184 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 • 24 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.



    What insurwave does?



     

    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 an...

    • 31 min
    Ep. 174 – R3 Product Vision: Market Trends & Needs and R3’s Long-Term Product Investment

    Ep. 174 – R3 Product Vision: Market Trends & Needs and R3’s Long-Term Product Investment

    Todd McDonald is the co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer at R3. In this podcast we discuss R3’s Product Vision and their views on market trends, market needs and R3’s long term product investment.



     

    What is blockchain?

    Blockchain is a way for multiple participants to join a network and update the state of that network without having to trust someone to coordinate amongst them. For businesses, Todd sees blockchain as a way to connect with more customers and more businesses without having to worry as much around the trust factor.



     

    Three market trends

    Back in September of this year Todd presented at CordaCon a presentation entitled “R3 Product Vision: Market Trends, Market Needs and R3’s Long-Term Product Investment.”In it he started by analysing three market trends:



    * “Everything is an asset”,

    * “push-pull of (de)centralisation”

    * “Plan ahead for regulation”.



     

    Everything is an asset

    Blockchain has the ability to create digital scarcity. Essentially anything that you can prove ownership of can become an asset. Assets can be digitally mobile such as NFTs and/or they can be used as collateral for a loan.



    A digital asset of course can be the digital manifestation or representation of a real physical asset but equally it could also by a pure digital asset. Pure digital assets, such as the purchase of digital property in the Metaverse, have recently seen a bit of an explosive growth. Republic Realm purchased a $4.3 million 24x24 digital piece of land, whilst Metaverse Group in November made a $2.43 million purchase of parcels in Decentraland.



     

    Push-Pull of (de)centralisation

    Blockchains are custody and software. They’re the ability to custody digital assets in the software layer without having the need of human beings. Todd shared with us that some of the biggest investors in this space so far have been existing intermediaries. Financial market infrastructure is heavily investing in distributed systems and blockchain.



    He then explains what he sees as the different facets of the decentralisation journey:



    * You need critical mass and become successful. There needs to be a journey to attract people to a network and distribute the roles of that network. Potentially over time the network can become more distributed to decentralised. What is interesting about the crypto side is that with tokenomics all participants can be incentivised from day one onto a decentralised network

    * Progressive decentralisation a term coined by Jesse Walden, from Andreesen Horowitz, talks about starting out within a bootstrap minimum viable ecosystem, ie. quite centralised, which as it grows can progress into a decentralised one



     

    Plan ahead for regulation

    Once regulation starts it pretty much only increases. This comment isn’t specifically related to crypto regulation but more on financial services. There is an increasing amount of regulatory imperatives  such as open banking, GDPR, and Central Securities Depository Regulation (CSDR).



     

    Modernising market infrastructure

    SIX digital exchange became live on the 18th of November 2021, when SIX, launched a CHF 150 million ($162 million) tokenised digital bond ...

    • 44 min
    Ep. 173 – Obscuro: a secret spell over DeFi

    Ep. 173 – Obscuro: a secret spell over DeFi

    Over the last 12 months Decentralised Finance also known as DeFi has really exploded with reported total value locked reaching $250bn.  R3 who operates in the permissioned blockchain space is spinning out Obscuro into the permissionless space of DeFi. In this podcast we’re joined by James Carlyle who explains the DeFi landscape, the challenges it faces in terms of privacy and scalability and how Obscuro can address these.



     

    What is blockchain?

    Blockchain is a distributed databased. Instead of one party running it, it is run as a network by a group of entities who don’t necessarily trust each other. It contains features that ensure that entities don’t need to trust each other, they can trust the infrastructure and the code itself.



    James has been on a blockchain journey since 2015 when he started off with permissionless public systems like Bitcoin and Ethereum prior to joining R3 in 2015 and helping to design Corda. Corda though had a very different principles than permissionless public systems as it was designed as a permissioned blockchain. The participants all have a verified identity so you know who you are dealing with, whilst on permissionless system they have a pseudonym. Now with Obscuro, James is returning to permissionless public systems.



     

    Decentralised finance (DeFi)

    Over the last 12 months Decentralised Finance also known as DeFi has really exploded. A few weeks ago JP Morgan reports that total value locked (TVL) has grown from last year’s $20bn to $200bn today.



    For James, Defi is an expression of freedom and of innovation. It’s growing very rapidly as it’s able to innovate at lightspeed. All of these applications are open source which means that it is possible to take an existing idea to either build upon it or in some cases to steal it and simply rebrand it. These things increase the level of innovation and increase the level of take up.



    At the heart of DeFi is transparency. It runs on permissionless systems, which means anyone can take part, download the data and help in the validation process.



    The first generation of DeFi builders and users were not interested in privacy and James believes that DeFi is heading towards a new generation to builders and users who are aiming for a more mass market where privacy is important. The ECB released a report on the digital Euro where privacy is seen as a key digital enabler.



    Whilst privacy is important it can unfortunately also be used as a cloak for illegal behaviour. For DeFi to be picked up and used by the mass market it has to be more regulated. Regulation needs identity and KYC. R3 is uniquely placed to interact in this space as it has this rich heritage of having very strong ties with regulation and regulators



     

    Miner extractable value (MEV)

    In a public blockchain system such as Ethereum there are participants who are submitting transactions. Miners who are here to confirm transactions can see the contents of the transactions that users have submitted. They can take advantage of it in some cases in what is called front running. For example, if you want to buy something on the market you don’t want someone else to bid the price up ahead of the transaction. That’s what is possible when a miner can spot that a user is trying to something and they decide to step in first and thus get the transaction before the user and the user is left behind buying it at a higher price.



    It has been estimated that around a href="https://www.coindesk.com/tech/2021/05/10/why-ethereums-miner-extractab...

    • 41 min
    Ep. 172 – Confidential computing tackling human trafficking – insights from Hope for Justice

    Ep. 172 – Confidential computing tackling human trafficking – insights from Hope for Justice

    Tim Nelson is the CEO of Hope for Justice and is part of the founding board of the charity which exists to try and end all forms of human trafficking and modern slavery across the globe. They work alongside major multinational businesses through an organisation called the Slave Free Alliance that they set up a few years ago.



     

    What is blockchain?

    Blockchain is a distributed database that is shared between the nodes of computer. It stores information electronically in a digital format. It maintains a secure and decentralised record of transactions and what differentiates it to other databases is that it guarantees the fidelity and security of a record. This generates trust without the need of a third party.



     

    Modern Slavery

    According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) there are 40.3 million people in forced labour, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, organ harvesting and forced marriage worldwide:



    * Including 24.9 million in forced labour and 4 million in forced marriage.

    * It means there are 4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 peoplein the world

    * 1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children.

    * Out of the 9 millionpeople trapped in forced labour, 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture; 4.8 million persons in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million persons in forced labour imposed by state authorities.

    * Women and girls are disproportionately affectedby forced labour, accounting for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry, and 58% in other sectors



    Global Estimates of Modern Slavery



    Most people think that slavery was ended with the William Wilberforce Day. However every day around the world people are being trafficked every day. They are forced to work within the supply chains of major multinational businesses, into all forms of sexual exploitation, into forced domestic servitude and in countries where there is no organ donation scheme, there is organ harvesting.



    Most people are shocked to know that for example in the UK, the number one place people are trafficked to the UK is actually from the UK. People are actually taken in the UK.



    When Hope for Justice started doing rescue and investigation in the UK, the organisation started in an area in West Yorkshire that covers 2.2m people. At that time the entire police force across England and Wales had rescued 88 individuals and said that was the extent of it through an operation called Pentameter one. Hope for Justice within its first year of operation in just West Yorkshire alone, rescued 110 victims of which the youngest was just three months old trafficked for sexual exploitation and the oldest was 58 years old for forced labour.



     

    Impact of COVID

    The impact of COVID has been massive on everyone around the world. The shutting down has made a bigger impact on the most vulnerable in the world. Farmers have missed crop planting or harvesting whilst others haven’t been able to go to work putting them into a very vulnerable situation. It is in that backdrop that we see a real shift happening. Companies have rolled back efforts the they were doing globally. According to Tim,

    • 47 min
    Ep. 171 – Exploring CBDCs – insights from the Bank for International Settlements

    Ep. 171 – Exploring CBDCs – insights from the Bank for International Settlements

    Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are increasingly being talked about in the press with announcements of initiatives from different central banks working on CBDCs coming out left right and centre. Few however are as forward thinking and embracing a collaborative approach as the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). For this podcast we are joined by Daniel Eidan,  Adviser and Solution Architect at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in the Innovation Hub where he builds technology solutions for the central banking community with a special focus on blockchain and CBDC. He will share with us some of the exciting work his team are doing for driving CBDC forward.



     

    What is blockchain?

    Blockchain and DLT is often referred to as Web 3.0 whilst the internet of today is Web 2.0.



    Web 2.0 enables to globally connect communications protocol whilst blockchain and Web 3.0 isn’t just about putting communication protocols digitally but to store value digitally. What blockchain enables is to execute computations between different members and keep a record of state. Essentially as Daniel mentions we can encapsulate value. Value can be cryptocurrencies, central bank digital currencies, contracts and many other forms of value. This wasn’t something possible in the Web 2.0 because the fundamentals weren’t there.



     

    What are CBDCs?

    To fully understand what CBDCs, central bank digital currency, are you first need to understand what is a currency. Money and currency in general have three attributes:



    * They are a unit of account

    * A store of value

    * A medium of exchange



    What central bank digital currencies do is that they digitise those three attributes.





     

    To explain how this happens Daniel uses the “money flower” approach which looks at its four different attributes:



    * Is it universally accessible?

    * Is it electronic?

    * Is it issued by a central bank?

    * Is it moved around in a peer to peer way?



    A retail form of CBDC will have all four of the money flower attributes. It will be universally accessible, it will be electronic, it will be issued by a central bank and contain central bank liability, and it will transact in a peer to peer way.



    What is important to recognise is that most of the retail monetary base is not central bank money, it’s commercial bank money. For example, when you deposit money at you bank it is likely that a large part of your fiat currency is with a claim against your commercial bank. Then through a set of mechanisms that claim is insured by potentially a central bank or a federal institution.



    The only claim that retail can have against a central bank is in the form of cash. Cash of course is a tiny percentage of the total amount of money individuals have. What CBDC does is takes that cash liability, in a retail context, to exist in a digital context in a way that’s accessible to anyone.



    The question is what happens to individuals who do not have a smart device, or electricity, or WIFI? In addition, how is universal accessibility attained to individuals with disability issues or are elderly? There are a number of technical solutions that can help to lower this barrier but it is one that is a challenge in terms of the last mile for reaching ubiquitous CBDC.



    In the case of wholesale, the case for CBDCs is to broaden the base of digital currency from tier one institutions that are regulated domestically to fintechs, startups and perhaps banks in other jurisdictions. So, it's really extending the promise and the capabili...

    • 50 min
    Ep. 170 – Leveraging Mastercard’s DNA onto blockchain – Mastercard Provenance Solution

    Ep. 170 – Leveraging Mastercard’s DNA onto blockchain – Mastercard Provenance Solution

    Leandro Nunes, Vice President, Product Development and Innovation at Mastercard, joins us to share how he leveraged Mastercard’s DNA in scalability, payment automation and governance. We also discuss the important of a data governance model and his top tips for building scalable blockchain solutions.



     

    What is blockchain?

    Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology (DLT) that uses a consensus methodology to immutably record blocks in sequence in a ledger. It’s a technology that is driven by data governance. The governance is on the data side not necessarily on the blockchain. Data governance looks at the question of ownership of the data, who has visibility over it and the rights for sharing it.



    It allows for the creation of networks to tackle use cases where the participants can integrate their systems in a decentralised environment where they can share the data. This provides the visibility to increase the trust between the participants.



    Leandro also stresses what blockchain is not. It’s not the saviour of the world and shouldn’t be a solution looking for a problem. As any other technology blockchain needs to connect and be integrated with other solutions such as AI, IoT, payments and others.



     

    Mastercard’s DNA – network builder

    When talking about blockchain there is this dependency on how to build and manage a network for different participants. In some ways these challenges are similar to the one of payment networks like Mastercard who has the established the credibility of having the global coverage, the need to scale, and acts as a neutral network builder not taking any sides. It is this element which is within their DNA. It is this DNA which can be leverage to build and gain adoption to new technologies such as blockchain.



    When you swipe your Mastercard within two seconds the user gets an approved message. Within those two seconds a lot of things happens amongst many participants to make sure the settlement is done.



     

    Mastercard provenance solution



    Mastercard’s Provenance Solution, is essentially an API layer on top of a Mastercard blockchain that serves as an orchestration hub for an entire ecosystem of partners. It bridges the supply chain traceability events with a payments network. This enables to share supply chain related data to inform the decision making process for the payment side. Decisions can be automated which in turn reduces the reconciliation costs, dispute resolution and speeds up the entire process.



    Leandro stressed that they’re not a tech company trying to sell blockchain. They use blockchain as a technology, the value they can bring in addition to combining supply chain traceability along with the payment side is around bringing scalability to the governance. Working with their partners to answer the questions of how do you build a network where you can be neutral within its governance structure? How do you create a governance where you don’t take sides?



     

    Use case: Australian farmers

    In August 2021, Cirralto, the B2B payment services business, announced it is leveraging the Mastercard Provenance Solution, and the Fresh Supply Co digital supply chain network, to provide Australia’s farmers with better access to trade finance.



    The WTO estimates a href="https://www.tradefinanceglobal.com/posts/the-1-5-trillion-global-finance-gap-a-tfg-summary-of-bnys-global-i...

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
24 Ratings

24 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 ,

Top

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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