Blockchain in Insurance

Held on Thursday, November 22, 2018


  • Richard Phipps ( Swiss Re)

  • Mike Hope (IBM)

  • John Salmon (Hogan Lovells)



I have mellowed towards the blockchain. I am currently persuaded that there is little a distributed database can’t do, for only slightly more than a centralised database would cost. And it’s not much slower. But there are much cleverer people than me who are far more bullish on the technology.

Many of the “use cases” that blockchain advocates propose in financial services – KYC, settlement, registries and so on – are really just industry utilities. Maybe, pooling resources could save time and effort on tasks that cost money but add little to the customer experience.

The advantage of doing that on a blockchain is that (in theory) it avoids creating a central counterparty – no exchange or clearing house that might one day have the industry over a barrel thanks to the network effect.

Can the insurance industry pull together and create mutual utilities on the blockchain? I don’t know (and I remain a tad sceptical about ‘permissioned’ systems) – but I am delighted that we (with the support of Swiss Re) have pulled together a distinguished panel to discuss the opportunities:

  • Richard Phipps, director and co-lead of the Blockchain practice at Swiss Re. He has been in the reinsurance business for over twenty years, delivering projects across underwriting, retrocession and finance.

  • Mike Hope is chief technology officer for IBM’s Insurance Enterprise Unit, and their industry technical leader for insurance. His current engagements include a number of blockchain deployments.

  • John Salmon is an IT partner at Hogan Lovells, recognised as a ‘leading individual’ for FinTech by The Legal 500. He has extensive experience of data sharing in financial services, including the development of both the Origo Legal Framework and TISA Exchange.

If you or a colleague would like to join us, please let Alex know by emailing or by phoning the Centre (0207 621 1056). Thanks to Swiss Re, sandwiches and so forth will be provided.

Sincerely yours,

Andrew Hilton