119 episodes

Insureblocks is a dedicated weekly podcast on blockchain, smart contracts and distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the insurance industry. Hosted by Walid Al Saqqaf, this podcast will invite expert speakers from incumbents to the most promising start-ups in London, New York, Zurich and around the world. Insureblocks is the best way to not only understand the basics of blockchain but to also hear about proof of concepts, what insurance companies have done, their learnings and the end results. Whether you are new to or an expert on blockchain and would like to understand the impact it will have on the insurance industry, this is the podcast you'll want to tune into.

Insureblocks Walid Al Saqqaf - Blockchain insurance

    • Business
    • 4.8, 22 Ratings

Insureblocks is a dedicated weekly podcast on blockchain, smart contracts and distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the insurance industry. Hosted by Walid Al Saqqaf, this podcast will invite expert speakers from incumbents to the most promising start-ups in London, New York, Zurich and around the world. Insureblocks is the best way to not only understand the basics of blockchain but to also hear about proof of concepts, what insurance companies have done, their learnings and the end results. Whether you are new to or an expert on blockchain and would like to understand the impact it will have on the insurance industry, this is the podcast you'll want to tune into.

    Ep.19 – Insurwave: the insurer’s perspective with MS Amlin and XL Catlin

    Ep.19 – Insurwave: the insurer’s perspective with MS Amlin and XL Catlin

    Insurwave, the new marine insurance blockchain platform launched by EY, Guardtime, Microsoft, Willis Tower Watson, XL Catlin, MS Amlin and ACORD and piloted by Maersk has been a recurring theme here at Insureblocks.

    In a previous episode, Insurwave - a Maersk pilot for marine blockchain insurance, we examined the client’s perspective. In a more recent episode, Insurwave: the complete story with EY, we discussed the process of creating Insurwave. To complete the circle, today we will look at Insurwave from an insurer’s perspective.

    For today’s episode we were lucky enough to have two speakers, Madeline Bailey, Head of Strategic Initiatives at MS Amlin, and Hélène Stanway, Digital Leader at XL Catlin.

    Blockchain in two minutes

    Blockchain is a distributed ledger that allows users to share data in real time in a secure and immutable way. This data can be related to assets, for example the location of a vessel, or it can be a smart contract, a piece of code set to execute when a set of specified parameters is fulfilled.

    Blockchain has the potential to create trust between parties in the insurance industry and improve risk intelligence, lowering costs and benefiting parties across the insurance value chain.


    Why Insurwave?

    In the past four years the marine insurance industry has experienced declining performance and increasing combined operating ratios. It has become necessary, therefore, to take a strategic look at the industry and consider how new technologies can improve efficiency. In building Insurwave, both MS Amlin and XL Catlin were willing to take a leadership position in the insurance industry and commit to a vision of how the industry is going to develop.

    In an industry not known for embracing change, developing Insurwave came with challenges. Working alongside competitors and completely re-inventing the underwriting process is not something insurance companies have done before. However, every participant was keen to grasp an opportunity to cooperate with representatives across the value chain and consider what each needs out of an insurance transaction to re-imagine the underwriting process.

    The low margins plaguing the insurance industry posed an additional challenge. Unlike usual, well defined projects, it is harder to quantify the costs and benefits of investing in innovation. For that reason it was important to have a clear set of goals with Insurwave. One of the main factors Insurwave has been successful is its focus on providing hull and war cover for its pilot with Maersk.


    Insurwave’s effect

    Insurwave allows parties to seamlessly share data between them. By combining blockchain with IoT data, parties have access to real time information. At the moment Insurwave provides over thirty data points per vessel. The aim is to get to fifty. Insurers get more data, get data of different types and get it in real time.

    Up until now, insurers traditionally looked backwards to quantify risk. This means the insurance industry has yet to come up with a definitive answer on how to use all this new data but Insurwave opens up a range of new possibilities.

    • 31 min
    Ep. 110 – The European Commission’s approach to blockchain

    Ep. 110 – The European Commission’s approach to blockchain

    Peteris Zilgalvis is the Head of Unit, Digital Innovation and Blockchain, Digital Single Market Directorate at the European Commission. In this podcast he walks us through the European Commission’s approach to blockchain by listing out a number of the key bodies and initiatives that are furthering the development of blockchain across the EU.

    Peteris is a lawyer by background having a JD degree from the University of Southern California. Since Latvia, Peteris’ home country, joined the European Union in 2005, he has been the Head of Unit at the European Commission working on blockchain and digital innovation.

    Peteris has a strong passion for blockchain since 2012. He is the original co-chair of the Fintech Task Force. From both the financial services side and the digital single market, Peteris has been working in legislation, policy, funding infrastructure, research as well as working with stakeholders and international cooperation.


    What is blockchain?

    From a technical standpoint blockchain is ledger composed of a growing list of records of blocks that are cryptographically linked and managed by a peer to peer network whilst adhering to a protocol for communication between the nodes to validate new blocks.

    Essentially it’s a way for validating transactions of data in an immutable and permanent way to ensure that the transaction:

    * Hasn’t been tampered with

    * Avoid double spending

    * Can transfer value

    From an EU perspective the EU sees blockchain as a set of distributed ledger technologies which also include Hashgraphand Tangle for example.

    Peteris also makes the very permanent remark that decentralisation isn’t black and white. It is a gradient between something that is fully centralised to something that is nearly fully decentralised. This is what makes it so exciting, for Peteris, as it allows for a diverse group of actors to work together whilst preserving their autonomy.


    EU Institutions furthering blockchain

    Digital Innovation and Blockchain Unit

    Peteri’s unit is the policy leader on blockchain as a technology. His unit isn’t composed of programmers but instead of engineers, economists and lawyers looking at digital policy.

    Within the unit they have the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum whose mission is to promote blockchain in Europe by mapping existing blockchain initiatives, analysing and reporting on important blockchain themes, promoting blockchain education and knowledge sharing and holding events to promote debate and discussion.

    The European Blockchain Partnership is composed of 29 countries, 27 EU member states along with Norway and Liechtenstein, who are building a European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI). The European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) is a joint initiative from the European Commission and the European Blockchain Partnership to deliver EU-wide cross-border public services using blockch...

    • 51 min
    Ep. 109 – World Economic Forum Blockchain Development Toolkit

    Ep. 109 – World Economic Forum Blockchain Development Toolkit

    Nadia Hewett is the project lead at the World Economic Forum (WEF), in blockchain and digital currency. In this exciting podcast she takes us through her very comprehensive report entitled the “World Economic Forum’s Blockchain Development Toolkit – Supply Chain Focus” that was recently published on the 28th of April 2020.

    WEF is the international organization for public and private sector cooperation with a mission to improve the state of the world. It is well known for its Davos event in Switzerland that happens every January.

    Nadia is based in the San Francisco at the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution where her colleagues and her work on the foundational technologies that will change the world from blockchain, artificial intelligence and internet of things to address governance gaps in those technologies.

    What is blockchain?

    To answer this question, Nadia takes a supply chain focus. A typical supply chain normally involves thousands of business transactions on a daily basis across a large number of parties. For example, a product moving from raw material, suppliers, manufacturers, factories, through to retailers, importers, and then to the end customer.

    As a product travels from its origin point to its final destination in the supply chain many organisations will have been involved with each of them having their version of the truth about that product’s journey with regards to its location on that journey and all relevant and necessary information. That version of the truth about a product’s journey will be recorded in a ledger. The problem occurs when those multiple ledgers, or those versions of the truth, don’t necessarily align across the supply chain.

    A supply chain will typically have 30 or more hand over points. These points have numerous blind spots that often leads to errors, fraud, and delays. Manual updates to a ledger will also often lead to errors.

    Blockchain, is a type of distributed ledger technology that can reduce these complex bilateral communications and information links by providing a single shared ledger across all the parties. What this means is that “what I see” is “what you see”.

    Blockchain also has a set of unique characteristics:

    * Immutable / tamper evident – increased trust and transparency in the data

    * Transactions in a blockchain are typically confirmed by all participants through a consensus mechanism

    * Security and increased resiliency from having a multi-node architecture instead of a centralised server


    The World Economic Forum Blockchain Development Toolkit

    The World Economic Forum accelerated the release of the toolkit after witnessing the need to improve both the pandemic and endemic responsiveness and readiness. But also, to address the weaknesses exposed in supply chains. The toolkit is freely available online for organisations to use when embarking on a journey to improve their supply chain systems.

    The toolkit is a gold standard in blockchain deployment. When an organisation has identified a use case applicable for blockchain there are a number of tasks they have to tackle such as bringing their ecosystem together, address compliance, optimization and interoperability issues. The toolkit provides the A to Z of both technical and non-technical factors for success for blockchain deployment.

    More than 200 organisations have participated in co-creating the toolkit by sharing the...

    • 53 min
    Ep.108 – End to end solutions against COVID-19 – insights from Blok BioScience

    Ep.108 – End to end solutions against COVID-19 – insights from Blok BioScience

    Areiel Wolanow is the CTO of Blok BioScience and Managing Director of Finserv Experts. In this podcast we get to learn about the exciting work Areiel and his team are doing in developing end to end solutions against COVID-19. You’ll hear insights about how they developed a self-sovereign “immunity passport”, population testing protocols, supply chain capabilities, and a sophisticated analytical and insights dashboard for governments and enterprises to better appreciate and combat this pandemic. You’ll also hear about the conundrum on how to work with contact and trace applications in a manner that protects the principles of self-sovereignty.


    What is blockchain?

    Blockchain is a technology that allows multiple companies or people to share a single version of the truth without having to spend any time, effort or money on reconciliation, messaging and synchronization to name a few. The benefit from sharing allows the opportunity for completely new business models and new ways of solving problems to arise.

    Areiel, previously featured on Insureblocks to talk to us about “Unlocking investment in blockchain projects”. What has changed in his view regarding blockchain is a very welcome maturation of thought. It is a toolkit for solving problems and for accomplishing what previously what would have taken large numbers of people, or expensive software solutions can now be taken for granted.


    What is Blok BioScience?

    Blok BioScience is a team of thought leaders in the medical, technology and supply chain industry who’ve grouped together to develop rapid solutions that deliver the best possible medical diagnostic and supply chain capability to fight the unprecedented impact COVID-19 is having on the world. Areiel’s Finserv Experts have entered into a business partnership with Blok to provide technology delivery capability.


    Addressing the COVID-19 Ecosystem

    The scientific community does not use words like immunity or protection lightly or without a great deal of consideration. When somebody says this vaccine confers immunity to this disease, they are encapsulating and summarizing, in most cases years of scientific study before they're willing to make that claim. When the WHO (World Health Organisation) recently came out and said we're not sure that the IgG (Immunoglobulin G) antibody is a marker of immunity, all that they’re saying is that they have not subjected that claim to a level of scientific rigor that would allow them to say yes, the IgG antibody confers immunity.

    As the world’s economy has come to a standstill the world is demanding answers of the scientific community far faster than they are normally required to give those answers. And that results in a great deal of uncertainty.

    Providing an answer needs to address all of these questions in a holistic way and provide not only say a test capability or a set of scientific studies, or a technical platform, but a holistic end to end solution that encapsulates all of that. And that's really the ambition that Blok was set up to tackle.


    Immunity passports

    The WHO issued a warning about immunity passports:

    “a href="https://www.who.

    • 45 min
    Ep.107 – Why enterprise blockchains fail? No economic incentives

    Ep.107 – Why enterprise blockchains fail? No economic incentives

    Stephanie Hurder is the Founding Economist and Partner at Prysm Group. She’s also a CoinDesk columnist and an academic contributor to the World Economic Forum. In this podcast she joins us to discuss a recent article she published in CoinDesk entitled “Why Enterprise Blockchains Fail: No Economic Incentives”.


    What is blockchain?

    Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger. A ledger is a database, which is usually maintained by a single organisation like a bank to track the ins and outs of our bank account. The bank is responsible for maintaining and updating that ledger.

    A distributed ledger is a shared ledger where multiple different stakeholders, such as banks or insurance companies, collectively control and update the ledger. They have a process called the consensus process, where in order to make a change or an update to this shared database, there needs to be a certain level of agreement among the different stakeholders. This ensures that not a single organisation or entity controls this shared database.

    Blockchain is a particular type of shared ledger in which though the transactions or the updates to the shared ledger are processed in blocks. Smart contracts is a feature that often is associated with blockchain.


    Enterprise blockchain is in the doldrums

    On the 2nd of March 2020 Stephanie published an article on CoinDesk entitled “Why Enterprise Blockchains Fail: No Economic Incentives”. In the article she stated why “Enterprise blockchain is in the doldrums”.

    As an active participant working in many different blockchain projects Stephanie noticed a familiar patern where numerous enterprise blockchain initiatives, often established by consortia, would announce that they have a proof of concept or that they’re going to do a pilot for a specific use case. But then a year later many of those pilots would either fail to launch or wouldn’t work.

    Blockchain has the ability to deliver a lot of economic value to consortia and groups using it to solve business problems. However, it is very important for all the parties to be very clear about what is driving the value creation and who benefits from it and how that value is being distributed. Without a clear understanding of that, it becomes very difficult to set up the necessary infrastructure for a successful project.


    Blockchain platforms as economic systems

    Blockchain consortia are established to create economic value either to help companies save money, allow for synergies, or generate new revenue opportunities. There’s an economic rationale for almost every blockchain project. Members of the consortia have to agree on who are the different stakeholders, their incentives to join and how is value create and distributed.

    Stephanie notes that too many blockchain projects take a technology first approach instead of an economic one.


    Value creation in a blockchain project

    In a blockchain based consortium, value creation can be looked at in terms of three layers;

    * Value from the features of DLT

    * Role of network effects

    * Synergies - value, cost and network


    Value from the features of DLT

    The first layer is what is the value that the features of distributed ledger or the blockchain is, that it bringing itself.

    The Prysm Group has a framework called the 3 C’s: coordination, commitment and control.

    • 44 min
    Ep.106 – IBISA Network – Alliance of Space Technology & Blockchain

    Ep.106 – IBISA Network – Alliance of Space Technology & Blockchain

    Maria Mateo Iborra is the co-founder of the IBISA Network. Maria has a background in telecommunication engineering and has been working for 15 years in satellite communications in the space industry. In parallel to that she has also co-founded several companies and start-ups and experienced both successes and failures. Since 2015 she discovered blockchain and was excited by its transformational capabilities. In 2019 she co-founded IBISA which stands for (Inclusive Blockchain Insurance using Space Assets), a platform that enables micro insurance for weather related risks in agriculture in developing countries.


    What is blockchain?

    For Maria the fundamental point of blockchain is that it solves the double spending dilemma for peer to peer transaction. In an internet world you can send data more than once but you can’t send money more than once in a blockchain world. With blockchain we can evolve from the internet of data to the internet of value. This enables two trust less parties to be able to perform a transaction of value without intermediaries.


    From space and satellite communication industry to blockchain

    Maria is very passionate about technology and the impact it can have in our society.  During her 15 years in satellite communication she has done a lot of work in the field across the world and has seen first-hand the massive impact of bringing internet or television to non-connected population.

    For Maria blockchain is the next evolutionary step. She recognises that it will take a long time for mass adoption but it is similar to opening the world to the internet of value. The ability for people to transact around the world in a peer to peer manner is very powerful.

    Maria was interested by Bitcoin in its early days, but it was the launch of Ethereum in 2015 that peaked her interest in the actual blockchain technology.


    About the IBISA Network

    IBISA Network’s mission is to enable agriculture insurance, for agricultural entrepreneurs, everywhere and in an easy manner. To achieve, that IBISA leverages technology and data to build innovative and commercially viable protection products together with its local partners.

    IBISA is here to fill a gap, which is not touched by traditional insurers, for providing insurance to small scale agriculture. Whilst there has been a lot of innovative solutions developed for this market, no one has yet developed a commercially viable model.

    IBISA’s approach is to partner with local mutuals, insurers, and micro-finance institutions and provide them with a platform and tools to provide their customers with weather related risk protection.

    The IBISA platform is a full stack from underwriting to policy handling, customer administration, and loss assessments. IBISA’s partners can now have a platform to provide commercially viable and scalable protection.


    About the small-scale agriculture market

    Risk sharing, mutuality, is an ideal model for high frequency, low severity events. This is the case for small scale agriculture where you have every three or four years a drought and the insured amount is small as the premiums the farmers pay are also small – high frequency and low severity.

    According to the World Bank there are approximately 500 million smallholder farming households that produce between 70 – 80% of the world’s food. The insurance market potential to covering the basic needs,

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
22 Ratings

22 Ratings

coinsight ,

Breath of fresh air

Walid is knowledgeable and gives good insight into a new and promising technology. For anyone who is interested in the insurance industry and is looking for good content then this podcast is for you.

Str nagy ,


Great podcast series with really interesting people, subject matter experts and influencers. Good quality recording and relaxed delivery. The diversity episode was one of my favourites. Highly recommend it

karl sawyer ,

Great podcast

Always insightful, realistic and pitched at the right level for all to understand.

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