SPH in pilot to use blockchain to ease life insurance claims

From left: MetLife Asia chief innovation officer and LumenLab chief executive Zia Zaman, SPH chief of digital business Julian Tan and NTUC Income chief operating officer Peter Tay.
From left: MetLife Asia chief innovation officer and LumenLab chief executive Zia Zaman, SPH chief of digital business Julian Tan and NTUC Income chief operating officer Peter Tay.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), NTUC Income and global life insurance company MetLife's innovation centre are piloting from this month an industry-first initiative to use blockchain to automate life insurance claims for bereaved families.

Lifechain, developed by MetLife's LumenLab, will allow SPH to securely encrypt and share data used for obituary placement with Income to search for a matching life insurance policy.

Should a match be found, SPH will inform family members within one working day and Lifechain will auto-notify Income to then initiate the claims process. Family members will also be informed by SPH when a match is not found.

The pilot, to end in October, will target 1,000 randomly selected Income life insurance policyholders. Family members who place obituaries in The Straits Times will be informed about Lifechain.

If they consent, the deceased's NRIC number will be submitted into Lifechain as hashed data, with the identity masked, to trigger a search for a matching life insurance policy.

Lifechain will be offered free during the pilot phase.

The companies said only SPH and Income will have the ability to decrypt the information provided to them by their advertisers and policyholders respectively. The data will not be shared with any third party, including LumenLab.

Mr Julian Tan, SPH's chief of digital business, said: "SPH hopes to expand Lifechain to include more insurers in time to come, to bring greater convenience to family members attending to the deceased's administrative matters securely.

"This initiative is also in line with our push for the digital business, tapping innovation and growing our partnerships to serve our customers better."

Income chief operating officer Peter Tay, who heads its Digital Transformation Office, said: "Blockchain technology offers greater transparency, enhanced security, improved traceability, efficiency and speed of transactions. These value propositions resonate with Income and we are excited to be the first insurer to come on board Lifechain."

Mr Zia Zaman, chief innovation officer for MetLife Asia and chief executive officer of LumenLab, said: "By making the customer experience simpler, this SPH-NTUC Income-LumenLab pilot yet again demonstrates the potential of blockchain to shape the future of insurance."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2019, with the headline 'SPH in pilot to use blockchain to ease life insurance claims'. Subscribe