Allianz Reveals New Self-Insurance Blockchain Prototype

Insurance giant Allianz has become the latest in the sector to unveil a blockchain prototype — in this case, to provide a platform focused on so-called “captive” or self-insurance policies.

The prototype, which was announced by the company Tuesday, is designed to reduce the complexities associated with self-insurance, an important function in the wider insurance sector.

Under captive or self-insurance policies, Allianz insures its own and its subsidiaries’ liabilities, rather than insuring any third party as with writing traditional policy cover. But the process is encased in legal technicalities and complexities, which the company hopes will be streamlined by the introduction of its new prototype platform.

The prototype has been developed on the Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 platform, the first software release from the Hyperledger blockchain consortium. In conjunction with Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions, who handled the payments side, the prototype has already been heralded a success for the insurer.

Hartmut Mai, a senior board member at Allianz, said that the company was committed to exploring new opportunities through the blockchain, as the technology becomes ever more established.

“We are currently seeing many blockchain applications in the financial services industry and we are eager to explore the potential of this exciting technology in the corporate insurance segment.”

Allianz has been developing the blockchain for several years, since it first publicly disclosed its efforts back in 2015. Today’s prototype is the most concrete indication yet that Allianz intends to utilize blockchain technologies within its business, and will be seen as a vote of confidence in the capacity of the distributed ledger.

Other Allianz blockchain projects include working with a blockchain startup through its business accelerator program, as well as examining how the technology could be used in specific areas of insurance, such as trading in catastrophic bonds.

Insurance and financial services more widely are already experiencing fundamental shifts in process thanks to blockchain technology.

With the features of the distributed ledger providing scope for efficiency gains, cost savings and operational improvements in the insurance sector specifically, it looks to be only a matter of time before other insurers follow suit.