News Risk Management30 May 2018

Global:First blockchain platform for marine insurance goes 'live'

30 May 2018

Insurwave, the world's first marine insurance blockchain platform, is now 'live' for commercial use. It will transform how global businesses in the marine industry manage risk across their organisations, and how they work with brokers and the insurance industry, said its participants in a statement last week.

They include EY, software security company Guardtime, transport and logistics giant A.P. Møller-Maersk, Microsoft and insurance industry players Willis Towers Watson, XL Catlin, MS Amlin and ACORD. Insurwave was built by a joint venture between EY and Guardtime and leverages blockchain and distributed ledger technologies Microsoft Azure infrastructure and ACORD data standards. It will support more than half a million automated ledger transactions and help manage risk for more than 1,000 commercial vessels in the first year.

By connecting participants in a secure, private network with an accurate, immutable audit trail and services to execute processes, the platform establishes a first-of-its-kind digital insurance value chain.

A.P. Moller - Maersk contributed to the development of the blockchain technology as a pilot client and is continuing on the platform with its marine hull portfolio. Its head of risk and insurance Lars Henneberg said, "Our ambition is to drive the digital transformation of the transport and logistics industry and we see this platform as a testament to the value that can be extracted from streamlining areas of our industry that still rely on manual and often complex procedures. Operating around 350 owned container vessels across the world, marine insurance takes up considerable resources for us. Moving it to this platform is helping us automate manual processes and alleviate a range of inefficiencies and frictional costs in the way we have used to trade marine insurance."

The proof of concept was launched just a year ago before its progress to its current fully functioning platform, noted Shaun Crawford, EY global insurance leader. The first phase of Insurwave’s rollout is focused on marine insurance, and EY, Guardtime and Microsoft plan to roll it out to other types of business insurance for the marine cargo, global logistics, aviation and energy sectors.

Guardtime CEO Mike Gault said, “We are very proud of the work we have done with EY in developing this platform, beginning with a proof of concept a year ago and then all the way through to this production release. This represents an important milestone not only for the insurance industry but also for blockchain technology, proving it can deliver real value to enterprise customers.”

Insurance industry participants were also enthusiastic about the efficiencies the platform could bring to business operations.

XL Catlin CIO Martin Henley said, “With this blockchain, we are bringing together — for the first time — all the parties of the insurance value chain on a single platform. Ultimately, through the use of IoT and smart contracts, policies will be updated automatically to reflect the risks covered; and this combination of technologies will help improve efficiency in claims assessment and payment. Those are tangible wins for our clients, no matter their industry. And with the platform going live, we are now ready to start working on opening it up to other insurance segments.”

Willis Towers Watson GB’s CEO Alastair Swift noted that this blockchain technology has the potential to “revolutionize” the insurance industry.

“This is the first insurance transaction that has been undertaken through blockchain, simplifying and streamlining the transactional process and creating added value for our clients. We strongly believe this is an industry dynamic and that all carriers and brokers should engage in blockchain to drive improved transactional efficiency and innovation for our clients,” he said.

More information on Insurwave is available at ey.com/insurance_blockchain

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