RGAx-AURA Blockchain Hackathon

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Myself and a few of my colleagues recently traveled to St. Louis to support the first RGAx-AURA . From September 8-10 we were hosted by the Reinsurance Group of America (RGA), one of the world’s largest life reinsurance companies, and provided mentorship to teams discovering how blockchain could impact the future of insurance. It was a very rewarding experience and hopefully one of many blockchain hackathons I will be privileged to support in the near future.

On a personal note, I saw first hand the challenges facing developers of blockchain applications. Weather they were using Hyperledger on Bluemix, Ethereum, or a bespoke solution, teams first had to be comfortable with what makes blockchain so valuable. Not everyone recognized the best uses of the and I even found myself steering a team away from an idea that was best suited for ‘centralized’ solutions. Blockchain is a new technology and there is a long runway before this plane takes off, particularly in financial use cases like insurance. I digress.

Reinsurance contracts can be very transaction intensive. Administering a single contract can last several years and present multiple challenges due to slow, missing or incomplete documentation exchange among parties. Detailed financial transactions, letters of credit creation, renewal requirements, collateralization needs and collateral drawdown can add increased layers of complexity. Using blockchain allows an insurer and its reinsurers to share a common, permissioned ledger that streamlines the process through consensus. Smart contracts establish reinsurance terms and conditions, and authorized transactions provide triggers and conditions for coverage and payments, as well as collateral creation and drawdown. The result—fewer disputes, easier reinsurance audits and lower volatility.

To apply the potential of blockchain to insurance, 60 developers, designers, and entrepreneurs from RGA, RGAx, Aura and Global IT, as well as select student groups and partner companies (like Daugherty Business Solutions), the event was a resounding success. The cafeteria and adjoining conference room were quickly transformed into a hacker-space. was there to provide mentorship and support, and I was able to give a talk on what we are doing and seeing in this space.

On Saturday afternoon the 12 surviving projects submitted and demoed in front of a panel of judges, and a crowd of talented individuals, eager to see what kind of projects emerged from just over 36 hours of hacking!

The Grand Prize winner ($15,000 and the chance to pitch to RGAx Execs) was the AURAAMERENteam BeXchange, a x2x mobile insurance exchange platform connecting consumers who are in need of coverage with a distributed network of potential investors.

The runner up team was Daugherty team Facultative Underwriting Solutions (aka fReMarket), who created a moderated marketplace for facultative underwriting. They will receive $2,500 from Daugherty Business Solutions.

Honorable Mentions:

Find My Funds Daugherty team: Suzanne Zimmerman, Mark Schilling, Andrew Maxwell and Ted Berger.

Simply Carrots AURA team: Caroline Specter, Brian Compton, Praveen Kota and Shawn Crain.

New Kids On The Blockchain RGA team: Jonathan Bolhofner, Christina Gerst, Charles McKiel III, Curtis Keller, Bobby Buddha.

Best use of IBM BlueMix:

Healthchain Daugherty – RGA team: Lucia Del Pino, Joseph Ondrus, Venus Patel, Alex Gillete. The solution concept of Healthchain revolves around collecting data from wearable devices and storing on a block. Multiple blocks can then be added to the blockchain. The person can then give access to that information to Doctors, Insurance companies, Gym & Fitness companies, Health Monitoring Emergency companies, etc. as needed. This will enable Usage based Insurance, discounts on Insurance premiums, Gym memberships, and even emergency health monitoring services for seniors. This team won an opportunity to meet and have lunch with the IBM Blockchain team in St. Louis. You can find the code for this solution at: https://github.com/SgtRock91/marbles-chaincode.git

Overall, it was a fantastic event to be a part of and I look forward to seeing what comes out of IBM’s next Blockchain hackathon in NYC October 7-8. Further, I will be supporting the Moovel Blockchain hackathon in Austin on September 23, 2016. Hope to see a great turnout at both!


  is Blockchain Specialist at IBM