InsurTech Futures: Simply Business hosts blockchain hackathon


Winning team developed weather insurance platform for organisers of major outdoor events.

Simply Business has hosted a blockchain-themed hackathon to explore the opportunities that blockchain presents to the insurance industry and determine the scale of future disruption that could come from the fintech sector.

The digital broker named Coders Without Insurers as the winning team, stating that the team used blockchain platform Ethereum to develop a weather insurance platform for organisers of major outdoor events such as festivals, with automated claims payouts based on weather APIs and Internet of Things (IoT) tools.

It further advised that Coders Without Insurance was particularly commended by judges for incorporating IoT into their concept after teams pitched their technologies to an international panel of judges.

The team’s concept involved enabling festival attendees to hold smart contracts to prevent them from losing out because of bad weather.

The ‘Break the Block’ hackathon event saw ten teams compete to develop blockchain base platforms entirely from scratch using Ethereum, Oraclize and other blockchain and smart contract tools.

According to Simply Business, the teams were joined by guest teams from two of the event’s main sponsors, Accenture and Travelers, and comprised developers and insurance professionals.

The runners-up were:

  • ICOsurance – The team used blockchain to insure Initial Coin Offering (ICO) investors against cyber-security attacks, which result in average thefts of tens of millions of dollars each month. It also used blockchain to demonstrate how a crowdsale contract could address the risk of fraud during an ICO by issuing an ‘Insurance Token’ with each cryptocurrency investment. ICOsurance won the ‘Best Use Case’ category.
  • Re X – The team used Ethereum to drive greater efficiencies in the reinsurance market by creating an exchange to trade insurers’ smart contracts as a new asset class. This exchange allows reinsurance markets to increase global investor participation and drive better pricing and it could increase policy transparency and the reach of insurance products to emerging markets. Re X was commended by judges for its potential, winning the ‘Most Sophisticated Insurance Product’ category.
  • My Claim Dossier – The team created distributed ledger architecture that can retain any customer’s full claims history; this enables insurers to create fairer alternative pricing strategies and allow customers to shop for better quotes without incurring the administrative costs that rigorous screening measures entail. The team proposed that smaller insurers could club together to cut costs of storing information on a large customer database. The team were awarded ‘Best Blockchain’ and ‘Best Concept’.

According to Simply Business, the international panel of judges and mentors came from the global insurance and legal industries as well as blockchain R&D specialists from the fintech and academic sectors.

Christoph Burgdofer, leader of Coders Without Insurance, said: “It has been a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

“We are at the edge of something revolutionary which will potentially turn the insurance industry, finance industry and other industries on their heads.”

He added: “We are excited to be among the people who have the opportunity to shape and design that future with our knowledge and experience.”

Mukta Patel, Senior Legal Counsel, Simply Business, continued: “At Simply Business, technological innovation and data are at the heart of the business.

“Innovation isn’t a word that you would traditionally associate with the insurance industry and so it was really exciting to stage an event where the brief was to use blockchain which is a very disruptive concept and apply it to insurance processes.”

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