| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Feb 6 A consortium aimed at developing
ways blockchain can be used to improve processes in the
insurance sector has added 10 new members as it prepares to test
the emerging technology in a data-sharing experiment.
New members joining the Blockchain Insurance Industry
Initiative (B3i) include Hannover Re, Assicurazioni
Generali SpA, Ageas NV, Liberty Mutual
and Japan Nipponkoa Insurance, the group said on
The consortium will test whether blockchain can improve the
way that data is shared between reinsurance and insurance
companies, a process that is still very cumbersome and manual,
B3i said. The pilot project will involve transacting reinsurance
contracts among the 15 member firms, the group added.
It expects to share the first results in June 2017.
B3i's efforts come as the financial industry ramps up
initiatives to use blockchain to simplify a wide range of
processes such as the settlement of securities and international
payments. While some have warned that the technology's potential
may be hyped, companies are hopeful that it can help them slash
Blockchain, which first emerged as the system underpinning
the cryptocurrency bitcoin, provides a shared record of
transactions that is maintained by a network of computers,
rather than a centralized authority. As changes to the shared
record must be validated by each computer connected to the
network, it creates a source of data that can reduce information
discrepancies and the need for reconciliation.
"The Blockchain initiative is particularly important in
insurance, where the secure and efficient exchange of
information can benefit from disruptive technology that could
eventually lead to game-changing applications," Steve Hales,
head of connected insurance at Generali, said in a statement.
Munich Re, the world's larger reinsurer, led the
consortium's creation alongside competitor Swiss Re,
the second-largest reinsurer, in October.
B3i is one of several collaborative initiatives by large
companies aimed at advancing the development of blockchain
technology. Earlier this month Cisco Systems Inc, Bosch
Ltd and several large firms set up a consortium to
work on using blockchain to secure and improve the "internet of
things," or the concept that everyday objects, from washing
machines to shipping containers, will be connected to the
internet and will be able to share data.
More than 70 banks work with R3 CEV, a startup that runs a
consortium to develop blockchain technology for finance, while
technology firms such as IBM Corp and Hitachi Ltd
are part of a consortium led by the Linux Foundation.
(Reporting by Anna Irrera; Editing by Dan Grebler)