization is crucial to ensure the highest level of service to our international customers. Our customers in all industries are exploring and investing in distributed ledgers and smart contract technology to achieve end to end synergies, integration and efficiency. We want to continue to speak their language, helping them to drive their business adding value beyond the policy in a simpler and smarter way. Customers are changing and we are changing with them."

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