EY and Towers Watson launch world's first marine insurance blockchain platform

05 June 2018 Consulting.us 3 min. read

Consulting firms EY and Towers Watson partnered with Microsoft and maritime industry players to pioneer a marine insurance blockchain solution. Insurwave establishes a digital insurance value chain that links participants in a secure network and will help maritime organizations manage risk.

The consortium behind the launch of the world’s first marine insurance blockchain platform comprise some of the biggest names in consulting, technology, maritime logistics and supply chain services. Consulting firms EY and Towers Watson joined forces with maritime icon Maersk and tech giant Microsoft to launch Insurwave. Other key players include Amsterdam-based software firm Guardtime, and insurance firms XL Catlin, MS Amlin, and ACORD.

Blockchain is a decentralized software mechanism that permits a master ledger of data and transactions to be accessed securely by multiple stakeholders. It is already radically reshaping the Freight and Logistics sector by eliminating the need for physical shipping documents. Clients who have adopted blockchain shipping solutions are enthusiastic about how they remove risk, error, and time-consuming human processes from the supply chain, allowing them to focus on their core business.

The Insurwave technology is capable of application across all types of insurance and will shortly be expanded to cover the cargo, logistics, aviation and energy sectors. In the first year the blockchain-based solution will focus exclusively on marine insurance and support more than 500,000 automated ledger transactions. Within 12 months up to 1,000 commercial vessels will have used Insurwave to manage their insurance risk.

The platform itself has been built through a joint venture by EY and Guardtime. The ledger technology was developed by Microsoft Azure and complies with ACORD data standards. Towers Watson’s specialist risk and broking knowledge helped drive Insurwave’s functional goals, while Maersk volunteered as a pilot client to test the new solution on its vast maritime portfolio.

EY and Towers Watson launch world’s first marine insurance blockchain platform

Maersk and future Insurwave users will be connected in a secure, private network that provides them with an accurate and unchangeable audit trail. This new digital insurance value chain is the first of its kind and will catalyze the ongoing automation of manual processes.

Insurwave makes real-time decision-making possible by ensuring that data is error free as it moves from risk to capital. The technology develops and leverages smart contracts for process fulfilment, while losses can be immediately accessed through the blockchain’s central dataset. Innovation is encouraged, costs reduced, and auditability streamlined to make it a win-win situation for all participants.

“Marine insurance takes up considerable resources for us. Moving it to this platform is helping us alleviate a range of inefficiencies and frictional costs in the way we have used to trade marine insurance," said Lars Henneberg, Head of Risk and Insurance at Maersk.

In response to the launch of Insurwave, Shaun Crawford, EY Global Insurance Leader, said: “It is a proud moment for a number of heavyweight industry participants to be live with a genuine end-to-end blockchain platform in the specialty insurance market. To move from proof of concept just a year ago to a fully functioning platform that is delivering immediate value to clients feels exceptional.”

Crawford’s enthusiasm was echoed by Alastair Swift, CEO, Willis Towers Watson GB: “We are delighted to be at the forefront of blockchain technology which has the potential to revolutionize the insurance industry. This is the first insurance transaction that has been undertaken through blockchain. We strongly believe this is an industry dynamic and that all carriers and brokers should engage in blockchain to drive improved transactional efficiency and innovation for our clients.”