Interview with Jason Wong, Blockchain Manager AIA Edge

Bancassurance with Blockchain

A few weeks ago, AIA announced Hong Kong’s first Blockchain-enabled Bancassurance network.

The focus is on making the on-boarding process of customer more efficient with their bank partners. Normally, this is a largely manual and time consuming process. Blockchain has the potential to change this.

I had a quick interview with Jason Wong, Blockchain Manager at AIA, about Blockchain in the insurance industry and how they developed their bancassurance prototype:

Why do people in the insurance industry need to pay attention to Blockchain? How will Blockchain change the insurance industry?

Jason: Blockchain or to be specific, permissioned blockchain technology, enables a new way of sharing a single view of transactions data in a secure way, without a central authority owning all the data. This is a brand new way of doing business because up until now, haven’t had direct data connections with other parties, which led to additional processes whereby we would need to cross check data using our own view against others input. Now, utilising the blockchain solution, we can do it without these extra processes and significantly increase the efficiency of the overall process. This has the positive effects of driving down costs and most importantly improving our customers’ experience.

What do you think is necessary for Blockchain to be adopted in the insurance industry?

Jason: The mindset about utilising blockchain still needs to evolve. We have seen some adoptions, like our bancassurance solution, but generally there is an increased need to share data in the industry for better regulation and streamlining processes for customers. Now that the technology is getting more mature we are confident that we will see greater adoption.

What problems are you solving with your Blockchain solution?

Jason: Through use of blockchain we are creating efficiencies with customer on-boarding with our bank partners. Traditionally, the process was largely manual and involved both sides verifying information, which was time consuming for the customer.

By using permissioned blockchain technology, we now have a single view of data that we need in real time.

What Blockchain-Technologies are you using and how did you decide to choose them?

Jason: The solution was built using Hyperledger Fabric. At this point, we are technology agnostic and comparing the pros and cons among the technologies. This is our first implementation of Hyperledger Fabric to evaluate the capabilities of the framework, but we will consider using other platforms on other projects.

How was the development process structured?

Jason: We conducted a design thinking workshop in the beginning of 2017 to gather the business processes and assess pain points with business teams and technology team. Then we developed the system architecture and started the development with an agile development team. We also used a DevOps team to take care of the infrastructure that the blockchain network runs on.

What is your advice for insurance companies wanting to start with blockchain?

Jason: Use blockchain! The best way to evaluate a technology is to implement it for a business case. Try looking at the current business processes and see which one could be a potential fit for blockchain. Then reach out to partners / other insurers to participate in the evaluation.

Start out with a small business use case and see how you can expand it afterwards. Only by doing a close-to-live evaluation, the value of blockchain can then be assessed accurately.

What are your favourite resources/websites to stay on top of innovation things in the insurance space?

Jason: My personal preference was to use LinkedIn from my professional networks as it is a great source to find out the latest industry trends.

About Jason:

Jason is the Technical Manager of AIA Edge Group Innovation Team in AIA Group, where his main focus is on blockchain / DLT technologies research and development for AIA Group. He is responsible for identifying the right use cases to apply the technology to help the business. The most recent accomplishment was deploying the Hong Kong first bancassurance blockchain solution in production environment for evaluation. He is also a software developer who is passionate on software design, development and architecture.