IIG Insights: Blockchain, Bits and Bytes

“Blockchain, Bits and Bytes” was the topic for the second IIG Insight session in 2018.
An interesting morning with lots of facts, details and even a practical example how Blockchain works.

IIG Inshights: Blockchain, Bits and Bytes


The 2nd IIG’s Industry Outlook was held on the 16th April at the GIBS Business School in Illovo; it was an event which inspired interest considering yet again it was sold-out with 131 delegates in attendance. The theme for this insights session was ‘Blockchain, Bits, and Bytes” and our 3 inspiring speakers gave us a deeper insight into this engaging and challenging topic.
Our MC and Host for the morning was our very own Education Councillor Neesha Parbhoo who welcomed our esteemed guest speakers, council members and delegates. Our sponsors for the event, Allianz, Boston Consulting Group and Genasys Technologies were thanked for their support and for making this event possible.
Our first guest speaker for the morning was Adam Ikdal (Boston Consulting Group), who gave us BCG perspectives on digital and insurance megatrends. Their insights findings were based on interactions that BCG had with 20 of the top 30 global Insurers/Reinsurers. Adam’s presentation centered more around what he termed a 30 000 feet perspective on the current global insurance outlook and touched specifically on Global Insurance Trends, what keeps global GEO’s awake at night and what can global insurance companies do.  What was very clearly highlighted in the presentation was that we need to be highly aware of the changing expectations of our customers, the impact disruptive technologies will have on our business going forward, the global convergence of regulation and the challenging macroeconomic environment we operate in. In addition there is a strong need for us to be “agile in a new way of working that enables an organization to be more nimble, more focused on business value, more attractive to talent, drives better outcomes and achieve faster time-to-market when delivering products/propositions"

The IIG Council showcased their own with the second subject matter expert being Daniela Frömmel from Munich Re, who is also an IIG Marketing Councillor. Daniella, together with Keith Hewer from Munich Re, gave the delegates an interesting overview of blockchain theory. We were taken on a journey of the birth of blockchain and an interactive demonstration (which involved the IIG class of 2018) was given on how step by step blockchain works. In addition, Keith delved into the cost of financial transactions and how blockchain can dramatically decrease these costs, by decentralizing data. Daniela touched on the Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative (B3i) and shared its vision “to create a re/insurance ecosystem enabling participants to create innovative products and services, which increases the relevance, accessibility and affordability of insurance for consumers. The presentation certainly created an enhanced understanding of Blockchain.

Our third speaker was Lee Ellis from RFIB. Whilst Lee is known in the insurance market as a reinsurance broker, he has spent several years working with crypto currency players and tech start-ups, to explore how they see insurance and how they can disrupt the insurance industry.   Lee who gave us an insightful and different perspective on crypto-currency, while defining what crypto-currency is. Lee highlighted that crypto-currency is a culture and that we need to understand what this culture is all about.  Lee explained that whilst the current insurance industry may focus on using blockchain technology to re-invest selling of old (motor, household, etc) “establishment” products, the Crypto environment focuses on developing new products for emerging risks and new thinking (socially responsible insurance, financial guarantee, Volatility Risk, etc). Our speaker emphasized the market disruption of this phenomenon and spoke of crypto-currency as a paradigm shift in thinking – a movement, more so than a trading commodity. He motivated us to think more critically and challenged all the fundamentals that we currently hold on to. We need to free our minds of traditional thinking and embrace the changes that are coming at us at such a rapid pace.
Our guest speakers certainly gave us some food for thought and afforded us a deeper understanding of how disruptive our environment is becoming and to encourage us to remain forward thinking, challenged, informed and educated.
The IIG would like to thank our sponsors, Allianz, the Boston Consulting Group and Genasys Technologies in association with GIBS Business School for this successful insight session.


Article By: Daphne Peter - IIG Councilor