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Maersk and partners launch marine insurance blockchain

Lars Henneberg, head of risk and insurance at Maersk Lars Henneberg, head of risk and insurance at Maersk Maersk

Maersk and a group of global partners, including financial services firm EY and software giant Microsoft, have announced the launch of a new blockchain platform for the marine insurance sector, planned to be implemented in 2018 having now completed a 20-week Proof of Concept phase.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The blockchain platform is built on Microsoft’s Azure Cloud technology, in collaboration with EY partner and blockchain technology specialist Guardtime, and aims to connect marine insurance customers with brokers, insurers and third parties via distributed common ledgers to share relevant data, and integrate that information with subsequent insurance contracts.

EY says that the platform’s capabilities will include the ability to create and maintain asset data from multiple parties, to link data to policy contracts, and to receive and act upon information that results in a pricing or a business process change. It should also provide a means to connect client assets, transactions and payments together within a single data infrastructure.

“Blockchain’s potential to transform the insurance ecosystem has always been clear. What we have done is to move forward from potential to reality,” said Shaun Crawford, EY’s global insurance leader.

“This solution is the first to apply blockchain’s transparency, security and standardisation to marine insurance and is ready for commercial use. We look forward to deploying this technology across the marine insurance industry and are exploring how these findings and insights will be applied to other specialty insurance markets and beyond.”

Maersk’s involvement in the project is driven by a desire to increase the efficiency of its interactions with insurance industry stakeholders, to make the process more convenient and less costly on all sides.

The blockchain platform should support this by making it more straightforward to manage this complex international ecosystem, which currently involves multiple parties, long paper chains and duplication, high transaction volumes and significant levels of reconciliation. Potentially, the new technology should allow the parties involved to connect their disparate data sets and processes to mitigate these issues.

“It is a priority for us to leverage technology to streamline and automate our interaction with the insurance market,” said Lars Henneberg, A.P. Møller-Maersk’s head of risk and insurance.

“Insurance transactions are currently far too tedious and frictional. The distance between risk and capital is simply too far. Blockchain technology has the potential to facilitate the desired development that is long overdue.”

Other partners in the marine insurance blockchain project include ACORD, MS Amlin, Willis Towers Watson and XL Catlin.{/mprestriction}

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