The insurance sector has been betting big on the use of blockchain technology in order to streamline its services and payments solutions. Recently, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) has announced a partnership with tech giant IBM and financial services firm Suncorp New Zealand for developing a blockchain solution aimed at improving the efficiency of the insurance industry.
The latest press release notes that ANZ is working on a blockchain-based platform in order to ease up the process of transfer of data and processing premium payments between insurers and brokers. It is also focused on making this process faster and more transparent.
ANZ’s managing director-institutional for New Zealand, Paul Goodwin said:
“This technology will work with existing industry solutions to capture relevant information; ensuring payments can be forecast and made without the need for reconciliation.”
Goodwin said that the blockchain technology can be really helpful in establishing an “efficient, single source of truth” and thus solve the problem of reconciling of policy information and payments between the insurer and the broker, which is currently a very slow and tedious process.
“The blockchain solution will be much more efficient for the industry as well as being very secure. As a ‘single source of truth’, it will provide greater visibility throughout the process, remove uncertainty and help make response times faster,” says Goodwin.
The ANZ whitepaper reads that the solution is derived from the proof-of-concept (PoC) which highlights the potential of the blockchain technology in solving the anomalies reconciliation of “bordereau” statements which is nothing but a list of premium payable prepared by the broker for an insurer.
Tim Buckett, chief financial officer at Suncorp New Zealand said:
“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.”
He further added:
“With this [blockchain solution], a future ecosystem with multiple insurers and multiple brokers is a viable outcome.”
Mike Smith, Managing Director, IBM New Zealand said:
“Distributed ledger technologies are driving major efficiencies across many industries by enabling previously complex, manual processes to operate in real time with full transparency.”
He also added:
“IBM used design-led thinking principles and practices to reinvent the business processes behind intermediated insurance at ANZ. The result is an interoperable network that could not only decrease policy costs and improve customer service but also build a foundation for the introduction of other transformative technologies, such as artificial intelligence.”
ANZ has been working on a number of blockchain-based projects recently. Last year in June 2017, it completed the trial process for digitizing the bank guarantee process for leasing the commercial properties. ANZ achieved successful results while working in coordination with Westpac, IBM and shopping center operator Scentre Group.
Back in 2016, ANZ has also worked with Wells Fargo and Swift for developing a blockchain prototype which allows reconciling payments sent through Swift using the Distributed Ledger Technology.