Credit: Dave Lund
Public vs. Private Ledgers
There were two key discussions which occurred frequently throughout the duration of the project. The first discussion of ‘Public vs Private Ledgers’ split the team between those who valued the ability of private-ledger based blockchains to suit existing business requirements, and those interested in the innovative new-market opportunities offered by public-ledger based blockchains. The team reached a consensus that private-ledger blockchains would be the best starting point for incumbents within the insurance industry, though recognized the potential disruption of disintermediation that will be enabled by public platforms such as Ethereum.
Broad vs. Focused
The second discussion centered around where to start. Blockchain technology has the potential to transform system environments. However, a large-scale implementation is not a practical possibility in the short term given the complexity of the current state, the lack of a demonstrated MVP, and the low level of understanding of blockchain technology across the industry. Hundreds of use cases have already been documented by professional services firms, consortiums and start-ups within the broader financial services sector. Many of these use cases are currently being developed into working prototypes or MVPs.
It was decided that the primary purpose of any MVP developed through Cookhouse Lab is to enable insurance organizations to see how blockchain technology works. With this in mind, the team developed nine selection criterions against which each use case was assessed including “Barriers to Entry” and “Customer Impact”. The final rankings were determined using an adaptation of Karl Wiegers’ Relative Weighting Formula. Ultimately, the team selected use cases that face minimal barriers to entry, focus on isolated issues, and can deliver business value quickly.
Final Use Case Categories
- Automated Insurance Products/Claims Payments
- Communication and Integration
- Industry-Wide Blockchain Applications
- Developed a long-list of blockchain use cases
- Developed a set of selection criteria
- Selected the top three use case categories (two use cases within each category)
- Completed the Innovation Report
- Completed the final project presentation
Where to From Here?
This project is intended to be the first in a series of several. The Cookhouse Lab will run at minimum three additional Blockchain & Insurance projects this calendar year, each dedicated to developing an MVP, initially based on the top three use case categories identified by the current project team.
It was a privilege to work with such a large and diverse team of insurance professionals across both life and P&C disciplines. I asked a few members to share their experience with us, this is what they had to say:
“Collaboration with Cookhouse Lab is an opportunity to establish new tracks for like-minded companies that want to run together towards big things. The coaching is top-notch and the way of working is agile.” – John Gray, Technical Accountant at Munich Re
“My experience at Cookhouse lab was an excellent one. Each session was led by an Innovation Chef who took us through a design thinking process which was coupled with weekly coaching sessions. Each helped by training your brain to think in a new way and come up with innovative ideas. The team consisted of highly knowledgeable Industry colleagues which led to great collaboration and excellent networking opportunities.” - Amanda Calder, Claims Examiner at Temple Insurance Company (Munich Re Group)
“Where else, as an insurer, can you get access to collaborative space with other insurer companies to work on innovation? And that helps us challenge perceived wisdoms of our proposition and to look at potential use cases in blockchain to partners in the future with other insurance firms. All growth happens outside of your comfort zone. The engagement allowed us to validate new ideas with insurers much faster than before. It brought us in contact with fantastic mentors that we will continue to work with.” – Binal Bhavsar, Enterprise Solution Architect at The Co-operators