Having begun market beta-testing of its reinsurance blockchain prototype at the Monte Carlo Rendezvous last month, the Blockchain Industry Initiative, B3i, has grown the number of participants in its innovative project by a further 23 companies. The rapid deployment and expansion of this project may herald adoption by the industry of this groundbreaking technology sooner that most would have expected, especially in view of the calibre and diversity of the members.

Including the new participants, the members of B3i now comprise Achmea, Aegon, Ageas, AIA, AIG, Allianz, Aon, Chubb, Covéa, Everest Re, Generali, Gen Re, Guy Carpenter & Marsh, Hannover Re, JLT Re, Leadway Assurance, Liberty Mutual Insurance, LocalTapiola, Mapfre Re, Munich Re, Navigators, PartnerRe, QBE Re, RGA, SAHAM Assurance, Sava Re, SCOR, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance, Swiss Re, Takaful Emarat, TigerRisk, Tokio Marine Holdings, Trust Re, UnipolSai, Willis Re, XL Catlin and Zurich Insurance Group.

The preliminary aim of the project is to use a blockchain to facilitate the administration of reinsurance contracts throughout their lifecycle, from contract formation and administration to claims handling. By establishing a single, trusted, updated and error resistant blockchain based repository for the relevant information, it is hoped that this technology will eventually eliminate the need for participants to maintain their own records, thereby reducing duplication of effort in the market and the risk of errors and inconsistencies as between different participants’ data.

The promise of blockchain technology does of course offer more than merely consolidating information and the scope for further innovation should not be underestimated. While B3i continues to consider new use cases and to expand the existing project beyond property and casualty reinsurance, it is suggested that the prospect of automatic and near-instant premium and claims transactions may be closer at hand than ever before.