Chinese InsurTech company ZhongAn is working with Shanghai’s insurance regulatory bureau to build a blockchain-based reinsurance platform, according to reports.
In an article published by the South China Morning Post, ZhongAn’s online property and casualty technology unit chief Chen Wei said the technology will help improve security and the traceability of reinsured policies.
“We are trying to combine blockchain with real life scenarios,” said Chen, adding that ZhongAn Tech, the specialised technology incubator of ZhongAn, has a dedicated team to explore avant-garde technologies.
ZhongAn is China’s first digital insurer founded by Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma Yun, Tencent Holdings chairman Pony Ma Huateng, and Ping An Insurance chairman Peter Ma Mingzhe in 2013.
In 2016, it launched ZhongAn Tech, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ZhongAn, to explore technology innovation focusing on four main areas: artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing, and data driven.
According to Chen, ZhongAn Tech now serves about 10 Chinese insurers, helping them to better tailor their services and improve risk analysis.
He added that the incubator has already used blockchain to store all insurance policies from its parent ZhongAn Online in a secure manner.
Blockchain, the distributed ledger technology behind cryptocurrencies, is a digital data structure that is most recognised for verifying and recording transactions using a network of computers rather than a centralised authority.
Blockchain and its applications have gained ground in China over the past year despite a crackdown by the authorities on the trading of cryptocurrencies, which rely upon the blockchain technology.
“Insurance is backed by statistics and blockchain will help to connect that massive and varied data,” said Chen, who believes that the technology will play a “tremendous role” in transforming China’s centuries-old insurance sector according to the report.
“It will be used to manage risk and improve pricing,” he added.
Chen said the company already has data-sharing agreements with over 100 hospitals in China to streamline record verification and automatic claims.
“Insurance sales used to rely on agents and individual sales people, however younger generations prefer making online purchases,” Chen said.
“Insurance clients no longer need to file paper documents as proof, instead they can just say when and which hospital they attended,” he added.