Maersk Launches the First-Ever Blockchain Marine Insurance Platform

AP Moller-Maersk, the Danish shipping conglomerate, has launched the first-ever blockchain platform for marine insurance. Known as Insurwave, the platform aims to leverage the blockchain to revolutionize the management of risk in the industry as well as interactions between stakeholders. The platform was built on R3’s Corda blockchain and, as reported by Seatrade Maritime News, it is in commercial operation at consulting firm Willis Towers Watson, insurance companies XL Catlin and MS Amlin, and Maersk itself.

Alleviating Inefficiencies

Maersk has been trialing the platform and will continue to use it for marine hull insurance after a successful pilot. Insurwave is expected to manage over 1,000 vessels annually, executing over 500,000 transactions on its distributed ledger. The company’s head of insurance and risk, Lars Henneberg, described the platform as one with the potential to alleviate longstanding inefficiencies.

Operating around 350 owned container vessels across the world, marine insurance takes up considerable resources for us. Moving it to this platform is helping us automate manual processes and alleviate a range of inefficiencies and frictional costs in the way we have used to trade marine insurance.

The excitement was echoed by Willis Towers Watson through its CEO, Alastair Swift. Swift stated that the company was delighted to be part of the project, identifying the benefits of using the blockchain as the streamlining and simplification of the transaction process, which will add value to the services the company offers its clients.

R3 described the platform as groundbreaking in a blog post, citing reduced costs, compliance, and increased revenue as the three main benefits of using Insurwave. Todd McDonald, R3’s Head of Partnerships, cited the complex and tedious processes involved in marine insurance as the key factor that made the industry an “ideal prospect for a blockchain-based overhaul.” Insurwave will use Corda’s blockchain to connect clients’ assets, transactions and payments, maintain asset data from multiple sources, and capture up-to-date data.

All parties have real-time visibility into the location, condition, and safety of high-value assets moving around the world, which leads to accurate, dynamic, and fair underwriting and pricing. Participants additionally realize significant operational savings from streamlining the work of large risk management, policy amendment, and claims processing staffs.

In the future, the platform will expand its focus to include global logistics, the energy sector, the aviation industry, and marine cargo. The expansion will be led by Microsoft, Ernst and Young, and Guardtime, a software security provider.

The chief information officer at XL Catlin, Martin Henley, revealed that as time progresses, the platform would turn to the Internet of Things and smart contracts to automatically update its policies to better reflect changing risks. As a result, Insurwave will become more efficient in assessing claims and settling payments. With the benefits of the platform being immense, the team behind Insurwave will work on opening it up to other insurance segments, Henley added.