The industry's Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative (B3i) announced a year ago that it had developed a re-insurance blockchain prototype for a proprietary XOL (Over-of-Loss) contract and asked the industry to prove it . The initial results are in
Months of testing by 40 insurers, reinsurers and brokers have identified some problems with the platform, which had to be resolved quickly. After all, the platform is scheduled to go live in time for the January 1, 2019 renewal season.
The prototypes have provided a "huge wave of feedback," said Paul Meeusen, CEO of B3i. Meeusen commented on the progress of B3i to date in an event held during the Rendez-Vous de Septembre (RVS) reinsurance this week.
Meeusen was joined by Denis Kessler, president and CEO of SCOR, Gerhard Lohmann, president of B3i, and a panel of business representatives who are members of the "early mover" program of B3i. *
Last year RVS, B3i presented a use case and invited 40 companies to test the use case, Lohmann said. "A year later, we founded a company [Zurich-based B3i Services] .The company has a product, the product will have customers and we will go to live with a real product, a real risk exchange, for 1/1 renewals."
Aiming to build "the most important trade in risks, based on blockchain technology in industry," Lohmann noted that B3i was also marketed as an investment opportunity for insurance and reinsurance companies, brokers, financial investors and corporate clients. and, consequently, B3i is about to announce a substantial round of financing.
"I should say that the support we have received from those five distinct … potential groups of investors has been enormous," he confirmed
Further funding is needed, explained Lohmann because B3i Services wants to offer blockchain technology for other business lines, over XOL cat, and the company will have operational risks, which need to be funded, Lohmann said.
"We are trying to get substantial capital from this company to develop, resist risk and acquire customers and business partners in an enlarged network," he commented.
While B3i has only a few months to prove that the platform will work, Kessler said he was confident of success. "This is a big step forward" and will be a significant result for the industry.
"[T] its challenge is not just to implement a new technology, but at the end of the day it is to make our business much more efficient and more accessible," Kessler added. "I always say that if we want to reduce the protection gap, we should certainly be able to produce services, contracts, coverage at a lower cost."
Blockchain will significantly reduce the administrative burden and all the documents that still afflict the insurance industry today, while providing insurers and reinsurers with a clearer line of sight in the underlying risk exposure, he indicated.
"I'm sorry, but we have no choice, if we do not, someone else will do it, I always prefer to be a trend setter and market maker than to be a follower of the market, left to follow what has been decided by others. "SCOR is one of the original members of B3i, which was launched in October 2016 to explore the skills of blockchain technologies to increase efficiency in the exchange of data between reinsurance companies and insurance companies
Kessler laughed when he said, "I like an American saying that says:" Make dust or eat dust. "To tell you the truth, I do not like eating dust."
Overview of prototype tests  Meeusen provided an overview of the tests on the prototypes that B3i began to conduct last year, what it revealed and what actions needed to be undertaken. Test feedback, in part, showed that the platform was necessary to allow coppers to create differences in terms of the various reinsurers partners and to provide reinsurance panels with leaders and followers.
In addition, due to regulatory requirements, the platform must demonstrate that it operates with reliable counterparts, undertakes the appropriate know-your-customer (KYC) processes and manages secure and secure transactions, explained Meeusen.
When B3i took the feedback on board and tried to upgrade the platform, he came across a problem – he hit a wall in December. "We had a strong reminder, an unpleasant Christmas present," he recalled. "But as often happens with innovation, you must learn, accept and fail quickly."
The only way to get around the wall was to change the platform that ran the blockchain of B3i – and, in June, B3i announced that it would change the technology
Meeusen described the remedy as the equivalent to open the hood and tear off the engine.
"Surprisingly we did not really have to give up much of the software – the essential stuff we delivered from the prototype," he said. "We still have a smart bargaining language in which we have invested a lot, together with our partner ACORD, which is compatible with ACORD standards."
The change in technology "now allows us to make these applications work in a network rather than just in isolation," he explained.
In addition, during the past year, B3i has begun recruiting specialists, including a chief product officer (Sylvain De Crom); a chief technology officer (Markus Tradt) and a chief marketing officer (Ken Marke). In addition, the growing team now has an owner of commercial insurance products (Antonio Di Marzo) and a North American representative (Susan Joseph), who will open an office in New York later this month.
An important part of B3i's growth is to create a membership program – to demystify technology and what it can provide. Meeusen said that this membership program will be launched this month and will provide members with information, educational activities and conferences.
* Official Journal will publish a separate article containing comments from the group of company representatives, who are members of the "early mover" program of B3i