Welcome to another episode in ours News Flash series, where we share the latest developments in the blockchain space, straight off the press. Today we are joined again by Ranvir Saggu, who previously featured in Ep.8 – Building a Blockchain PoC/Pilot, and we welcome Bradley Brandon-Cross to Insureblocks for the first time.
Ranvir is CEO at Blocksure – a blockchain business specifically focussing on implementing blockchain in the insurance space, and is currently focussing on Blocksure OS, which is a platform set to revolutionise the insurance industry. He is a seasoned insurance executive with over 25 years in-depth experience across various composite insurers, with hands-on experience in delivering large transformational programmes at the highest level.
Bradley is Managing Director at Commercial & General– a small independent insurance broker which focuses on both commercial and consumer insurance lines. Bradley also has a wealth of experience in insurance, leading GE Capital’s primary insurance business in Europe and responsible for innovative products such as the first Shariah compliant insurance product authorised by the FSA.
Ranvir and his team at Blocksure have been developing Blocksure OS for 4 years, with 2 years in concept and 2 years spent on PoC and validation. Throughout the final year they were looking for pioneering brokers to partner with in designing an innovative concept product on their new platform. Bradley and his team at Commercial & General were instantly excited by the technology and the prospect of reducing costs and improving customer flow and beginning product development on their Blocksure OS platform.
Together with Covéa Insurance, Blocksure and Commercial & General are releasing Insure Now. Insure Now is a tenant’s policy targeted at millennials, where blockchain facilitates policy administration and premium collection with the entire insurance methodology built around the technology. It is the first insurance product in Europe which utilises blockchain and the first product to be built on the Blocksure OS platform, which uses a microservice architecture with R3’s corda platform at its core. The product is smartphone based, with an app controlling the interactions of the customer, catering for their every need through a simple user interface on their phone, a revolution in the paperwork heavy insurance world.
The blockchain engine allows secure and validated contracts in each part of the database which can be viewed in real-time by all parties, behind a web-enabled front end. Previous platforms utilised for tenant’s insurance have been plagued by issues with database integrity and data transferral between brokers and insurers, and third-party administrators. However, blockchain should alleviate some of the back-office costs by removing these issues and a huge amount of the administrative mess, ensuring that companies can focus on the customer experience. Real-time updates and automated functionality allow changes to policies to be administered with minimal fuss and within seconds, reducing cost and time and providing obvious benefits to the customer.
What challenges have been faced in blockchain adoption?
At Commercial & General, one of the main hurdles to overcome was understanding blockchain and how it would work in practice. Ranvir and his team at Blocksure were excellent at explaining the basics of the concept and helped the team overcome these initial challenges. However, there are always some who do not fully understand the benefits, and it is important that these people recognize the innovative and experimental nature of the product and look at all the positive feedback garnered from users and testers.
Challenges have been further minimised by Ranvir’s team building the platform from an insurance-first perspective, enabling them to explain the benefits of the platform in ‘insurance-speak’. Not only does this allow insurance brokers to better comprehend the technology and reduce the associated challenges with that, but it also helps attract other insurers to Blocksure OS and inspire executives to use Blockchain in the future.
The journey to the product
Production started with Blocksure creating a PoC, demonstrating how the blockchain platform could deliver an insurance product and the benefits associated with this. Next, it was essential to find like-minded executives who were looked for innovative ways to disrupt the market. Bradley, and his team at Commercial and General, were perfectly suited, as they immediately saw the benefits and changes which could be made to the customer experience.
After a programme of stringent testing, the product was made live, as of Monday. However, promotional efforts have been minimal, as whilst both Ranvir and Bradley are confident in the functionality of the product, they maintain that they should not ‘run before they can walk’ and avoid overloading the product in its first weeks.
Future uses of Blocksure OS
If successful, Bradley openly discusses expanding Blocksure OS to other Commercial & General products, with the potential of a new brand for blockchain based business and the possibility of end-to-end claims processing. Increasing the ease of service and reducing paper records are beneficial to customer experience, as is reducing the administration fee for an MTA. Most companies charge between £15 and £25 for these, but Bradley claims that this could be reduced to £1 – reflecting a potential reduction in backroom time and expenditure for the insurer of up to 90%.
Reducing administration costs also has benefits for those at the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum as it allows insurers to offer products which are currently uneconomic to underwrite. The benefits are huge for the gig-economy, with other products offering Airbnb and Deliveroo-type covers in the pipeline, allowing these emerging sectors to be covered where it previously was uneconomic to do so. (For more info stay tuned for upcoming episode on Blockchain in emerging markets).
Real-time updates can help rebuild trust between insurers and insured parties, previously damaged by fear of fraud or non-payment of claims. Blockchain facilitates more expansive data capture in real-time, allowing users to take smartphone photos immediately if an item is lost or damaged, providing a first notification of loss and allowing the relationship between insurer and insured to begin to improve.
From the Blocksure perspective, they have a small number of products they are aiming to deliver within the year, and by keeping that number they are looking to build confidence in the technology rather than rushing to meet deadlines. However, Blocksure are currently in numerous conversations with companies, outlining where Blocksure OS can increase value propositions, enabling them to broaden their product suites and surpass limits imposed by their current legacy platforms.
Bradley’s views on the future of his organisation reflect this, with discussions with Ranvir and his team on eventually implementing Blocksure OS platform within all their consumer products, and looking into more complex personalised products, commercial products and healthcare products also. For commercial lines, Commercial & General act as more of a traditional broker and are integrated into traditional systems, potentially proving a more challenging journey for blockchain integration. However, blockchain allows insurers to move away from traditional insurance design and move into the future, providing more product flexibility for customers.
Between Blocksure, Commercial & General and Covéa Insurance, they have created Insure Now – a first-in-class product with the potential to demonstrate the practical applications of blockchain to the rest of the sector.
We hope you have enjoyed this news flash, if you liked this episode please do review it on iTunes. Your comments and suggestions are always appreciated so please don’t hesitate to add a comment below.
If your organisation has any news you’d like to share regarding blockchain, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll help you spread the word. If you’d like to ask Ranvir or Bradley a question, you can add a comment below and we’ll try to get them over to our site to answer your questions.