New York-based insurance company, MetLife, is planning to revamp the life insurance claims process by utilizing Ethereum’s blockchain. MetLife’s Singapore-based incubator, LumenLab, is partnering with Singapore Press Holdings, a media group, and insurance cooperative, NTUC Income, to release a smart contract platform built on Ethereum called Lifechain.
MetLife has previously used blockchain technology and public ledger for a mobile app called Vitana, which was supported by Ethereum to pay out claims to expectant mothers who contracted gestational diabetes. The core smart contract platform that is used in Lifechain will be very closely related to what was built for Vitana, the company’s first successful pilot.
In an interview with Forbes, Zia Zaman, CIO of MetLife Asia and CEO of LumenLab, said,
“The future of distributed ledger technology in life insurance will somewhat depend on public sector involvement. Those jurisdictions and governments that are more innovative will see citizens and policyholders in their jurisdictions benefit from less friction, more fulfilled payments, and a general overall improved experience.”
The private nature of life insurance will sometimes leave families of the deceased unaware if the deceased was insured. This innovation could also lower prices and develop new services around tokenization. After the loss of a family member, Lifechain will programmatically determine if a person was protected by a policy and will automatically file a claim, eliminating the multiple steps involved in the process.
A death certificate will be issued by a government database, following which the system retrieves the deceased person’s National Registration Identity Card. This is further encrypted onto the Ethereum blockchain and this triggers queries on NTUC Income’s database looking for a matching policy. Once the match is found, Singapore Press Holdings will inform family members and release a obituary, while the NTUC Income initiates the life insurance claim process.
On a separate topic, Zia Zaman commented on Facebook’s cryptocurrency, Libra. He said,
“We have no plans on doing that, nor have we thought about it for our existing use cases. That doesn’t preclude it from the future of course, but for now we have not thought about it.”