Skip to main content
All Posts By

Lanaya Nelson

openIDL: The First Insurance Open Governance Network and Why the Industry Needs It

By Blog

Co-author, Jason Perlow of The Linux Foundation

The insurance industry has arrived at the predicted inflection point between aligning its business with the technological advancements being leveraged successfully throughout other industries or staying put, carrying out business as usual, and slowly sunsetting one line of business at a time.

Common industry-wide challenges are expanding exponentially without viable solutions being implemented. Loss ratios are going haywire in certain lines of business, seen across every carrier’s reporting, yet each is trying relentlessly to solve for the losses within their own closed walls. Without a deliberate, collaborative effort among the various stakeholders (including carrier competitors), these shared challenges will continue to persist, and the alternative will likely be riskier in the long run. 

The real catch-22 is that for carriers open to exploring solutions rooted in collaboration, the fruits of their labor have not yet been adequately matched in returns because these models require participation from peers and competitors to produce. These collaborative models epitomize “more the merrier” in that, the more carriers and relevant entities participate, the greater the impact of the network and, ultimately, carrier bottom lines. 

So, what’s the hang-up? Trust, standards and governance, and the safeguarding of competitive advantage. The solution? An insurance-specific Open Governance Network.

What is an Open Governance Network?

The Linux Foundation (LF) is a non-profit organization and the world’s leading home for collaboration and open source software, hardware, standards, and data. Two years ago, the LF discussed the potential power and capacities of Open Governance Networks in a post, Understanding Open Governance Networks. The application of distributed ledger technology (DLT) is proposed as an efficient, secure, and scalable solution for highly regulated industries tackling shared challenges around data and its exchange. 

Open Governance Networks enable a highly-regulated industry to form a group of stakeholders and competitors (a consortium) that governs itself in an open, permissioned, neutral, and participatory model. Over decades of facilitating the world’s most successful and competitive open source projects, the LF best practices and governance models have proven, time and again, the business advancements and scalability resulting from collaborative enterprise-level solution development.  

A permissioned network consortium allows, upon consensus agreement, other organizations to participate and share operational, R&D-driven initiative, and development costs/software investments as well as sharing developed efficiencies, insights from data aggregation and analytics, and mutually-beneficial innovations leading to reduced time-to-market for individual products and services. Stronger security and data privacy standards, clear transparency, and increased data quality are inevitable outcomes through this network model’s governance.

Welcome to the decentralization of our evolving insurance industry.

openIDL and how it is different

As Open Governance Networks address the concern of neutral and distributed control in vertical industry use cases, there is no better organization than the LF to host and support the industry’s first of its kind, openIDL (Open Insurance Data Link). 

openIDL is an insurance-specific and permissioned DLT-based project building a network that harmonizes industry data and secures the sharing of it both efficiently and transparently. The project was initiated in 2020 by the American Association of Insurance Services (AAIS), a member-governed insurance advisory organization in the United States that has been providing a common set of services for the insurance industry, such as regulatory reporting on a regional and national basis for the past 80 years. The network’s foundational use case, developed by AAIS, is regulatory and statistically reporting data exchange between insurers and state regulators/DOIs.

In 2021, the project was moved to the Linux Foundation to ensure a true member-premissioned open platform under the LF structured standards and governance model, free from proprietary solutions – as well as extensive member-exclusive benefits and support to drive project visibility, scalability, and success. The project’s use cases have since expanded, as well as its member community.

To date, openIDL’s member community includes carrier premiere members: Travelers, The Hartford, The Hanover, and Selective Insurance; state regulator and DOI members; infrastructure partners; associate members such as MOBI (Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative); and other non-profit organizations, government agencies, and research/academic institutions. 

openIDL’s network is built on Hyperledger Fabric, an LF distributed ledger software project. Hyperledger Fabric is intended as a foundation for developing applications or solutions with a modular architecture. The technology allows components, such as consensus and membership services, to be plug-and-play. Its modular and versatile design satisfies a broad range of industry use cases and offers a unique approach to consensus that enables performance at scale while preserving privacy.

For the last few years, a running technology joke has been “describe your problem, and someone will tell you blockchain is the solution.”

As funny as this is, what’s not funny is the truth behind the joke, and the insurance industry is certainly one that fell head over heels for the blockchain hype. Like any revolutionary technological advancement throughout history, blockchain and DLT are no different. Failing always smarts in the beginning, but the learnings, iterations, and refinements eventually lead to strong problem-solution alignment. Timing is key. The other key is in the (sometimes long) process of dissecting the problem and coming to the best solution – not in having a solution and searching for a problem. 

In recent years, there has been a dramatic and continuous increase in the amount of relevant – and timely – data needed and collected within the industry due to the proliferation of:

  • IoT devices, cloud adoption, and 5g network expansion
  • Increased insured connectivity adoption
  • Evolving climate-related risks and new related external data channels
  • Data needed for parametric and embedded product development
  • The growing strategic need for cross-industry data exchange and standards development 
  • New data requirements and requests from regulatory and government entities
  • The remaining long list of increased-data-collection catalysts

With this increased need and in volume, the possibilities of utilizing these data has also skyrocketed in areas such as underwriting, risk assessment, marketing, segmentation, pricing accuracy, fraud detection, closer to real-time exchange, and many other areas within both carrier business and operations strategies. Inevitably, new challenges affecting all carriers are increasing proportionally, highlighting the need for a secure, private, and transparent platform for exchanging data. 

AAIS predicted this need and recognized permissioned-DLT as an aligned solution to these shared industry challenges. The advisory organization saw this need for the “neutral ground” of a decentralized network- a consortium with a leveled playing field maintained by an organization dedicated to the health and growth of the network; not controlled by one company or organization.

With great process, planning, and framing through extensive industry expertise, openIDL was launched and hit the ground running to prove the concept of an industry permissioned network securely managing and exchanging information, held accountable by the LF Open Governance Network model, and able to keep up with the rapidly evolving risk landscape. 

The openIDL Open Governance Network

  • Working to solve shared industry challenges, such as data privacy and standardization, that could not be solved by one entity alone and will open up doors for other innovation priorities and product development. 
  • Enables insurance carriers to provide data to regulators in a standard and efficient manner while maintaining control over the data. 
  • Community generation of a standard data format to promote interoperability and future adoption.
  • The data is stored in a cloud; each carrier has its own node, an analytics node, and an application for managing data calls.
  • Network architecture uses Hyperledger Fabric and other technologies such as Kubernetes and JavaScript/Angular UI to create transactions and manage the data.

Why the insurance industry needs an Open Governance Network

There have been many attempts to produce a functional, efficient, and secure industry data-exchange network. However, without trust, the risks are too high, and we all know what the business of insurance is rooted in. 

This is precisely where the LF Open Governance Network model establishes the needed trust that has been lacking – and from the get-go. The power of both the Linux Foundation and its proven secure framework, as well as the trust, transparency, and security is intentionally woven into Hyperledger Fabric, providing a platform for carriers and all industry stakeholders to solve challenges while trusting in the governance of the community.

Challenges Solved by openIDL

Data Privacy

The primary challenge openIDL solves is the growing data privacy issue faced by insurance carriers. Carriers want to keep their data private and in their control, but if they constantly send data to regulators and other entities, control is inevitably compromised. openIDL allows carriers to provide data to regulators in a standard way while keeping the raw data in their cloud and only accessible through their node.


openIDL implements data formatting, tokenization, and interoperability standards to ensure that multiple carriers can participate in the network. This will allow for future adoption and efficient data sharing, aggregation, and analytics applications.


openIDL provides an auditable process for carriers to share their data with regulators and other entities. This visibility and transparency ensures that the data is managed properly and that carriers understand what will be done with their data.

Data Calls  

openIDL provides a secure and efficient solution for regulators to conduct data calls efficiently and securely. The carriers respond to the data calls, helping regulators better monitor the market activity, plan for future emergencies, and protect consumers by providing data, and the results of the data calls are visible to the regulator through an analytics node. The first step in a data call is for the carriers to load their data into the harmonized data store inside their cloud. The data is then put into a standard format and is only accessible through their node. The regulator can access the data call results through an application that is part of a Kubernetes cluster. The Hyperledger Fabric API is used to create transactions and manage the data on the ledger.


openIDL is an important initiative for the insurance industry as it provides a secure and transparent platform for exchanging information, data, technology, and leadership Open Governance Network strategy.

The use of DLT ensures information is secure and exchange of data is efficient, standardized, actionable, and accurate. The Linux Foundation’s involvement is paramount as it provides the foundational and successful open governance model – free from proprietary uses — allowing carriers to solve industry-wide challenges collaboratively and securely.

openIDL represents a huge milestone for the industry at large. The network’s use of enterprise-scale permissioned-DLT and its commitment to data privacy and standardization makes it a viable solution for the industry moving forward. openIDL is perfectly positioned to bring everything we, the insurance community, have been discussing and planning for years. 

It’s time to bring the plans to fruition and beyond, together.

For more information or to inquire about membership options & benefits, please reach out!

What is Open Source?

By Blog

The term is widely circulated and referenced across most every industry and can be assumed as self explanatory, but what is open source, really?

Originally and certainly still, open source (OS) was and is also referred to as open source software (OSS), code designed to be publicly accessible, transparent, and easily modified, enhanced, and/or distributed. OSS is developed in a decentralized manner in which collaboration and peer review are essential and a consortium is formed to sustain production and health of technologies. Open source is, simply put, something/anything folks can view, modify, and share within the agreed upon standards of the community and is either publicly accessible or permissioned. 

With the elimination of proprietary ownership, open source consortia often produce cheaper, longer lasting,  and more flexible, stable, and secure infrastructure quality; solving for ubiquitous, industry-wide problems and accelerating needed industry innovation.

“Today, OSS powers the digital economy and enables scientific and technological breakthroughs that improve our lives. It’s in our phones, our cars, our airplanes, our homes, our businesses, and our governments.
Organizations involved in building products or services involving software, regardless of their specific industry or sector, are likely to adopt OSS and contribute to open source projects deemed critical to their products and services.” 
LF Research Guide to Open Source 

Telecommunication Protocols to Web3

The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), the foundation of what we now call “the Internet”, was formed by researchers and developers in the 1960’s and ‘70’s practicing open and collaborative production that encouraged peer review and open feedback processes building on existing source code. The obvious success of this model, its values, and the groups formed as a result, naturally led to the inception of the Internet in the ‘90s. The rapid growth of the Internet revolution groomed the global dev community to evolve and proliferate the power of open source and its necessity to enterprise success.

Ok, But How Does It Actually Work and Apply to Enterprise?

Open source projects and the communities formed to develop OSS use what is simply called an open source development model. This model entails releasing software under an open source license in which anyone can view, modify, and/or make a copy of the source code that can then be used, modified, and/or adapted for derivative works, making it “decentralized” and inherently promotes open collaboration, innovation, and peer-to-peer production. It’s the “open source way”! You can find and explore some of the best examples of this model on Github and the open source projects/repositories that are hosted by various consortia. 

For a clearer view of the connection between open source and enterprise-level applications and use cases, check out the global non-profit organization, Linux Foundation (“LF”). With over 850 open source projects, 17,000+ contributing organizations, 777,000+ developers contributing code, and 76,300,000+ lines of code added weekly, the LF has and continues to maintain the beat of the world’s technological heart.

The organization’s most well-known projects, Linux and Kubernetes (perhaps you’ve heard these words bounce around and have seen the cute penguin – yet don’t really know what they are or what they do), both illuminate the power of open source communities. Kubernetes is the fastest growing open source project in the history of OSS after Linux. Most everything you touch in the technological realm, undoubtedly, has a relationship to one or both of these two open source projects. The internet itself was primarily built on Linux, so, if you are using the internet and/or your mobile phone, you are benefitting, likely tremendously, from open source communities and their developments.

Linux is the largest open source operating system in the world and it’s free! The “Free Software” model is truly organized around the theme of freedom: anyone and everyone can view, modify, redistribute, make the source code available, and can even sell copies of modified code (as long as all applies to the open source license). Linux embodies this model and is governed by an open source license, which prevents restrictions on the use of the software. 

The LF is governed, run, and maintained by its members, some of which are the largest global corporations including (but certainly not limited to as there are 14 Platinum, 17 Gold, 1,208 Silver, and 319 Associate members):  AT&T, AWS, Cisco, Coinbase, Ethereum, Fujitsu, Google, Hitachi, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Meta, Microsoft, Oracle, Qualcomm, Samsung, Tencent, and VMware

Full LX Member Landscape

LF Members that may be of interest to you and the insurance industry are AAIS, AXA, BMW Group, FedEx, Ford, GE, The Hanover, The Hartford, here., Honda, Hyundai & Hyundai MOBIS, KatRisk, KPMG, Mazda, McKinsey & Company, Daimler, Mitsubishi Motors, MOBI, NAIC, Nokia, Nvidia, Octo, PayPal, Progressive, S&P Global, Selective Insurance, SiriusXM, Sprint/T-Mobile, TomTom, Travelers, UBS, USAA, Verizon, VNC Automotive, Volkswagen, and many more including academic, research, and government/state DOIs & regulator associate members.

In addition to hosting open source projects, LF supports its community and members through events, training and certification programs, marketing and PR opportunities, the release of its member-exclusive LFX platform, and much more to ensure member success in their enterprise open source strategy. 

Code is power. Community is strength. We are one.” -Linux Foundation

More to come specifically about the Linux Foundation, “What is the LF?” to be published soon! 

What’s In It For You? The Great Paradox.

The tremendous value of open source projects, as opposed to proprietary software and/or data platforms, is in the power of the consortia and communities they form. 

“Over many years, new industries and thousands of organizations have entered the open source ecosystem. In the early days, some organizations leapt into OSS without a proper strategy and an execution plan; they did not emerge as winners. Others took a deliberative approach that embraced OSS methodology and engineering practices; they came out as leaders for open source activities in their industries or verticals.” – LF Research Guide to Open Source

Historical proof around the success of enterprise open source lies in the commitment of leadership to their open source strategy that is carefully crafted and implemented. The past indicates that wishy-washy toe-dipping will only leave losses on investment whereas commitment to the model, its implementation as a core element to the business and its operations, as well as a solid strategy to support the power of enterprise-level open source models have been proven to transform the embracing organizations into industry leaders and archetypes. 

To build on this, the open source model truly embodies the concept of ‘you get what you give’. The stronger the commitment, the positive levels of increased contribution, the more quality members in the consortium, the clearer the focus on cultivating culture, the better the investment in enterprise strategy… the more overall success will come as a result of adopting open source and setting it as a strategic investment to the overall business. 

Next week’s openIDL blog: “Building an Enterprise Open Source Strategy for the Insurance Industry”

The power of open source licensing and the consortium governance is that all users must accept the terms of a license, just as users must for proprietary software; the difference is that the legal terms and conditions for open source software and networks are of a totally different animal, perhaps closer to an antithesis. Why? Because proprietary licenses are generally focused on restrictions of use in accordance with a monetary value, transaction, application(s), and number/level of users/viewers, and how/if the software/data can be distributed and by who to whom. 

Open source licenses are generally focused on ensuring that there are no restrictions on users, applications, modifications, or distributions and usually govern that any releases of a modified open source build must release the source code for it as well – again, ensuring that there is no fee attributed to its distribution/licensing. This model is all about sharing, building, and solving problems that no one entity could solve for on its own. The governance of open source is the embodiment of e pluribus unum. 

Together We Can Achieve More.  To learn how, visit us at

Stay connected with the openIDL Newsletter

openIDL is a Linux Foundation insurance-focused project built on the enterprise blockchain, Hyperledger Fabric and is the first open source private permissioned-DLT network that enables the efficient, secure, and accurate collection & exchange of relevant industry data.

  • Fabric Codebase is modified, optimized, and customized by the openIDL community (carriers, regulators, data providers & operators, and infrastructure partners) to foster solutions specific to the Insurance Industry.
  • Anyone can take and use the code of openIDL for their own use case without threatening the security of its members & network.
  • The network and its consortium are solving hard industry-wide data problems requiring platform thinking, open source collaboration, and consortium building as all members of openIDL have a stake in the network in different ways.