Smart contracts in the Insurance industry
Insurance has been considered as a “grudge purchase” by consumers and can only be tested once a claim has been submitted. The person makes regular payments while the insurer makes a promise to cover if or in case of possible damage. The flaw in this arrangement is that both parties don’t trust each other. Current insurance flaws include:
• Inefficient information between client and insurer
• Use of a middleman i.e. broker
• Manual claims process
• Delay in claims being processed and payment being made
Smart contracts are able to bridge the gap between insurers and clients by offering the following advantages
• Correct risk evaluation of clients because of detailed records
• Lower administration cost – fewer underwriters required
• Lower prices – the risk associated with each client is unique and policies can be tailored according to the risk profile of each client
• Fraudulent claims can be detected earlier
• Automatic payments after uncontested claims are processed
• Secure distributed database of policy documents
The thing to remember is that insurance companies incur costs even with the smallest contract that they setup. These costs are eventually absorbed by the consumer in the form of higher premiums. Smart contracts have been shown to be beneficial to the insurance industry by streamlining several activities and also offer clients transparency, trust and cost saving implications.
Life insurance is one if the simplest “if, then” policies that can be used on Blockchain using a Smart contract. Once the policy holder has died the life insurer then pays out to the surviving family members. The policy usually requires proof of the deceased in the form of a death certificate and several documents needs to be completed before the policy can be paid out. The problem arises if the policyholder has several life insurance policies with different life insurance companies. Policy documents can be misplaced, lost or destroyed in fires or floods. Smart contracts can alleviate the problem by digitally storing the contract in the ledger on the Blockchain. This would allow the policy to be available to the policyholder, any beneficiaries and the insurance company. An oracle can be configured to work with numerous blockchains, external sources, and any necessary entity involved with automating the execution of the smart contract.
Final expenses insurance
This is a type of insurance where a fixed amount is paid out upon the person death to help cover expenses like costs. The Smart contract can perform the same function as that of a Life insurance smart contract.