ANZ and IBM Building Blockchain Solution for Insurance Industry

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) has announced a blockchain solution aimed to improve efficiency in the insurance industry.

Working with tech giant IBM and financial services firm Suncorp New Zealand, ANZ is building a blockchain-based platform that will ease the transfer of data and premium payments between brokers and insurers, ultimately making processes faster and more transparent, a press release published Monday states.

According to  Paul Goodwin, ANZ’s managing director institutional for New Zealand:

“This technology will work with existing industry solutions to capture relevant information; ensuring payments can be forecast and made without the need for reconciliation.”

Reconciling policy information and payments between broker and insurer is a “slow and painful process,” that can be addressed by the “efficient, single source of truth” blockchain solution, Goodwin added.

The planned solution stems from a proof-of-concept (PoC) that demonstrated blockchain’s potential in solving inefficiencies in the reconciliation of “bordereau” statements – lists of premiums payable prepared by a broker for an insurer, an ANZ white paper notes.

The PoC was built with Fabric, a blockchain-based platform developed by the Linux Foundation-backed Hyperledger consortium.

“We’re always looking at ways to generate operational efficiencies and the proof-of-concept was an exciting way to test whether a technology solution can speed up the reconciliation process for insurance premium payments, while at the same time improving the customer experience for policyholders and our business partners,” Tim Buckett, chief financial officer at Suncorp New Zealand stated.

“With this [blockchain solution], a future ecosystem with multiple insurers and multiple brokers is a viable outcome,” the white paper says, envisioning that that platform would improve the proposition for the insured parties in the future.

ANZ has been involving in number of blockchain projects, including the completion of a trial effort in June 2017, aimed at digitizing the bank guarantee process for commercial property leasing. The trial saw participation from IBM, Westpac and shopping center operator Scentre Group.

The banking group also took part in completing a blockchain prototype, in 2016, along with Wells Fargo and Swift, that allows two banks to reconcile payments sent via Swift using a distributed ledger.

ANZ image via Shutterstock

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