Blockchain and insurance:
a review for operations
Faculty of Business and Society, University of South Wales, Pontypridd, UK and
Department of Marketing and Business Computing,
Technological University Dublin –Tallaght Campus, Tallaght, Ireland
Purpose –The purpose of this paper is to examine the operational and regulatory positions of the
employment of Blockchainin the insurance industry. Blockchain technologyhas attracted wide interest from
various stakeholders. Many theorists are predicting that this technology will disrupt ﬁnancial services,
including insurance. As statedthat the development of blockchain is dependent on regulatory acceptanceof
this technology, it is essentialto establish the current state of play with regard to the application and use of
blockchainfrom a commercial and regulatory standpoints.
Design/methodology/approach –This review encompasses a number of approaches to view the
current status of Blockchain applications. From a commercial approach, this research lists the current
applications of blockchain within the insurance industry. From a regulatory point of view, the current
positions of the EU and national regulatory bodies are enquired upon to establish how they are examining
FinTech andBlockchain technologies within theirregulatory processes.
Findings –This review illustrates a numberof Blockchain applications in situ from a commercial point of
view. From a regulatorysetting and following a call from international andEU levels, it appears that various
regulatory bodies have begun theprocess of formulating testing processes for FinTech applications. There
are two predominant types in operation, while othersare forming points of contact for advice for FinTechs
and a small amount who have not begunthe process at all.
Research limitations/implications –This review illustratesthe current state of play of blockchain in
insurance from a commercial and regulatory point of view. While this has been observational, this review
pulls together information from various sources to encapsulate the regulatory positioning of evaluating
FinTech andBlockchain technologies for academia,regulatory and industry audiences.
Originality/value –This review offersa central resource of information with regard to the currentstate of
blockchaintechnologies in operation and regulatory approachesto this and other FinTech developments.
Keywords Regulation, Compliance, Insurance, FinTech, Blockchain, Sandbox
Paper type General review
Blockchain technology and its development in the FinTech sector are dependent on laws and
regulations which will affect how far and how fast the technology develops, and regulatory
approaches will need to balance its innovative spirit against the possibility of unintentional
systemic risks to the ﬁnancial system (Yeoh, 2017). Scrutiny of the growth of Bitcoin and other
cryptocurrencies has resulted in greater focus on the concept of distributed Blockchain
databases (English et al., 2016). The enthusiasm for blockchain is summarised by Swan (2015)
who states that the potential beneﬁts of blockchain are more than just economic, they extend
into the political, humanitarian, social and scientiﬁc domains and the technological capacity of
Blockchain is already being harnessed by speciﬁc groups to address real-world problems.
Received17 September 2018
Revised25 April 2019
Accepted30 May 2019
Journalof Financial Regulation
Vol.28 No. 2, 2020
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