120 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. 111 – COVID19 and the economic downturn’s effect on P&C insurance: An opportunity for technology?

    Ep. 111 – COVID19 and the economic downturn’s effect on P&C insurance: An opportunity for technology?

    Patrick Schmid is the Vice President of The Institute's RiskStream Collaborative a risk management insurance blockchain consortium. In this podcast Patrick discusses with us the impact of COVID19 and the economic downturn’s effect on P&C insurance and whether or not this represents an opportunity for technology.

    What is blockchain?

    Blockchain is a distributed ledger that maintains a constantly growing list of chronologically added records in the form of blocks. Blocks contain data such as transactions or smart contracts. They’re verified and confirmed through a decentralised consensus process. This process is why blockchain is often seen as providing the decentralisation of trust without the need for an intermediary or a centralised party.

    In this period of economic downturn, due to COVID19, Patrick believes that blockchain can provide the much-needed operational efficiency at a time when privacy and security are of high concern.


    Medium article: COVID-19 and the economic downturn’s effect on P&C insurance: An opportunity for technology?

    A board member of The Institute challenged Patrick and his team to think about the impact COVID19 would have on insurance and how to think about RiskStream’s strategy for the remainder of the year. This prompted, along with Patrick’s concern about the economy to write the article: “COVID-19 and the economic downturn’s effect on P&C insurance: An opportunity for technology?”

    The article analyses the economic impact of the outbreak of COVID19 and the lockdown is having on the US economy and the fallout it will have on the P&C insurance industry. It looks at how it will strain underwriting profits and the impact a decline in interest rates and financial markets will have on net investment yields.


    40% estimated fall in US GDP

    In the first quarter of 2020 GPD was estimated to have declined by 4.8% with JP Morgan predicting an estimated 40% fall in GDP in Q2. According to the US Department of Labour US unemployment rate rose to 14.7%, an increase of 20m in April, representing the highest unemployment rate increase since the Great Depression. Some economists are predicting that the unemployment rate could increase to 30% before this pandemic peaks. This has led to an unprecedented rise in unemployment claims with an additional 3m claims on the 14th of May bringing the total to 36m.

    A perfect storm?

    Whilst the P&C industry as a whole has taken these events in its strides it isn’t insulated from the economic fallout.

    The impact on business activity is expected to be felt in commercial lines and the effects from declines in residential activity and consumer activity in general, are expected to show up in personal lines.

    The effects are expected to impact the P&C combined ratio through changes to premiums, losses and expenses.

    A combined ratio above 100 indicates the industry is paying out more money in claims then it is making from policies. Due to effects on policies and losses the industry should expect an increase in the combined ratio. Adding to industry stress, net investment yields are likely to decline as well. The industry typically invests very conservatively,

    • 43 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

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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