Maersk and global partners Consultancy EY, data security firm
Guardtime and Microsoft have announced the launch of a new blockchain-based
marine insurance platform. It will be the first use of the nascent technology
in the shipping industry.
platform 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.
to Shaun Crawford, global insurance leader for EY, the 400-year-old
marine insurance sector was one of the most inefficient areas of the insurance
industry. The sector has around US$30 billion in premiums paid each year.
Blockchain is considered a tamper-resistant protocol that is shared and updated
in real time. Using “smart contracts”, it is able to automatically process and
complete transactions without the need for third-party verification.
Mike Gault, chief executive of Guardtime, said blockchain was
“absolutely essential” in making allowing all parties – including shipping
firms, insurers, brokers, and other suppliers – to have access to the same
database, which can be integrated into insurance contracts.
In a statement, Lars Henneberg, Maersk’s head of risk and insurance, praised
the development. “Insurance transactions are currently far too tedious and
frictional,” he said. “Blockchain technology has the potential to facilitate
the desired development that is long overdue.”
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.
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.
partners in the marine insurance blockchain project include ACORD, MS Amlin,
Willis Towers Watson and XL Catlin.