Technology in Insurance

Insurers and reinsurers launch Blockchain initiative

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A group of Europe's biggest insurers have joined forces in an attempt to put Blockchain through its paces to evaluate whether the technology can help make the insurance industry more efficient

Munich (Oct. 20, 2016) – Aegon, Allianz, Munich Re, Swiss Re and Zurich have launched the Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative B3i aiming to explore the potential of distributed ledger technologies to better serve clients through faster, more convenient and secure services. If Blockchain technology proves viable, it could well streamline paper work and reconciliations for reinsurance and insurance contracts and accelerate information and money flows, while greatly improving auditability.

Blockchain offers huge potential for enabling digital contracts and transactions amongst multiple parties to be executed in a secure, transparent and auditable way. By establishing trusted relationships among all participants, Blockchain has the potential to provide a consistent, automatic contract execution environment where transactions and contracts are stored on a shared ledger, thus reducing the administrative workload of multiple stakeholders to ensure contract consistency and execution.

The Blockchain technology can only reach its full potential for stakeholders if implemented in a consistent and compatible way, based on minimum standards to exchange data and transactions via Blockchain. Therefore Aegon, Allianz, Munich Re, Swiss Re and Zurich have agreed to cooperate for a pilot project, using anonymised transaction information and anonymised quantitative data, in order to achieve a proof-of-concept for inter-group retrocessions by the use of the Blockchain technology. With this feasibility study, the founding members aim to explore whether Blockchain technology can be used to develop standards and processes for industry-wide usage and to catalyse efficiency gains in the insurance industry.

"Blockchain technology shows most of its potential only if it's applied in a network of peers; therefore, we see a huge benefit for the insurance industry in doing this together in the Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative B3i," said Harald Rosenberger, Head of Innovation at Munich Re. "With B3i, we are in the position to explore and shape the future use of Blockchain and to set the necessary standards for a true digitalization of insurance."

"Technology is already disrupting the wider financial services world and is now starting to make its mark on insurance," said Jason Richards, Head of P&C Business Management at Swiss Re. "We want to be at the heart of these developments and see Blockchain as one of those potential catalysts for change. By actively creating partnerships and making strategic investments we can build smarter solutions together with our clients."

"We are delighted to participate in this important initiative", said Mark Bloom, Chief Technology Officer and Management Board member of Aegon. "We anticipate substantial benefits from Blockchain-based solutions being implemented in the heart of our business. There is a lot of work to be done and we really look forward to working together with the other members in this initiative on innovative ledger technologies."

The Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative B3i will allow insurers and reinsurers to get a better insight into the applicability of the Blockchain technology in the insurance market. In addition, B3i offers a platform to exchange insights regarding Blockchain and potentially other technologies, use case experiments and research information.

This initiative aims to facilitate the transition from individual company use cases to viable solutions across the entire insurance value chain. Such future development of a modern and efficient handling of insurance transactions will require common standards and procedures. Consequently, the Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative B3i is open to other insurers and reinsurers. Its ultimate ambition is to assess how Blockchain technology can be established as a viable tool for the insurance industry in general and for insurance clients in particular.

Disclaimer

This release contains forward-looking statements that are based on current assumptions and forecasts. Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the forward-looking statements given here and the actual development, in particular the results, financial situation and performance of our companies. The companies assume no liability to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

About Aegon

Aegon is one of the world's leading providers of life insurance, pensions and asset management. Our Dutch roots date back to 1844. Today, we have operations in over 20 countries, including the USA, where we're known as Transamerica. For more information, visit www.aegon.com.

About Allianz

Allianz operates as an international insurer on almost every continent. We have deep roots in our home market: Western, Northern & Southern Europe. In Central & Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific Allianz is one of the leading international insurance companies. With different emphases we are present in America and Africa. For more information please visit www.allianz.com.

About Munich Re

Munich Re stands for exceptional solution-based expertise, consistent risk management, financial stability and client proximity. It operates in all lines of insurance, and is one of the world's leading reinsurers. For more information, visit www.munichre.com.

About Swiss Re

The Swiss Re Group is a leading wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance and other insurance-based forms of risk transfer. Dealing direct and working through brokers, its global client base consists of insurance companies, mid-to-large-sized corporations and public sector clients. From standard products to tailor-made coverage across all lines of business, Swiss Re deploys its capital strength, expertise and innovation power to enable the risk-taking upon which enterprise and progress in society depend.

Founded in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1863, Swiss Re serves clients through a network of about 70 offices globally and is rated "AA-" by Standard & Poor's, "Aa3" by Moody's, and "A+" by A.M. Best. Registered shares in the Swiss Re Group holding company, Swiss Re Ltd, are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and trade under the symbol SREN. For more information about Swiss Re Group, please visit www.swissre.com.

About Zurich

Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) is a leading multi-line insurer that serves its customers in global and local markets. With more than 55,000 employees, it provides a wide range of general insurance and life insurance products and services. Zurich's customers include individuals, small businesses, and mid-sized and large companies, including multinational corporations, in more than 170 countries. The Group is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, where it was founded in 1872. The holding company, Zurich Insurance Group Ltd (ZURN), is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and has a level I American Depositary Receipt (ZURVY) program, which is traded over-the-counter on OTCQX. Further information about Zurich is available at www.zurich.com.

In North America, Zurich is a leading commercial property-casualty insurance provider serving the global corporate, large corporate, middle market, specialties and programs sectors through the individual member companies of Zurich in North America, including Zurich American Insurance Company and Zurich Insurance Company Ltd (Canadian Branch). Life insurance and disability coverage issued in the United States in all states except New York is issued by Zurich American Life Insurance Company, an Illinois domestic life insurance company. In New York, life insurance and disability coverage is issued by Zurich American Life Insurance Company of New York, a New York domestic life insurance company. For more information about the products and services it offers and people Zurich employs around the world go to www.zurichna.com. 2012 marked Zurich's 100-year anniversary of insuring America and the success of its customers, shareholders and employees.

In Canada, Zurich is focused on developing solutions for medium and large corporations, Canadian-based multinationals, and customers in the technology, transportation, public sector, real estate, construction, manufacturing and management industries. For more information about the products and services it offers and people Zurich employs around the world, go to www.zurichcanada.com.

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