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Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange Insures Its Crypto Assets With Local Broker

The Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange has insured all of its assets with local insurance broker Callaghan.

The Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX) announced that it is offering insurance on all of the assets listed on its platform, in an official GBX blog post Dec. 10.

The exchange reports that it will use local firm Callaghan Insurance Brokers to insure its assets, specifying that “all assets in the custody of the GBX are fully insured, including both hot and cold wallets.” The policy also reportedly “covers all forms of professional indemnity.”

GBX, a subsidiary of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX), opened in July of this year and has raised a total of $27 million in funding. In the past 24 hours, the exchange saw about $8.5 million in trades, currently placing it in 60th place on CoinMarketCap’s exchange rankings by adjusted trade volume.

As Cointelegraph reported, last month the exchange was awarded a license by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC).

As the firm’s blog post states, Callaghan Insurance Brokers is a privately held insurance company based out of Gibraltar The firm’s managing director is also a member of the GFSC’s board.

This is not the first crypto exchange that has managed to obtain insurance on the assets it holds. Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange owned by the Winklevoss twins, also secured coverage for its custodied digital assets from insurance firm Aon this October.

For its part, Gibraltar’s government has recently shown interest in the regulation and development of blockchain technology in the country. As Cointelegraph reported in October, the local government launched an advisory group meant to develop blockchain-related educational courses.

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State Farm Tests Blockchain Solution to Speed Up Auto Insurance Claims

American insurance giant State Farm is testing a blockchain product to speed up the subrogation process for auto claims.

U.S.-based insurance company State Farm is testing a blockchain-based solution to speed up the subrogation process for auto claims, according to an announcement published Dec. 10.

State Farm is a large group of insurance and financial services firms that provides auto insurance in the U.S. The organization was ranked 38th on the 2018 Fortune 500 list of companies. Per the company’s website, it processes 38,300 claims per day and has nearly 519,000 accounts in mutual funds.

State Farm is working on blockchain-based solution to speed up the subrogation processes in the insurance industry. Subrogation is a legal right held by most insurance carriers to legally pursue a third party that caused an insurance loss to the insured, and is usually the last part of an insurance claims process.

State Farm is reportedly testing a blockchain solution collaboratively with another insurer, to see whether it can reduce the time needed to complete the subrogation process by automatically compiling all subrogation payment amounts.

According to Mike Fields, State Farm’s innovation executive, “subrogation is a relatively manual, time-consuming process often requiring physical checks to be mailed on a claim-by-claim basis between insurers.” He added:

“It [blockchain] helps us automate a manual process securely and creates a permanent transaction record of each payment which can easily be verified for accuracy. It also has the potential to decrease the amount of time for consumers to receive their deductible reimbursement.”

Insurance companies globally have been integrating blockchain technology into their operations. Last month, Japanese insurance company Sompo partnered with pan-African digital payment platform BTC Africa, also known as BitPesa. The partnership is focused on the “digitalization of global remittance services.”

In September, major insurance firm the People’s Insurance Company of China (PICC) partnered with blockchain platform VeChain and global quality assurance and risk management company DNV GL to make their business more time and cost efficient. The partnership also aims improve fraud prevention, Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance, as well as the claims experience.

Meanwhile, market research firm MarketsandMarkets predicted that blockchain in insurance market will grow to $1.4 billion by the end of 2023, at a compound annual growth rate of 84.9 percent.

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26 French Companies, Five Banks Complete Blockchain-Based KYC Trial Based on R3’s Corda

26 French companies along with five banks have successfully completed a blockchain-enabled KYC trial with R3 consortium.

26 French companies and five major banks have completed a Know Your Customer (KYC) test based on blockchain, according to a press release by the entrant firm RCI Bank and Services released Dec. 3.

RCI Bank and Services, a French automotive financing and insurance firm unveiled details of a customer knowledge-focused blockchain solution trialed in partnership with blockchain consortium R3.

According to the press release, the Proof-of-Concept (PoC) test has been conducted in cooperation with the Association Française des Trésoriers d’Entreprise (AFTE), a local network of treasury and finance professionals.

As revealed by a participant of the test, RCI Bank and Services, which is also a member of the R3 consortium, trial participants were able to implement KYC requests within a shared network, with banks having to request access to data and enterprise clients able to approve and revoke access, with all the data recorded on the blockchain.

R3’s Corda KYC solution test reportedly involved five French banks, including the financial conglomerate BNP Paribas and Société Générale. The trial has also featured companies specializing in various fields such as insurance, consulting, the automotive and food industries, and retail, including such firms as Allianz France Insurance Company and Natixis Insurance.

Ignacio Sánchez-Miret, chairman of AFTE Fintech Commission, commented that the Corda KYC solution has achieved two major goals, including “bridg[ing] the gap and demystif[ying] blockchain for corporates,” as well as “bring[ing] together banks, insurers and corporates to work together at the same level,” according to U.K.-based fintech media FinTech Futures.

In early November, BNP Paribas participated in a blockchain-powered syndicated loan of $150 million in partnership with the second largest bank of Spain, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA).

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Newly Formed US Healthcare Alliance to Trial Blockchain for Improved Data Quality

Seven major healthcare companies from the U.S. have established an alliance to trial blockchain solutions.

Major U.S. healthcare companies have formed an alliance to trial blockchain solutions in order to improve data quality and reduce costs, U.S. weekly news outlet Modern Healthcare reports Monday, Dec. 3.

The Synaptic Health Alliance group consists of Humana, Multiplan, UnitedHealth Group’s Optum, UnitedHealthcare, Quest Diagnostics, and has recently been joined by Ascension — the largest not-for-profit health system in the U.S. according to Modern Healthcare — and CVS Health-Aetna, which has an estimated 22 million of members.

According to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, who analyzed data provided between September 2016 and August 2017, at least half of the information on Medicare Advantage Organizations contained mistakes, which affects customers by causing delays in medical services and can make them subject to fines.

Modern Healthcare writes that the alliance hopes decentralized storage will keep information more accurate thanks to the system’s security and the ability to track all copies almost in real time.

The article notes that healthcare providers are spending up to $2.1 billion each year to store data. By using a shared blockchain network for insurers, customers, and providers, healthcare organizations could cut operational costs, chief information officer of Quest Diagnostics Lidia Fonseca believes.

In addition, Ascension’s chief information officer Gerry Lewis added that blockchain could be further used to securely share clinical information to the parties involved the process, Modern Healthcare writes.

As Cointelegraph has often reported, decentralized solutions are widely used in healthcare. Hospitals can use blockchain to safely store patients’ data; for instance, Taipei Medical University Hospital in Taiwan and major South Korean hospital Myongji are currently testing blockchain-based systems,

Blockchain can be used in other spheres of healthcare beyond hospitals.

In April, German Camelot Consulting Group developed a blockchain-based solution for the management of sensitive medical data. And in October, software company and former smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry released a blockchain-powered platform focused on the health field.

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British Maritime Society Builds Blockchain Tool for Ship Registration

British maritime classification society Lloyd’s Register has developed a prototype blockchain platform aimed to enable more efficient shipping registration, the organization announced Tuesday.

The not-for-profit, which is already looking at using blockchain to improve the safety and security of critical shipping infrastructure and individuals in the industry, is now working to speed up the process of registering vessels using the nascent technology, according to a press release.

Lloyd’s uses its register – first created in 1764 – to record information about a ship’s condition, which merchants and underwriters can then use when determining whether to insure or charter a vessel.

It has now put that data on the prototype register, built in partnership with development firm Applied Blockchain, and will demo the tool this week at the international maritime trade fair SMM.

Gary Pogson, Lloyd’s Register lead technical specialist, marine and offshore, said in the release that he had been studying blockchain technology for roughly two and a half years, and that “from very early on, I recognized this as an area of great potential.”

He continued:

“We have taken a systems approach in undertaking this project, exploring customer needs to derive requirements. In looking at potential solutions, we’ve been careful to ask whether blockchain is a valid component of a solution. In our view, applied carefully as part of a well-designed system, it is uniquely disposed to offer additional value and set a foundation for the maritime industry’s future needs.”

Similarly, Lloyd’s marine and offshore director, Nick Brown, said that the company has “identified multiple potential sources of value by adopting this technology.”

He specifically cited blockchain’s immutability and auditability as benefits. Further, using a blockchain register may be more efficient in sharing information than existing systems, allowing different parties to quickly transfer information about vessels to each other and potentially allow “financing, insuring, payments etc. to be provided more dynamically.”

“This value discovery project has culminated in a prototype blockchain-enabled register tool. We are now focused on how we can extend the value to other stakeholders in the maritime supply chain,” he concluded.

Shipping image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Major Chinese Insurance Firm to Apply Blockchain Technology via New Partnership

Major insurance firm the People’s Insurance Company of China (PICC) will apply blockchain technology to its operations via a new partnership, according to a September 1 press release.

PICC has partnered with blockchain platform VeChain, and a global quality assurance and risk management company DNV GL to make their business more time and cost efficient. Additionally, the new partnership intends to improve fraud prevention, Know your Customer (KYC) compliance, as well as the claims experience.

In the announcement, PICC says that blockchain technology will bring digital transformation to the insurance industry, which will reportedly create an “instant compensation” for companies by offering a more profitable business model.

Specifically, the VeChainThor Platform will assist PICC with expanded data management and more effective data processing, while DNV GL will guarantee the insurance system’s data integrity as an independent third-party assurer.

Other insurance organizations worldwide have begun adopting blockchain technology. In August, the American Association of Insurance Services (AAIS) introduced the “first secure, open blockchain platform” for managing the collection of statistical data by insurance carriers, regulators, as well as other participating contributors.

In April, global insurance brokerage and risk management firm Marsh announced the first commercial blockchain service for proof of insurance in order to switch their system “from complicated and manual to streamlined and transparent.”

VeChain, which is headquartered in Shanghai, is reportedly the first blockchain firm to launch cooperation with Chinese government. VeChain’s token VET was launched in 2015, and is currently the 17th top cryptocurrency by market capitalization, trading at $0.0189 with a market cap of around $1 billion at press time.

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Microsoft Is Slowly (But Surely) Connecting Blockchain to Main Products

Three years ago, Microsoft Azure was the first to bring blockchain to the cloud. Now it’s connecting the technology to just about everything else.

The software giant has quietly been building bridges between its blockchain services and other, widely used infrastructure and platforms, such as Office 365 Outlook, SharePoint Online, Salesforce, Dynamics 365 CRM Online, SAP, and even Twitter, according to Matt Kerner, the general manager of Microsoft Azure. The idea is to allow Microsoft customers to port their data from these platforms into the cloud, and from there onto a blockchain.

Why? In addition to the usually touted blockchain efficiencies, one of the less-discussed benefits of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in a cloud environment like Azure, according to Microsoft, is that it amasses data from multiple companies in a standardized format at scale. The potential to mine data for all sorts of insights then becomes limitless, the company reckons.

Hence, the company is integrating tools such as Microsoft Flow and Logic Apps – which offer hundreds of connectors to thousands of applications – into Azure Blockchain Workbench, a service it launched in May to make the creation of blockchain apps easier (Workbench currently has ethereum Proof of Authority configured as the consensus protocol).

It’s all a part of the evolution of Big Data, Kerner explained. Prior to blockchain, he pointed out, cloud computing enabled departments within the same company to break out of their data silos and collaborate on heterogeneous data sets, increasing smarts through machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI).  

“Blockchain empowers the next step – enabling a single, authentic data set shared across counterparties. This is already improving the way transactions happen,” Kerner told CoinDesk, adding, “We believe the same will be true with data analytics.”

Stepping back, many would argue that data is now the most valuable naturally occurring resource on the planet. As the race to prove the best data analytics intensifies, firms are springing up whose sole purpose is to structure and format data to run AI algorithms on.  

But with enterprise blockchain, you get the structured and formatted data part thrown in for free, as Kerner said many Azure customers were discovering.

“What blockchain is doing is creating a multi-party business process that is moving out of email, phone calls, spreadsheets and into a single system with a single view on the data that all of the participants can rely upon and trust,” he said.

Looking ahead, Kerner said bringing vast amounts of unstructured and siloed data into a context where it could be leveraged and even shared would drive exponential change. He said:

“Even the fiercest of competitors can onboard and mutually derive benefit from that system and find new revenue streams.”

Taking on IBM

A good example of Azure connecting and balancing components in a large and complex production environment is Insurwave, which simplifies maritime insurance for shipping hauls carried by Maersk.

The platform was built using R3’s Corda platform with help from EY and Guardtime and is now in commercial production with insurers such as Willis Towers Watson, XL Catlin, and MS Amlin.

Insurwave, which tracks cargos and adjusts insurance premiums in real time, collates all sorts of data, everything from internet of things (IoT) sensors monitoring temperature, to whether the ship is going to hit a storm, or enter a war zone or an area heavily populated with pirates. Once this data is shared on the blockchain, Power BI, a Microsoft business analytics tool, can be used to gain insights about shipping hauls, Kerner said.

Further, Ricardo Correia, a managing director and head of partner management at R3, said its relationship with Microsoft is a good deal more than Azure being Corda’s default preferred cloud.

In addition to a one-click Corda capability, Correia pointed to integrating Corda into modules within the Azure marketplace.

“This enables Corda to plug into a number of different capabilities including Azure SQL, active directory for identity access management and key vault for key management,” he said.

Some of this is already in place because of Insurwave, with deeper integration also happening in a number of use cases. Notable ones include the webJet blockchain, which aims to reconcile hotels and other travel arrangements on a single ledger, and was cited by R3’s CTO Richard Brown as an example of Corda extending beyond mainstream finance.

Widening the lens, the ability to track items in real time and share things like IoT data using a blockchain has made global trade and supply chain a leading light in terms of domains to chase. From a strategic point of view, Insurwave challenges IBM’s bid for global trade dominance, which also has Maersk in the position of flagship, so to speak.

IBM has openly stated that this was its No. 1 target. However, Correia said Microsoft is also making its mark in supply chain – perhaps with a little less fanfare. “It’s in their interest given they too have very large supply chains with a number of their product offerings,” he said.

In terms of offering blockchain as a service, IBM has championed Hyperledger Composer for the past couple of years. However, there may be some question marks over the design of Composer, at least from an IBM perspective.  

Azure’s Kerner was tactfully equivocal about Microsoft’s enterprise blockchain rivals, adding that everything is built with an eye towards enabling a consortium that’s not exclusively on Azure.

“It’s got to be open. Any meaningful consortium is going to have members who have different choices that they have made around their cloud provider and who they choose to work with,” he said.

Microsoft image via Shutterstock.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Lloyd’s Of London to Insure Custody Platform for Digital Currency

U.K. insurance market leader Lloyd’s of London will insure a crypto custody platform by U.S.-based custodial firm Kingdom Trust, according to a press release published August 28.

Founded in 1686, Lloyd’s of London is a British insurance firm that is active in over 200 countries. The company reportedly paid claims in the amount of £68 billion ($87 billion) between 2011 and 2016.

Kingdom Trust, which serves over 100,000 customers and has $12 billion in assets under custody, is the reportedly the “first” regulated financial institution to offer qualified custody for digital asset investments. Kingdom Trust provides digital currency storage services for more than 30 different assets.

The company is now launching insurance coverage for digital currency to protect investors against theft and destruction of assets. Matt Jennings, CEO of Kingdom Trust, said:

“Qualified custody by a regulated, insured financial institution is a top priority and critical hurdle for institutions to invest in the digital asset markets. By adding another trusted specialist like Lloyd’s to our platform, we’re ensuring that current and future clients will have access to a highly-secure, complete safekeeping solution tailored to meet the challenges of institutional finance.”

In an interview with Reuters, Jennings declined to disclose the identity of the insurer that underwrote Kingdom Trust’s coverage through Lloyd’s marketplace, or the cost or terms of the policy. However, he noted that Kingdom Trust “received a ‘drastic discount’ because of its technology, a type of ‘cold storage,’ in which digital coins are stored offline.”

Last month, Cointelegraph reported that insurers such as AIG, Allianz, Chubb, and XL Group are increasingly offering coverage options to protect businesses in the crypto space. Aon, a major insurance broker that claims to occupy 50 percent of the crypto-insurance market, is reportedly seeing more crypto-specific protections catering to the new industry.

Marsh & McLennan, said that 2018 has been “brisk” for crypto-insurers, revealing that it formed its first-ever dedicated team to brokering policies for blockchain startups.