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The insurance sector is changing rapidly. The Basel based insurance company Baloise is at the forefront of this development. As one of the top Swiss insurance companies, Baloise is evolving into an innovative provider of solutions that go beyond traditional insurance. In this setting, Blockchain plays an important part. Claudio Limacher, Sales Manager at Baloise in Switzerland, depicts how the technology might influence the way we do business in the future.
“Perhaps the main feature of blockchain technology is its transparency, indelibility and incorruptible digital ledger. Taking a step back, where do these characteristics come from? A blockchain is a novel technology that makes it possible to store, process, share, and manage any type of information in a publicly accessible database. In other words, it is a platform where any transaction is visible, traceable, invertible and encrypted in a digital ledger. This might be useful especially for the finance sector – or to take another illustrative example – warehousing.
Let's consider a real case scenario:
By having enough information in the blockchain, it would be relatively easy to calculate and pay taxes in the future. For example, one could automatically record the information about wages, expenses etc. and the system would then automatically deliver the amount of tax due. This would prevent human error and massively reduce administrative costs.
Another example, this time in the insurance sector, might be the application of the Blockchain technology to smart contracts. Smart contract technology is fed by blockchain data, with such data subsequently translated into actions and reactions, meaning that the contract triggers a desired reaction, such as a payment, when certain conditions are met. Imagine you have a travel insurance policy and want to fly to your holiday destination but the flight arrives three hours late so that you incur additional costs. The smart contract is set up to know how much you are supposed to receive for a given number of minutes’ delay and to automatically pay you a specific amount of money directly to your bank account. This means you neither have to fill out any forms to make the claim nor do you need to submit any evidence.
The other advantages are that the simple settlement of claims and transparent terms of insurance are set to increase customer loyalty. The insurer has the further advantage that its own employees do not have to check each form personally, which also serves to cut costs. Perhaps the most important advantage is the fact that the data speak clearly and do not leave any room for false interpretation of the situation or contract.
Blockchain indeed offers many options to change the way we conduct business. Baloise is experimenting with different approaches for the use of blockchain and actively monitoring the development of the technology. Baloise actively encourages blockchain research for the insurance sector, as currently illustrated with the experiment for the development of a pension dashboard. For further information, please visit www.baloise.ch
Text by Claudio Limacher, Sales Manager Baloise