Insurance blockchain consortium RiskBlock sets up tech framework


The Institutes’ RiskBlock Alliance, an insurance-focused blockchain consortium, has made two key technology-partnership selections that will help its carrier and broker members leverage the emerging technology.

Corda technology from R3 will provide the distributed-ledger technology, while Accenture has joined with the companies to create integration and control layers that will allow carriers to use blockchain services with their existing core systems. RiskBlock has 30 industry members including Nationwide, Farmers and USAA. The combined offering will be called Canopy.

“Corda gives the ability to not fully distribute data — you don’t always want your private information to be available to your competitors,” says Jamie Solomon, managing director for Accenture. “There’s only a couple platforms in the industry that do that.”

Now that the technology framework is in place, RiskBlock is planning to work on four pilot projects in the near term, says Pat Schmid, VP of the alliance. These include:

  • a “first notice of loss” data-sharing process, produced by Accenture
  • a “proof of insurance” application that enables motor vehicle drivers and law enforcement to confirm insurance coverage accuracy in real time, built off of a small pilot completed with Nationwide in late 2017
  • a subrogation tool that uses smart-contract technology to facilitate the netting of consortium members’ payments
  • a parametric insurance application that uses weather data and smart contracts to automate claims

The first two of these should be ready by the Labor Day 2018, he says: “Everything we’re building we’d like to bring to production. Getting to the framework provider and platform was important — we anticipate that we will build our initial applications on this platform. But there are a lot of use cases, and eventually there will be other [distributed-ledger and blockchain technology] folks involved from an ecosystem perspective.”

Accenture’s goal is to build layers that will allow the consortium to be agnostic and incorporate different blockchains and ledgers for different needs, Solomon says. “Think of [distributed-ledger technologies] as databases — they’re just different technologies but have the same capabilities,” he explains.

Parametric insurance, for example, means incoporating “things like weather, quake, and windspeed data, and vetting it and providing it for consortium members to create their own parametric products,” Schmid explains. And insurers are excited for the potential, he adds.

“We had our first governance standing up of our advisory board. 18 reps there from different companies. during that discussion they said what they really want to do is test out the tech,” he says.