Professional services firm Accenture announced on Tuesday that it is partnering with Zurich Benelux, a unit of the insurance company Zurich Insurance Group. The two teams launched a blockchain-powered solution that enables Zurich’s clients in Benelux to manage surety bonds. Benelux is a political and economic union that comprises Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
Surety bonds, which are the focus of Accenture’s first-of-its-kind blockchain service, are special agreements between at least three parties – the principal (who needs the bond), the obligee (who requires the bond), and a surety company, which in this case is Zurich. These instruments are meant to guarantee the performance of an obligation in company transactions, and are widely used in construction projects, for example. The surety bond guarantees that the principal will behave in line with specific laws. If the principal fails to act accordingly, the bond will cover losses and damages. Research Firm Finaccord estimated that the total value of premiums and commissions for insurance-backed surety bonds in the European Union might touch 3.26 billion euro by next year.
Accenture has integrated its solution into Zurich Benelux’s current surety-management system and developed a new user interface. The blockchain solution comprises a user-friendly dashboard that allows clients to verify their bonds’ status, check the historical records of bonds, browse through bond forecasts, and sign new bond requests.
Kristof Lambert, the head of Accenture’s Financial Services practice in Belgium and Luxembourg, commented:
“We are excited to help Zurich Benelux integrate cutting-edge technology to improve its local customers’ experience. Blockchain creates a new backbone for insurers to communicate with various industry participants and simplifies processes.”
Zurich Benelux COO Didier Murena stated:
“What was once a cumbersome process for customers and beneficiaries done over the phone or through e-mail with customer support representatives can now be done seamlessly online.”
“Blockchain technology transforms the way we exchange information with our customers and others across the insurance value chain. This product will reduce the administrative burden for customers, third parties and our employees, allowing them to focus on tasks that require greater levels of service and care,” he explained.
In July of this year, Accenture joined a blockchain-oriented consortium focused on the insurance industry. The NYSE-listed company was responsible for developing the blockchain platform.
In August, Zurich was involved in a blockchain trial organized by the Italian association of insurance companies.