Let’s Be Careful Out There

At various points in the year, we like to review some of the things that have been forecasted to take place in or be important to the insurance industry. As a result of such a review, we came across a piece from PropertyCasualty360 called, “Four trends shaping insurance in 2019.” In brief, the four predicted trends were:

  1. Virtual claims adjusting
  2. Innovative use of mobile technology
  3. Better, more powerful data
  4. Blockchain will get bigger.

The first three are pretty much indisputable. Given the capabilities unleashed by the Internet (hello, IoE), the digitalization of darn-near everything, the ubiquitous advancement of mobile capabilities, the data generated by, accessible to, and running all those things, their inevitability couldn’t have been disputed. We do, however, wonder about #4.

The Jury’s Out

In November of last year, The Register published this — “Blockchain study finds 0.00% success rate and vendors don’t call back when asked for evidence” — which is the kind of thing that grabs our attention, especially when blockchain is being hailed more optimistically in other quarters. This was hard to ignore:

We found a proliferation of press releases, white papers, and persuasively written articles … However, we found no documentation or evidence of the results blockchain was purported to have achieved in these claims. We also did not find lessons learned or practical insights, as are available for other technologies in development.

We weren’t ready to give up on blockchain’s future in the insurance industry. In fact, some people, publications, and companies like SAP still hold out hope for it. But this one hurts a little more — “Blockchain Has Been Unblocked, Unchained And Broken” — especially when you get to this part:

Hackers have stolen nearly $2 billion worth of cryptocurrency since the beginning of 2017, mostly from exchanges, and that’s just what has been revealed publicly … One does wonder why Blockchain is so wonderful, then, if in practical use, its supposed greater security is so easily circumvented … To anyone with a shred of common sense, this is a fatal event.

Don’t Panic

We can’t be any more hasty in dismissing blockchain than some folks were in embracing it. As it is with any new technology, time is our best friend. So, let’s watch and wait. We can’t be certain of the outcome. But we can be certain we’ll learn something.

We’re not saying blockchain is dead or dying. All we’re saying is let’s be careful out there.

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