The insurance sector has been a follower as compared to other industries when it comes to technology adoption. One of the greatest challenges currently facing the insurance industry is of detecting and preventing against counterfeit documents and phoney participants. Owing to this challenge, the industry has been looking for ways to establish the authenticity of documents, both for transactions as well as for contracts. The documents need to be stored in such a manner that they are easily accessible to anyone, while also maintaining their guarantee of immutability (cannot be changed once created) and security (can be changed only by authorized users).
Blockchain is considered to be a breakthrough technology as it has the capability to bring huge benefits to businesses across various sectors. In the insurance space, blockchain offers an acceptable standard format for securing contracts, transactions or any other details that can be maintained in the public domain. Apart from this, it has various other prospects and use cases that make the lives of insurance businesses easier.
Let us take a deep look at how Blockchain benefits insurance and why businesses should consider it.
How does Blockchain work?
Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that uses peer-to-peer sharing of information in an immutable manner. Also popularly known as Web3, it is a publicly verifiable and shared distributed ledger technology (DLT) used for securely exchanging data within a network and recording the history of transactions.
As the name suggests, Blockchain is a chain of blocks that contains information inside a block, and each block is connected with a hash of its previous and subsequent blocks to create a chain. The data within each block is shared with multiple peers and each block has the same copy of data. This data once formed cannot be changed. For any change in data values, a new update needs to be made, which is again shared with all peers. It is not easy for any unauthorized parties to make changes to the data since all available copies need to be changed simultaneously, which is not practically possible. This makes the data in the blocks highly immutable, and hence there is an implicit guarantee as to the veracity of the data that is saved in the blocks.
Why Insurance companies must look at Blockchain?
The inherent features of blockchain that make it a useful technology for the insurance sector include the following.
- Immutability and Security: Blockchain is a secure and transparent approach to store and process data using cryptographic functions. Once data is written and stored in the ledger, it cannot be changed or edited, which shelters it from unauthorized amendments and users.
- Transparency: Blockchain requires validation and acceptance rules to be enforced to enable any parties to initiate and add transactions. Therefore, all transactions within the public blockchain network are made available to all participating nodes, while in private blockchain, all authorized nodes are given access to the transactions.
- Authenticity: Every transaction that uses smart contracts in blockchain contains the digital signature of the creator and responder. Moreover, every block holds the hashed IDs of the previous and subsequent blocks, making the transactions legitimate.
- Ownership and Accountability: All participants within the blockchain network know the provenance of a transaction. The immutability of transactions in the block and the connection among blocks empower accountability and ownership control in applications that use blockchain technology.
On account of these features, blockchain has now come into the mainstream and is being used by insurance companies in multiple ways.
For those in the high-value goods trading business, it is especially important to have proper records of ownership of such goods. From yachts to houses, everything needs to not only be registered to maintain correct records of ownership but also needs to be insured against losses. In this scenario, blockchain has become the go-to solution for keeping an up-to-date and accurate registry – as the data saved in it cannot be disputed and duplicated. As the value of the goods increases, so do the chances of fraud. However, with blockchain, the propensity to commit fraud is reduced to a significant extent due to the huge costs involved in committing such frauds.
One of the several ways the insurance industry is utilizing blockchain is through parametric insurance- which automatically delivers insurance claim benefits based on pre-defined events as measured by specific parameter or index. The parameters of the event are coded in advance and when the particulars of the event are met, the claim is automatically triggered and paid out. The benefit of this apart from the immutability aspect of blockchain is the huge savings in terms of labor costs as well as cascading litigation costs.
Benefits for Reinsurance
Another major user of blockchain is the reinsurer who can benefit from smart contracts. Blockchain helps with automating the storage and distribution of data and contracts among multiple players such as reinsurers, brokers and regulators. Cost benefits accrue from not having a human in the mix. Because the data is immutable, there is truly little chance of litigation and subsequent wastage of time and effort. Insurance companies also benefit from blockchain due to the improved clarity and lack of ambiguity.
Fraud Detection and Prevention
One of the major benefits of blockchain is its ability to eliminate the limitations of client-server architecture to prevent fraud. Blockchain also prevents forgery and alterations in the contracts and documents since the distributed ledger is shared with all participants in an unchangeable and append-only manner. The contracts must be canceled, and new ones must be entered, which makes original statements, policies, and contracts difficult to mutate.
Claim Submission and Processing
Insurance companies often face several challenges when it comes to creating and processing insurance claims. The entire process can be very time-demanding, tedious, costly, and prone to human errors. Blockchain reduces the complexities of creating, accepting and processing insurance claims using smart contracts. It creates immutable statements that are easily accessible by all participants within the network and makes the process less costly and hassle-free.
Data storage management
With more IoT devices coming to use, the data generated will keep on increasing. This data is extremely crucial for insurers to develop accurate usage-based insurance models for their customers. Blockchain allows insurance companies to effectively manage the enormous amounts of data generated by offering a decentralized platform to store and process it. This saves insurers from investing in expensive data centers and fraud investigation measures.
Who is it for?
Blockchain is now widely used by both large and medium-sized insurance companies. The benefits of using blockchain include – improved efficiency of completing paperwork, ensured data security, real-time processing of claims, and use of smart contracts to store confidential information. As the use of blockchain becomes more widespread, the cost of using the technology will come down further. There are new companies coming along every day that are bringing modern technologies and frameworks to use, making it easier for everyone to implement blockchain for everyday business deals.
How does Experion help?
Experion has a dedicated blockchain team helping our clients design and implement blockchain-based projects quickly and efficiently. We have completed multiple projects as well as Proof-Of-Concepts using blockchain and our purpose is not just to put your business ahead of the curve, but also to maximize value propositions for your customers.
We not only have technical expertise but also functional depth in the property and casualty (P&C), motor insurance, life and health insurance, and workers’ compensation domains. Whether your choice of blockchain is private (company/industry specific) or public – based on your specific business case, we can set up and implement the most apt blockchain solution for you. To explore opportunities for your business, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.