An international multicarrier collaboration focused on testing the potential of blockchain in the industry has incorporated as a startup company.

The Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative (B3i) announced the formal launch of B3i Services AG in Zurich, Switzerland. B3i’s founders rolled out the new company, which previously operated as a collaborative initiative of 15 global insurers and reinsurers formed in late 2016 to explore and test the potential of blockchain in the industry.

Gerhard Lohmann, CFO of Reinsurance at Swiss Re, has been appointed as chairman of the company.

“The transition of B3i from consortium to independent company is a concrete step forward to realizing the enormous potential of blockchain for the insurance industry,” Lohmann said in prepared remarks.

Lohmann added he was excited to be part of an effort to spearhead technology that could “transform the industry and help make insurance more affordable, accessible and attractive for market segments that are currently disenfranchised or underprivileged.”

B3i Services AG’s purpose is to provide insurance products and services on a blockchain platform that substantially improves efficiency across the value chain of insurers and reinsurers — in some cases up to 30 percent, B3i Services said in a statement. The hope is that insurance companies and customers will benefit through improved speed, transparency, quality, security and cost, the company added.

B3i successfully completed its first product, a blockchain prototype for property-cat excess-of-loss reinsurance contracts, in mid-2017. Throughout October 2017, a group of 38 insurers, brokers and reinsurers tested its functionality and robustness. The prototype demonstrated that transactions could become quicker, more efficient and more secure than with current methods.

The first live trades on the platform are anticipated by the end of 2018, with several other products being developed concurrently.

The formation and incorporation of B3i Services AG represents a significant milestone for the members of B3i. As an independent legal entity with its own capital and intellectual property, B3i Services AG can streamline the development, testing and commercialization of blockchain solutions, the company explained.

The incorporation of B3i Services AG is the starting point for the next stage of the initiative. The company will be raising additional funds from a wide spectrum of insurance industry participants over the coming months.

The executive management team of B3i Services AG all had key roles leading workstreams of the B3i initiative to date. Members of the executive management team are Paul Meeusen from Swiss Re, Fei Zhang from Allianz, Sylvain De Crom from Aegon, Markus Tradt from Munich Re and Ken Marke from Ageas.

Source: B3i