Global management consulting and professional services firm Accenture has teamed up with Generali Employee Benefits (GEB) to create a new blockchain solution for the employee benefits sector.
Through blockchain technology, participants in the reinsurance process to captive services, access the same data, which in turn, reduces processing errors through smart contracts and automated reconciliation taking advantage of distributed ledger technology (DLT) architecture.
Daniele Presutti, who leads Accenture’s Insurance practice in Europe, says “You can share data today—but blockchain allows you to see the data, and it’s a full view of the data that’s relevant to them. It is important to note that only stakeholders that need to see the data will have access. And, if anyone tries to tamper with, duplicate or modify any part of the record, all stakeholders will know.”
Established in 1966, GEB is an employee benefits solutions provider. It operates one of the world’s largest network by bringing together the capabilities of over 100 countries to serve more than 1,500 multinational companies.
The solution streamlines GEB’s employee benefit operating model for captive services, offering customers globally a range of employee benefit solutions, such as life, short and long-term disability, accident and healthcare insurance.
These local offerings are completed with reinsurance from Generali to captive or pooling services to best serve multinational corporations that need to centrally manage the insurance scheme and financials.
GEB’s prototype was first unveiled in 2018 to Syngenta, a leading agriculture company, and local insurers in Spain, Switzerland, and Serbia. According to GEB, the prototype demonstrated significant results, such as the lowering of costs and saving time. Data quality is also improved for all stakeholders because it is entered once and agreed upon by all stakeholders.
Sergio Di Caro, GEB’s Chief Executive Officer, said “This prototype represents a step forward for GEB and for the insurance industry. The use of blockchain technology allows for a truly connected ecosystem and a seamless partnership between clients, advisers, local insurers and Generali. Blockchain will change not only our Network but the employee benefits industry as we know it.”
The benefits claimed for GEB’s reinsurance processes are summarized as follows:
- Greater transparency: Sharing the same ledger between all parties will facilitate and increase data quality thanks to the transparency of any transaction and data transformation. Everything is archived and authorized in a decentralized system and platform to ensure that data is processed in a reliable and transparent way
- A move away from batch executions: At present, the business model is bound to fixed deadlines as everything is done quarterly with a number of delays after the closing of the quarter. The project goal is to create a reliable platform, agile and independent of the frequency, allowing GEB and partners to move away from batch executions.
- Elimination of human errors: Blockchain technology removes the need for constant manual interventions, thus eliminating multiple reworks and reconciliations of the same data set and reducing to zero human errors.
- Increased efficiency and speed: Today, reconciliations and settlements are done by different departments using different technologies, potentially introducing time shift and accounting issues. Through blockchain technology, accounts payable are automatically shared between the involved parties, enabling cascading to the treasury, and banks, with no manual intervention required.
“Accenture designed, implemented and deployed the blockchain solution over the last six months, using a team located in the UK, US and Latvia. Accenture engaged with the key stakeholders, including GEB and the involved clients, to tailor the DLT solution to the real needs of the employee benefits network. It also ran the overall project governance,” says Presutti.
During 2016, 15 global insurers and reinsurers came together under The Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative B3i. The B3i initiative explored the potential use-cases for blockchain technology within the insurance industry. This inspired GEB-Accenture to develop their own blockchain solution for the employee benefits (EB) sector, and it will be interesting to see if GEB and Accenture are able to standardize their solution across the reassurance sector.
“This is the direction to go, but definitely we need to take a prudent and coordinated approach. Our ambition is to initially enlarge the scope of the prototype also to the other business lines of Generali Global Lines and, to do so, we have to first assess internally this feasibility,” says Di Caro.