How ICON Partnered with Korea's Biggest Insurance Firm to Develop Blockchain Apps

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This past June, ICON, the most valuable blockchain project in South Korea, secured a strategic partnership with Kyobo Life, the country's largest insurance firm alongside Samsung, to develop blockchain-based services.

Kyobo Life, which was selected to lead a pilot project to create blockchain-based automated insurance claiming services within the initiative, reached out to ICON and its development team to work alongside other regulated financial institutions-including KOFIA and 25 security firms-to develop blockchain applications that can be deployed and commercialized at a large scale.

Two months ago, as a follow up to their previous collaboration, Kyobo Life and ICON established an official Memorandum of Understanding to utilize the blockchain in automating the complex insurance claiming process.

Currently, most insurance companies and healthcare centers rely on outdated networks and hardware such as fax machines to allow patients to receive their insurance payment.

With a scheduled pilot test in September, Kyobo Life and the ICONLOOP development team are planning to launch a formal operation in October, which will mark the deployment of the first blockchain-based insurance system integrated by one of the largest insurance companies in Asia.

Insurance policies regarding data storage and settlements vary depending on the country an insurance company operates in.

To create a blockchain application specifically targeted at insurance companies, the development team will have to design the platform in a way that will remain compliant with local regulations regarding data settlement.

Legal hurdles, not necessarily technical issues, have prevented blockchain-based services from being commercialized in the insurance sector, and for the blockchain to be widely adopted in the industry, both companies and regulators will have to put in additional effort to understand and embrace the technology.

Given the South Korean government's initiative to include blockchain as one of the core technologies in the fourth industrial revolution paired with Kyobo Life's enthusiasm toward the potential of blockchain technology, the ICON-Kyobo partnership could be the first step toward wide commercialization of blockchain in South Korea' insurance sector.

"For instance, in a typical insurance transaction process, a printed copy of the insurance policy must be handed in by the insured him/herself. We are trying to automate this process by either delivering the data from the hospital to the insurer through a separate channel and then recording it on the blockchain, or applying smart contract to new products that do not fall under the regulatory compliance yet. We believe our experiments, by showcasing the true potential of blockchain, can educate corporates, regulators and the public and make a positive impact on regulatory framework in the end."

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