Marsh: We're at the start of 'a massive blockchain revolution'

Marsh: We're at the start of 'a massive blockchain revolution' | Insurance Business

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Insurance broking and risk management giant Marsh recently announced it is developing the first blockchain-based verification solution for clients in the rapidly evolving sharing and gig economies. In partnership with data security platform Evident, the new blockchain solution will streamline the onboarding of gig economy workers by simplifying the insurance and identity verification process with added trust, safety, and risk management.

This new collaboration with Evident marks an expansion of Marsh’s blockchain capabilities, beyond its commercial blockchain for proof insurance solution, which the broking giant introduced alongside insurance standards leader ACORD, in April this year. The new gig economy solution, when connected with Evident’s Identity Assurance Platform, will digitize certificates of insurance into immutable records so that all permissioned parties can instantly verify information.

“The beauty of blockchain technology is its ability to provide trust, efficiency, and security across ecosystems,” said Sastry Durvasula, chief digital, data and analytics officer at Marsh. “As the need for insurance and identity verification grows, our collaboration with Evident harnesses the power of blockchain to transform a major business challenge for the sharing and gig economies.

“With blockchain, the key advantage is that we’re able to put a digital proof of insurance on the blockchain itself, so that gig workers can request proof of insurance via the digital interface or a verification agency can request the proof on behalf of the worker. The proof of insurance is secure and committed in a digital form on the blockchain, so it takes away days (if not weeks) of effort that normally goes into manual verification.”

Blockchain technology is still very much in its infancy when it comes to insurance use-cases. It’s still quite alien to many people in the insurance industry, which is why Durvasula is particularly excited about Marsh working closely with ACORD. Once ACORD accepts a standard of digital proof of insurance on the blockchain, that will drive more industry-wide uptake and innovation, he said.

In general, blockchain presents “humongous opportunity” for insurance brokers and risk advisors, according to Durvasula. This is no time to sit back and watch the blockchain revolution unfold. Blockchain technology, when properly scaled, will be the internet of business and will likely impact every industry sector, he added.

“Every single industry will have this opportunity to embrace the blockchain, whether its retail, manufacturing, construction, healthcare, logistics, marine – you name it! As these industries go through their own changes, there will be a need for risk management and insurance – and I see that as a huge opportunity for brokers,” Durvasula told Insurance Business. “If there’s a successful, scalable blockchain solution for any industry, I foresee a node within that blockchain that provides risk management and insurance-type services. There are opportunities for brokers to be that node and become the go-to choice blockchain-related risk transfer.”

As highlighted by blockchain front-runner Marsh, there are also opportunities to use blockchain technology to relieve friction points within the insurance industry itself, especially in the realm of ledger technology and smart contracts. Blockchain technology could also enable global distribution and scaling opportunities, opening doors for multi-national books of business.

“We’re very much in the beginning stages of a massive blockchain revolution,” Durvasula added.