Insurance contracts usually don't look like this (via Shutterstock).

Marsh moves proof of insurance blockchain from concept to reality

The world’s largest insurance broker found that distributed ledger technology made a complex manual task simple

Insurance brokerage firm Marsh announced today that it is moving its Proof of Insurance Blockchain from proof of concept to a working platform.

The insurance broker and risk advisor is part of Part of Marsh & McLennan Companies, with $14 billion in revenues the world’s largest risk services company.

Launched a year ago in partnership with IBM Blockchain on Hyperledger Fabric, Marsh’s distributed ledger-based Proof of Insurance platform is intended to speed and automate the complex and often manual process of ensuring that business partners such as contractors have the coverage necessary to even be allowed on premises.

“Proof of insurance is a key business requirement for many industries,” said Martin South, president of Marsh’s U.S. and Canada division. “By vastly simplifying the process of obtaining certificates, we will enable clients to spend more time focused on the things that matter such as growing their business.”

The initial rollout, to a select group of Marsh clients, will feature a self-service digital app allowing them to “easily search, view, issue, and re-issue their certificates of insurance on-demand 24 hours a day,” Marsh said in a statement. Further capabilities will be added throughout the year.

The release an important milestone that “builds a robust foundation for creating the network of networks that will enable certificate issuance and verification on a much broader scale, while providing intuitive digital self-service for our clients,” said Sastry Durvasula, chief digital officer and chief data and analytics officer for Marsh.

When the pilot program was launched on April 16, 2018, the first Marsh client was Dallas-based ISN, a leading contractor and supplier information management firm.  

“The insurance industry has been dependent on paper certificates of insurance, manually populated by an insurance agent,” said Brett Parker, technical insurance lead of ISN at the time. “By digitizing the policy information, we can streamline the process saving our customers time to focus on their core competencies.”

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Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson has put some 401k money into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.