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Insurance firms in China implement blockchain to fast track coronavirus claims

By Ramla Soni

Chinese online mutual aid platform Xiang Hu Bao which is owned by Ant Financial added the coronavirus to the illnesses eligible for a maximum one-time payout of around $14,300

Insurance firms in China are said to be implementing blockchain technology to fast track claims payout amid the coronavirus outbreak.

This month Chinese online mutual aid platform Xiang Hu Bao which is owned by Ant Financial added the coronavirus to the illnesses eligible for a maximum one-time payout of around 100,000 yuan ($14,300, £11,062, €13,060).

Xiang Hu Bao is not an insurance product, but a blockchain-based collective claim-sharing platform that offers health plans to its 104 million users. The blockchain technology is used to prevent fraud and speed up claim processing and is available on mobile payment app AliPay.

The coronavirus payout will be funded with Ant Financial’s own capital, and is separate from the 300,000 yuan maximum payout Xiang Hu Bao participants are entitled to for another 100 critical illnesses.

“Xiang Hu Bao has been able to process claims and make payouts to participants quicker, due to the decentralised, trust-free nature of blockchain technology,” an Ant Financial spokesman in Beijing said.

“Claim applicants can submit their supporting documents as evidence while investigation firms can get immediate access to them on the blockchain. All parties involved can see the entire process.”

Similarly, Blue Cross Insurance, owned by the Bank of East Asia, is reportedly helping to decrease the impact of the coronavirus outbreak with a medical claims app which will shorten time spent on back-end data verification and other paperwork.

The company said its blockchain-backed platform is capable of handling more than 1,000 concurrent transactions in a second without human involvement. Since the launch of its blockchain-backed medical claims app in April 2019, it has on average recorded double-digit monthly growth in the number of policyholders using it.

Blue Cross plans to expand the use of its app to cover travel and other general insurance products in the third quarter this year.

FURTHER READING: Healthcare company Novacyt launches new coronavirus test

FURTHER READING: China gradually returns to work amid coronavirus disruptions

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