Connect with us

Top 10





Ryan Rugg, Global Head of The Industry Business Unit at R3


The history of insurance traces back to the development of modern business and insuring against its risks; property, cargo, medical and death. Insurance helps mitigate losses, wary of the financial losses a capsized ship could cause, forward-thinking vessel owners established communal funds that could pay for damages to any individual’s ship within the group. While this basic concept holds strong to this day, insurance is now a multi-trillion dollar industry that impacts almost every other sector of business, from healthcare to capital markets and aviation.

Despite the insurance industry’s image of being a conservative sector, insurers have been consistently innovative in the property and perils they protect against, but the supporting technologies and infrastructure have remained antiquated and unfit for purpose. Operational inefficiency is the single biggest threat facing the insurance industry today, and insurers are now taking steps to tackle this challenge head-on with purpose-built enterprise blockchain technology.



Ryan Rugg

Inefficiency and fragmentation

Blockchain provides a solution to drive efficiency and security that would allow private data to be shared in a secure manner. Many policies are still sold over the phone rather than online, and the policies themselves are then processed on paper contracts, introducing huge potential for manual errors in claims and payments. This anachronistic infrastructure is even more surprising when you consider the complexity of the insurance ecosystem and the amount of parties involved in a transaction, including consumers, brokers, insurers, reinsurers and more.

The costs of this inefficiency and fragmentation are well documented. Inaccurate, disparate sources of data acquisition lead to long underwriting cycles and inaccurate risk profiling. Extensive manual intervention is required across the insurance value chain, ranging from contract placement to claims settlement. Archaic billing systems and complex billing processes lead to high reconciliation costs. Ambiguity in loss conditions, assessment procedures and claim settlement delays leads to increased litigation risk. It has been estimated that as much as 60% of customer premiums is consumed by these inefficiencies.[1]

In addition, increasingly stringent and dynamic regulatory requirements continue to impact areas such as renewals and claims assessment. Insurers often have a complete lack of visibility of their liabilities and obligations, and a lack of transparency across the entire business. In today’s regulatory climate, it is unsurprising that authorities are beginning to demand more from insurers.

Blockchain technology is not a panacea for all of these problems, but with the right architecture a platform can address and reduce inefficiencies.  There are also new revenue and growth opportunities in cutting-edge sectors such as cyber insurance that blockchain technology can help enable.


Tackling the blockchain privacy challenge

Blockchain offers insurance firms a new way to coordinate information between each other, by using a pre-agreed technology solution instead of relying on a third party’s bookkeeping. The technology enables disparate parties to connect via a shared platform environment. While this premise may appear simple at first glance, the insurance industry has specific requirements in relation to privacy and security that only certain blockchain platforms can fulfil.

For example, if a blockchain has the appropriate data privacy architecture in place, each insurance firm can maintain the same amount of control over their data as today, but with more flexibility. Unlike the traditional permission-less blockchain platforms – in which all data is shared with all parties – Corda shares information with those who have a “need to know,” ensuring the confidentiality of trades and agreements while also capturing the benefits of a shared distributed ledger infrastructure.

Blockchain platforms such as R3’s Corda have been purpose built for enterprise usage in industries such as insurance and tackle issues such as data privacy, scalability and security head-on. Following a period of experimentation with multiple consortia and technologies, insurers are now consolidating their blockchain efforts around Corda.

Testament to this is the recent decision of the industry-leading B3i consortium to port from IBM’s Fabric to Corda or RiskBlock decision to port from Ethereum.  All the major insurance groups and ecosystems are coalescing on Corda in order to effect change and form standards. As Metcalfe’s Law states, the value of a network is proportional to the number of connections in the network squared – the more insurers that build upon on a common platform, the more valuable the platform becomes to all participants due to the interoperability of applications. The consolidation around Corda creates network effects industry-wide.


Contract placement: leveraging the network effect

To more tangibly examine the benefits of these network effects, we can look at a specific insurance use case that involves a network of many different entities and counterparties – contract placement.

Contract placement is the process of negotiating a potential insurance contract between a broker and an insurer in order to issue the contract to provide coverage for an end customer. For most commercial and specialty insurance scenarios, except for small commercial and some mid-market products, this is an arduous, complex process involving several entities – a broker, one or more insurers, and potentially a reinsurer and reinsurance broker. Furthermore, outsized risks generally mean that multiple insurers come together to insure the risk at the requested limit price, resulting in additional complexity for the broker in managing the placement process.

Contract placement, with the extensive negotiation cycle between a broker and insurers, as well as between an insurer and reinsurers – with or without a reinsurance broker thrown in – has several inefficiencies related to inter-firm coordination. Extensive manual intervention and reconciliation is required for brokers, insurers and reinsurers to keep track of requests and responses; high IT spend is required for all participating parties to maintain an audit trail of the negotiation history between different entities; and each firm must make heavy investments in document storage systems to maintain separate contracts over the policy lifecycle.

Leveraging the network effect by connecting brokers, insurers and reinsurers onto the same blockchain platform can deliver numerous benefits. These include:

  • Near-instantaneous communication between participating parties to eliminate delays associated with reconciliation and coordination;
  • Real-time consensus among all parties involved in the contract on coverage, price, terms and conditions;
  • Complete audit trail from all sides of negotiations and data exchanges;
  • Greater regulatory compliance throughout the insurance industry due to instantaneous communication of in-force contracts to the regulator;
  • Eliminating the “double spend” problem of having the customer buy the same policy from different insurers by involving the notary (regulator);
  • Reduced IT spend for individual firms, with eventual decommissioning of legacy document storage systems and reducing spend on document generation systems.


A brighter future

Blockchain technology offers great promise across many avenues, not only contract placement. Platforms like Corda can add value to many insurance business segments – commercial and specialty insurance, life insurance, personal lines and health insurance, along with niche areas like marine and trade credit.

The industry’s recent consolidation around Corda reaffirms that data privacy is pivotal for a network of enterprises and that the platform’s peer-to-peer data sharing approach matters for insurance blockchain applications going into production. For a highly regulated industry like insurance, only Corda can ensure that the entire supply chain of brokers, insurers, reinsurers and consumers can interact in a seamless, secure and private manner.

From contract placement to insurance as an industry, we are excited to see the new opportunities and efficiencies that blockchain technology will enable between this wide ecosystem of participants now that the right network – Corda – is in place.




Emerging technology will power long-term sustainability within the UK banking industry 




By Peter-Jan Van De Venn, VP Global Digital Banking at Hexaware Mobiquity.


Sustainability has been a big focus for the banking industry in recent years, with the issue becoming increasingly important for consumers. It’s no wonder that sustainability has become baked into the purposes of almost every bank, from Natwest to HSBC.

However, the economic uncertainty of the last year has led to many banks putting it on the back burner. Challenging market conditions have forced financial institutions to change their priorities to concentrate on protecting the bottom line. Our research found there’s been a significant drop in the number of UK banks saying that sustainability remains a key business strategy. 12 months ago it was a major priority for 100 per cent of banks, but now that number has shrunk to 60 percent.

Whilst it’s understandable that banks are feeling the pressure at the moment, there’s a risk that they will miss out if they hit the pause button. From cost savings brought by innovative digital products and services, to improved brand reputation and increased profitability, there are a lot of longer-term benefits they could be failing to unlock. So how can they keep moving forward?

Losing momentum

Emerging technology holds the key to their success, with the power to disrupt current behaviours and promote a more sustainable culture. Banks are already aware of this, with 76 percent using digital transformation to drive sustainability, but a lack of leadership has made it difficult to build momentum in the last 12 months. Currently just over half (54 percent) of banks have tasked an executive at board level with overseeing sustainability – way down from 83% just 12 months ago.

This lack of board authority means banks are struggling to engage the entire organisation to move ahead with sustainable initiatives. As a result, almost two-thirds of banks are seeing progress slow, admitting they are not actively taking steps to foster more sustainable behaviours throughout the organisation. Those that have taken their foot off the gas need to find a way to move forward again.

No time for standing still

Banks know that technology can drive sustainable behaviour. For instance, many of them are already encouraging their workforce to work remotely, as a way of reducing travel. This has two benefits – not only does it cut the costs of running physical offices at full capacity, but also reduces the bank’s carbon footprint. There has never been a better time to invest in technology to drive more sustainable behaviours.

New digital products and services can also extend the benefits beyond employees to encompass the wider customer base. A fair number of banks are already investing to make this happen. More than a third (35 percent) of banking organisations are using Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud and analytics to make digital services more easily accessible. Investment in these technologies will be critical as the number of physical bank branches continues to decrease, with figures from Which? showing this is taking place at a rate of 54 branch closures each month.

Hitting environmental and social responsibility goals

Emerging technologies can also help banks keep pace with tightening ESG rules and regulations. Banks are faced with demands for increasingly granular reporting and transparency on ESG – demanding a new approach. In line, 41% of them are developing data visualisation tools to improve stakeholder engagement and understanding of ESG risks and opportunities, while 37% are using machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify and track ESG risks and opportunities across a wide range of data sources.

More than one in three are also using the blockchain to improve transparency and traceability in supply chains, and implementing digital tools and platforms to collect, analyse, and report ESG data and metrics in a standardised and consistent manner. All these applications of emerging technology will put banks on track to address global environmental challenges and unlock a greener future.

Long-term sustainability

As the economic pressures hopefully start to subside, increasing numbers of banks will start investigating how they can use emerging technologies to provide engaging experiences and value-added services for customers, to drive greater revenue and efficiencies.

Whilst banks are right to focus on their revenue under difficult trading conditions, it’s important they don’t miss out on the long-term benefits that sustainability can bring. To capitalise on this, banks must keep pushing the boundaries and invest in emerging innovations to drive more sustainable banking behaviours, benefiting the planet and driving great digital experiences for customers.

Continue Reading


The Future of Banking: Streamlined Cash Management for ATMs




Gaetano Ziri, Innovation Manager, Auriga


“Maintaining free access to cash for the community demands robust strategies to mitigate the escalating costs incurred by banks and ATM operators in handling cash. A pivotal step in this direction is modernising cash management systems to foster efficiency and reduce operational costs.

Back in 2018, a report by McKinsey underscored the urgent need to overhaul the largely manual and disjointed systems relied upon by nearly half the banks worldwide for forecasting cash requirements at branches and ATMs. Despite the decrease in cash usage noted by the European Central Bank, the cost of managing cash has not abated, primarily due to surging labour costs.

To reconcile the demand for free access to cash with the requisite cost reductions, banks are increasingly turning towards tech-driven solutions in cash management that elevate service levels while driving down expenses.

The Complex Landscape of ATM Network Management

Operating a vast ATM network can be a double-edged sword for banks, simultaneously offering customer convenience and engendering considerable challenges, including substantial cash handling, management, transit and security costs. Each ATM embodies a multifaceted operation involving numerous cash transfer operatives, necessitating a coordinated strategy to forestall costly inefficiencies.

The remedy is a holistic, data-centric approach to streamline the management of intricate ATM networks and counter the escalating costs associated with cash access. The merits of such an approach, grounded in continuous data collection and analysis across ATM networks, encompass:

  • Strategic Planning: Leveraging real-time data to craft bespoke strategies for individual branches or regions, assuring optimal cash flow management and averting superfluous cash loading orders.
  • Operational Transparency: Facilitating stakeholders with instantaneous access to accounting and operational data relating to cash supply chains, thereby enabling timely interventions and adaptations.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Minimising ATM downtimes to guarantee uninterrupted cash access to customers, enhancing their banking experience.

Innovations in Cash Management: A Closer Look

So, how does this revolutionary cash management technology function? The answer lies in a series of sophisticated features that employ cutting-edge predictive analytics, automation, and data-driven decision-making:

  • Predictive Analysis: Forward-thinking solutions predict cash necessities of distinct units, offering precise demand and cash flow projections by considering variables such as seasonal fluctuations, holidays, and daily usage trends.
  • Automation and Monitoring: Swapping manual processes or basic mathematical functions with modern software solutions for cash management ushers in real-time monitoring and efficient intervention planning, which can potentially diminish order management costs by a significant margin, whilst improving precision and operational fluidity.
  • Optimised Cash Transit Management: Utilising predictive analytics to strategically plan cash restocks, thereby reducing the likelihood of ATMs depleting their cash reserves and improving customer satisfaction.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Availing a comprehensive dashboard to generate timely reports and monitor critical metrics facilitates strategic decision-making grounded in accurate data, substantially reducing residual cash stock in ATMs.

As the financial landscape evolves, banks and financial institutions are impelled to adapt and innovate. Traditional cash management approaches are increasingly becoming outdated, paving the way for modern, data-driven solutions. These not only embody a commitment to technological advancement but also signify a strategic movement towards future readiness.

Embracing such technologies promises streamlined operations, substantial cost reductions, and a superior customer experience, setting a new standard in ATM network management.”

Continue Reading



Business15 hours ago

In-platform solutions are only a short-term enhancement, but bespoke AI is the future

By Damien Bennett, Global Director, Principal Consultant, Incubeta   If you haven’t heard anyone talking about artificial intelligence (AI) yet,...

Business2 days ago

Exploring the Transformative Potential and Ethical Challenges of AI in Wealth Management

Nuno Godinho, Group CEO of Industrial Thought Group   In recent years, the advent of AI has sparked both excitement...

4 common myths about the role of open source in financial services 4 common myths about the role of open source in financial services
Banking2 days ago

Are SaaS platforms challenging banks for a piece of the payments pie?

Attributed to: Ralph Dangelmaier, Global CEO of BlueSnap   The finance industry is at a tipping point with software firms...

Banking2 days ago

Emerging technology will power long-term sustainability within the UK banking industry 

By Peter-Jan Van De Venn, VP Global Digital Banking at Hexaware Mobiquity.   Sustainability has been a big focus for...

FinTech Trends In 2022 FinTech Trends In 2022
Business2 days ago

Is your business suffering with Fintech FOMO?

Tom Kiddle, Chief Commercial Officer at Equals Money   It’s a challenging time for businesses of all sizes, but the past three...

Banking2 days ago

The Future of Banking: Streamlined Cash Management for ATMs

Gaetano Ziri, Innovation Manager, Auriga   “Maintaining free access to cash for the community demands robust strategies to mitigate the...

Top 102 days ago

Can AI revolutionise wealth management?

~ The benefits of AI when collecting and analysing financial data ~   Global fintech company Finder reported that around...

AI and machine learning AI and machine learning
Finance2 days ago

Where is the value in generative AI for financial services?

Michael Conway, Executive Partner, Data, AI and Technology Transformation Service Line Leader at IBM Consulting   The New York Times...

Technology2 days ago

Connecting the security dots with cyber fusion 

Anuj Goel, Co-founder and CEO at Cyware  Against the backdrop of Russian-based hacktivists declaring war on Europe’s financial systems, the...

Business2 days ago

Exploring the symbiotic advantages of SoftPoS for merchants and consumers

By: Brad Hyett, CEO at phos by Ingenico   Amid the dynamic shifts that have come to define today’s fintech...

Finance2 days ago

Investing In Bitcoin: What You Need To Understand Before You Buy

Bitcoin—the digital currency that launched a financial revolution—is more than a trending investment. This decentralized currency, free from traditional banking...

News4 days ago

How the LEI Can Help Financial Institutions ‘Address’ a Growing Challenge in ISO 20022

The vast complexity and inconsistency of address formats globally presents significant challenges for financial institutions. In this blog, GLEIF’s Head...

Banking5 days ago

Building towards an inclusive financial future

By Catharina Eklof, CCO of IDEX Biometrics    From the visually impaired to displaced migrants, the unbanked, and people living...

Business6 days ago

Euro deep tech M&A deal value expected to reach $20bn+ in the next 15 months

Written by Oliver Warren, Associate at DAI Magister   Investment in European deep tech has mirrored the broader decline in...

Business1 week ago

Why ESG Investing Is Becoming More Important

Author: Urtė Karklienė, Sustainability Manager at Oxylabs   Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) term was first mentioned in a 2004...

Banking1 week ago

Preparing banks for digital transformation

By Joman Kwong, Strategic Solutions Manager, Financial Services at Laserfiche   Today, digital transformation is imperative for every industry. After...

Finance1 week ago

The critical tech to deliver personalised digital financial experiences 

Jay Sanderson, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Digital Experience at Progress   Providing customers with outstanding digital experiences is now a must...

Banking1 week ago

Bank-fintech partnerships can shape the future of cross-border payments

Steve Naudé, Head of Wise Platform   People and businesses are more interconnected than ever. In today’s global economy, international...

Business2 weeks ago

DORA Compliance in Financial Organisations: What You Need to Know

Nick Hogg, Director of Security Training, Fortra   The regulatory landscape is tightening for European banking, financial, and insurance institutions....

Business2 weeks ago

How sound investment research can revive the City of London

Author: Neil Shah, Director at Edison Group   A few months ago, leading portfolio manager Nick Train described the modern...