How early insurance blockchain adopters are driving practical value

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As we roll into 2019, with renewed optimism and expectations, I like to reflect and look back at the year that was for blockchain in the insurance industry. Most reported efforts in the last two years were driven by industry innovators looking to learn about how to work with the technology. I worked with a number of clients to build blockchain applications that proved out concepts and generated interesting new ideas. Along the way, I encountered many discussions—religious or otherwise—about platform merits and de-merits, whether blockchain is a Swiss army knife, etc. There have also been no shortage of press releases and seminars by various providers and nascent networks that are attempting to build momentum.

But, as with any emerging technology, it is proof of business value that always wins out—the best technology or the best application is one that actually delivers the best business value to which customers gravitate; it is not necessarily the “best” or “superior” technology (most often a puritan’s vision) that customers gravitate to. A key lesson I learned along the way is that building business networks that endure is hard—it means getting parties that more often than not have healthy competitive tension to work together to drive mutual value to their customers.

Back in 2017, I was a panelist at Insuretech Connect, when I was asked to look at the crystal ball and predict the adoption of blockchain. One of my co-panelists said that we would see massive change within this industry in a year. I disagreed—and said that we would be on an evolutionary path to business value based adoption in three to five years. Early indications are that this is seemingly the path that the industry is on. If you are an established insurer, innovating to disrupt your own business is hard— and it takes time to create meaningful applications. But, there is clear recognition in the industry of the nature of blockchain’s disruptive potential and a thirst to understand how early insurance adopters are driving practical value from implementations. Clearly, insurers are THINKING about blockchain.

Building sustainable business networks is about delivering business value to the network participants, while aligning people and processes around the network vision—it’s not about the technology. IBM Think 2019 has sessions that address the kinds of initiatives that help insurers to get ahead of the game. If you are planning to attend, I recommend some sessions you ought to add to your agenda:

Blockchain session at Think 2019

  • IBM Blockchain based peer-to-peer insurance platform “Shary” for Siemens Financial Services – session 3763
  • AAIS: Insurance Industry Reporting: Blockchain to the Rescue – session 1461
  • The Role of Insurance in Blockchain Networks (Insurance panel with State Farm, AAIS and Marsh) – session 1794
  • Salesforce and Marsh: Blockchain-Enabled Transformation for Insurance –session 7209
  • Digitizing the Flow of Goods, Information and Money with Blockchain –session 7504B


Let Think 2019 help you achieve real business value from this exciting technology.

On Wednesday, February 13 from 8:30-10:00 AM, don’t miss the IBM Financial Services Networking Breakfast at Think where you can hear from Tom Eck, CTO and VP of IBM Cloud and Financial Services, and Sandip Patel, General Managing Director of IBM Insurance, and join banking and insurance industry experts and like-minded peers in discussions of the key imperatives and new technologies driving the industry. Please pre-register as there is limited space available.



–>Browse more Think 2019 insurance blogs and sessions by topic

–>Explore IBM Blockchain for Insurance solutions

–>Watch the Think Concierge videos to learn how to make the most out of Think 2019.

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Executive Architect, Financial Services Sector

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