Singapore Press Holdings, partners use blockchain to ease life insurance claims

Photo by Luis Alvoeiro Quaresma

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) in collaboration with NTUC Incomeand LumenLab, and MetLife’s Asia innovation centre have launched “Lifechain,” a blockchain technology that simplifies the process for verifying life insurance claims for bereaved families.

Given that placing an obituary and filing for an insurance claim both require a lot of the same information about the deceased person, SPH, Income and LumenLab saw an opportunity to apply blockchain to automate the claim process.

Developed by LumenLab, Lifechain enables SPH to securely encrypt and share verification data used for obituary placement with Income to kick-start the claim process.

Lifechain will begin piloting this month targeting 1,000 randomly selected Income life insurance policyholders.

During the pilot, family members of the deceased who place obituaries in The Straits Times will be informed about ‘Lifechain’. Upon their consent, the deceased’s National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) number will be submitted into Lifechain as hashed data to trigger a search for a matching life insurance policy.

When a match is found, SPH will inform family members within one working day, while Lifechain will send an automatic notification to Income via email to initiate the claims process.

Family members will also be informed by SPH when a match is not found so that they can proceed to make checks and file claims with their life insurers accordingly.

“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,” said Julian Tan, chief of digital business at SPH.

Tan said SPH aims to be the go-to partner for insurers to reach policyholders’ beneficiaries, as soon as advertisers place an obituary in the future.”

Income COO Peter Tay 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,” said Tay. “We believe it will empower us to offer optimal protection of our policyholders’ personal information while enhancing their customer experience with Income.”