Consultancy EY, data security firm Guardtime, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and ship operator Maersk have joined to build a blockchain-based marine insurance platform that will be the first real-world use of the nascent technology in the shipping industry, The Times reports.
The blockchain platform – built on Microsoft Azure global cloud technology after a 20-week proof of concept – connects clients, brokers, insurers and third parties to distributed common ledgers that capture data about identities, risk and exposures, and integrates this information with insurance contracts.
A.P. Møller-Maersk’s head of risk and insurance Lars Henneberg said: “It is a priority for us to leverage technology to streamline and automate our interaction with the insurance market. Insurance transactions are currently far too tedious and frictional. The distance between risk and capital is simply too far. Blockchain technology has the potential to facilitate the desired development that is long overdue.”
Blockchain works as a tamper-proof database that is shared and updated across a network in real time. It can automatically process and settle transactions via so-called "smart contracts" using computer algorithms, with no need for third-party verification.
The platform’s capabilities include the ability to create and maintain asset data from multiple parties, to link data to policy contracts, to receive and act upon information that results in a pricing or a business process change, to connect client assets, transactions and payments; and to capture and validate up-to-date first notification or loss data.