Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, has quickly become a fixation in the financial services industry as a result of its potential to revolutionize and transform our thinking about data sharing and security. In considering the technology, senior business and IT leaders at property and casualty (P&C) companies must balance their natural skepticism about “next big thing” trends with a clear recognition of both the largescale impacts and significant upside.
After all, it’s not hype to say that the value creation opportunity is huge and the possibilities of future applications are many. Similarly, it’s not hard to see how distributed, secure, peer-to-peer ledgers — the mysterious and exotic-sounding technology behind blockchain — may one day be as common in the insurance industry as Structured Query Language (SQL) databases. Blockchain has the potential to evolve into a core, underlying element in the technology “stacks” of most P&C carriers, supporting a diverse range of processes and part of your company’s future technology “plumbing.”
P&C executives must also keep in mind that these are still very early days. Blockchain in 2016 is roughly where the World Wide Web was in 1996 — on the radar of forward-thinking companies, but still a long way from adoption at scale. Therefore, the question for most P&C companies is not whether they will adopt blockchain, but rather what and how to start testing and proving out the value proposition.