Frequently considerations of decentralized technology’s future social implications present freshly differentiated images of somehow superior methodologies that may be radically different than the present day. Yet the decentralized recording of centrally controlled operations could instead be a marked degradation to both the technology’s potential and developmental promise. Without an equivalent preceding structural change, the introduction of decentralized technologies into established industries wishing to bolster rather than improve service offerings should give us all great cause for concern.
In a factually based, well-known business school anecdote a case of one of the first life insurance claims is often repeated. Shortly after this type of policy became available a life insurance policy holder did indeed pass away during the applicability of his high-payout protection. When the family of the deceased attempted to claim, the insurer wrote a new definition of how their company calculated ‘one year’ so as to [successfully] avoid settlement.
Spoken of as commendable industrial ingenuity or defenseless profiteering would most likely depend on whether it was relayed in a strategy or ethics lecture. However, with this tale in mind we now turn to the introduction of blockchain technologies within the insurance industries:
“ORLANDO, Florida – Blockchain technology has a future in workers compensation transactions as the technology has the potential to improve communication and efficiency industrywide, a presenter told attendees of the National Council for Compensation Insurance Inc.’s Annual Issues Symposium on Friday. Blockchain is a decentralized, peer-to-peer network that provides insurers and stakeholders a way of “producing, storing, managing and sharing data as a secure record of transactions,” said Paul Meeusen, head of distributed ledger technology and director of finance reinsurance at Swiss Re and CEO of B3i.
Blockchain consists of a distributed ledger, consensus providing a “single version” of information, cryptography for secure and authentic transactions, and smart contracts, which are auto-executed under predefined conditions, Mr. Meeusen said. In a traditional insurance system, there is an inefficient flow of information from policyholder to insurer to reinsurer to capital market, he said. Mr. Meeusen explained how the technology works to create efficiencies rather than collecting and examining data in separate systems.
“We are working together, but we keep control of our data,” he said.
For workers compensation, blockchain can allow stakeholders opportunities for sharing personal and medical information, providing a secure place to store and access data. The technology would also allow for verification of comp coverage across the blockchain platform, he said.