“Did you know that the US insurance industry loses approximately $309 billioni annually due to fraud and inefficiencies? Learn how Blockchain technology can revolutionize insurance and save companies millions.” The insurance industry lags fintech, telecom and healthcare sectors that have embraced and adopted technological innovation to improve both organizational and user-experiences. The current economic malaise of high inflation, interest rates, less investment and capital allocation has further constrained the transformation of the industry.
Its heavily regulated and paperwork-heavy business model burdens its customers to accept the status quo of waiting weeks if not months to process claims and payments. Furthermore, the complexities of the industry’s business models provide further challenges to the type(s) of technological solutions warranted.
However, the insurance industry can transform its legacy systems, provide better customer experiences, offer robust product offerings, and respond quickly to emerging trends by becoming more innovative through the use of technologies such as the blockchain to modernize its industry.
A distributed ledger technology (“DLT”) is a database that is decentralized – meaning there is no central authority managing the database because it is distributed across several computers and nodes. Each node maintains the ledger and if any data changes, the ledger will get updated. The blockchain is a type of a DLT. The DLT is often viewed as the parent technology of blockchain.ii Unlike insurance companies or banking institutions, any changes made to the ledger by the node(s) must be agreed upon by all participants in the network prior to its acceptance. This can be truly transformative for the entire ecosystem of the industry and its participants. Similar to fintech application, DLT can be extremely valuable for know-your-customer (KYC) protocols where data is shared on a private blockchain and costumers only submit information once vis-a-vis repeatedly for multiple claims. This data can also be used for fraud detection, pricing, claims and risk underwriting.
Centralization of data and shared databases of policyholders’ information on the blockchain allows insurance companies to remove the traditional “system silos”. This will mitigate the risk of fraud by providing a complete picture of a policyholder’s history and allowing insurers to quickly identify any inconsistencies or discrepancies in the data. Sharing of data – openly – will not only improve customer/user experience but also allow the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to provide key insights of other markets and growth opportunities in underserved and underrepresented segments of the economy.
Blockchain technology can help prevent fraud – a major problem for the industry – by creating a secure, tamper-proof record of all insurance transactions. It is estimated that ten percent of all submitted claims are fraudulent resulting in billions of dollars in losses for the insurance industry annually. Additionally, the increased transparency offered by blockchain of all transactions records makes it easier for insurers to track and manage risk and has helped to reduce other types of financial crimes.
Processing traditional claims has been a painful process not only for customers but also for organizations saddled with a high cost structure involving multiple parties and a lot of paperwork. Blockchain technology can help streamline the claims process by providing a secure and transparent record of all transactions. This automation makes it possible for insurers to process claims more efficiently and accurately, reducing costs and improving customer satisfaction.
Did you know that within the last year, major global insurance companies including AXA, XL Insurance, Tokyo Marine and CNA Financial were hacked resulted in more than five terabytes of data including medical, financial and other personal information? These data breaches not only target insurers but also opportunities for state-sponsored attacks of individual policyholders. Hackers demand hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom and threatened to release the data on the dark web and these costs are inevitably passed on to customers as increased premiums.
With the implementation of blockchain technology, such hacks could become a thing of the past. By investing in insurance companies that have implemented this technology, you could not only protect your investment and lower premiums but also help safeguard the sensitive information of millions of people.
Blockchain is a relatively new and complex technology, and many insurers are still trying to figure out how it works, its applicability and how it can be integrated into their existing systems. The legacy business model and inability to nimbly respond to market innovation has contributed to the dearth of tech-savvy talent and capital investments to the industry. Adoption of blockchain will allow the insurers and the overall industry to attract the required talent and investment which the industry currently lacks to prudently improve its complex business model. Placing more emphasis on human capital with a tech-centric vision will inevitably garner the interest of Silicon Valley and its investors to transform the industry.
Blockchain technology poses some regulatory and compliance challenges as regulators struggle to ascertain how to place the appropriate “guardrails” and framework around it. Other challenges include security of private customer information which can be a haven for hackers. Despite these impediments, blockchain entrepreneurs and investors are forging ahead to gain first-mover advantages not only within the insurance industry but across many other sectors.
There are several innovative companies in the insuretech and fintech sector that are beginning to transform the insurance industry. These companies are using blockchain and other technologies to provide customers with faster, more affordable, and more transparent insurance options including Lemonade, Metromile, and Root Insurance.
An interesting application of blockchain technology in the insurance industry is the use of smart contracts to automate the claims process via Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), is an organization that is run by a set of rules encoded on a blockchain. DAOs can be used to create decentralized insurance platforms that are owned and run by their members. Members of these platforms can earn money by contributing capital to the platform and participating in the decision-making process using smart contracts. A smart contract is a type of digital agreement that’s built on blockchain technology. It’s essentially a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies or assets between parties under certain conditions. The unique aspect of smart contracts is that they’re ‘self-executing’, meaning once the specified conditions are met, the actions defined in the contract are automatically executed, reducing the need for intermediaries or third parties. This automation, alongside the security and transparency offered by blockchain, can lead to enhanced efficiency in various transactions and processes.
Lemonade founded the Crypto Climate Coalition alongside other providers. The coalition functions as a DAO building and distributing at-cost parametric weather insurance for farmers and livestock keepers in emerging markets. This innovation enables the firm to receive granular weather insights from its partner network, generating models that can be programmed into smart contracts automatically estimating accurate premiums for insuring crops based on field location, size and topography. Parametrically measuring rainfall amounts in an insured field, smart contracts can also automatically trigger flood or drought claims, paying farmers without them even needing to file a claim– truly unleashing the power of blockchain reducing fraud, inefficiencies and unlocking new revenue streams.iii
The insurance industry is poised for exponential growth using blockchain application with significant market revenue forecast. According to a report byAlliedMarket Research, the global blockchain in insurance market is expected to grow from $497 million in 2021 to $32.9 billion in 2031 –a CAGR of52.4%iv.
Many customers frequently use digital and mobile devices to augment their daily lives so the industry needs to adopt blockchain technologies in order to meet its customers where they are most comfortable.Adoption of blockchain will diversify product offering, reduce risk, improve customer experiences, create a leaner and profitable business model and offer greater insights in trends and managing risk for insurers and the industry.
As the insurance industry undergoes a significant transformation with the adoption of blockchain technology, the FPC has been at the forefront of promoting this innovative solution having published six (6) blogs on this subject matter in 2023.* By championing the use of blockchain in insurance, the FPC is driving economic growth and wealth creation in the silo sector, in line with theAmerican way of life and the aspirations of the Founding Fathers. With its mission to develop sound public policy based on free enterprise and wealth development principles, the FPC is fostering an environment that encourages innovation and prosperity in the insurance industry. Through its commitment to maintaining a regulatory framework that nurtures economic development and wealth creation, the FPC is helping to safeguard the American spirit of progress and opportunity. By empowering entrepreneurs, investors, and the public to influence policy makers through advocating for public policy solutions that support the use of blockchain in insurance, the FPC is ensuring that the United States remains a leader in the global insurance industry.
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