Global consultancy EY has launched the world's first blockchain platform for the marine insurance sector, in conjunction with Guardtime and a number of industry participants.
AP Møller-Maersk, Microsoft, Willis Towers Watson, MS Amlin, ACORD, and XL Catlin are other participants who signed up to the endeavour this week, after a 20-week proof of concept.
The blockchain platform - a first of its kind in the insurance industry built on Microsoft Azure global cloud technology - is planned for implementation from 2018 onward, according to EY.
The platform's initial phased rollout will involve deploying the benefits of blockchain for end-to-end use across the marine industry.
It connects clients, brokers, insurers and third parties to distributed common ledgers that capture data about identities, risk and exposures, and integrates this information with insurance contracts.
Capabilities include the ability to create and maintain asset data from multiple parties; to link data to policy contracts; to receive and act upon information that results in a pricing or a business process change; to connect client assets, transactions and payments; and to capture and validate up-to-date first notification or loss data.
Shaun Crawford, EY Global Insurance Leader, said: "Blockchain's potential to transform the insurance ecosystem has always been clear. What we have done is to move forward from potential to reality. This solution is the first to apply blockchain's transparency, security and standardisation to marine insurance and is ready for commercial use.
"We look forward to deploying this technology across the marine insurance industry and are exploring how these findings and insights will be applied to other speciality insurance markets and beyond."
Lars Henneberg, head of risk and insurance at shipping giant Møller-Maersk, said: "It is a priority for us to leverage technology to streamline and automate our interaction with the insurance market.
"Insurance transactions are currently far too tedious and frictional. The distance between risk and capital is simply too far. Blockchain technology has the potential to facilitate the desired development that is long overdue."
The blockchain participants hope insurers can use the platform to improve their capital and gain efficiencies, with increased transparency and reduced manual data entry or reconciliation and administration costs.