The American Association of Insurance Services, AAIS, identified an opportunity to significantly improve data processing between insurance carriers, advisory organizations, stat agents and regulators. This led to development of the first blockchain network connecting data across the insurance industry: openIDL.
OpenIDL (open Insurance Data Link) is an open blockchain network that streamlines regulatory reporting and provides new insights for insurers while enhancing timeliness, accuracy, and value for regulators. It is the first open blockchain platform to enable the efficient, secure, and permission-based collection and sharing of statistical data.
To get the project off the ground, AAIS partnered with IBM to implement the system. Through many design thinking sessions involving AAIS, IBM, carriers, and regulators, an architecture emerged based on the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric, hosted in the IBM Cloud. Since one of openIDL’s goals is to distribute data ownership and build trust, the distributed and permissioned nature of Hyperledger Fabric and the trust mechanism of blockchain made this a good fit.
After initial implementation, AAIS was able to successfully execute proof of concept projects with prospective carriers. Subsequently, IBM transitioned openIDL’s development ownership to AAIS. Since AAIS is primarily an AWS user, they wanted to move the system to the AWS cloud. While attempting to do this themselves, they quickly realized they needed more expertise in the following areas:
- AWS’s complex infrastructure
- Kubernetes in AWS
- IBM Blockchain Platform
- Hyperledger Fabric
- Node.js and Angular
AAIS identified a project to migrate openIDL from the IBM Cloud to AWS, with the following deliverables:
- openIDL nodes hosted in AWS
- AAIS Node
- Carrier Reference Node
- Analytics Node
- Infrastructure as Code (IaC) for all aspects
- AWS infrastructure
- Hyperledger Fabric network
- Applications in Kubernetes
- Secret Management
- Reference Implementation that can run on local machine
AAIS worked with the Linux Foundation to find the appropriate partner. Chainyard emerged as the company with the extensive experience and solid credentials needed to execute the project.
After undertaking the project, Chainyard’s objective was to successfully facilitate openIDL’s production launch. To accomplish this, they implemented a multipronged approach, starting with understanding the application’s status quo. This included going through openIDL’s functionality, architecture, cloud services, application topology, test cases, infrastructure provisioning and deployment scripts.
Following this discovery period, the team developed a migration path focusing on design details for the cloud migration, NodeJS upgrade, Angular upgrade, Hyperledger Fabric upgrade, and Infrastructure as Code. The cloud migration consisted of moving openIDL from the IBM Cloud environment to Amazon Web Services (AWS). The NodeJS upgrade was from v8 to v14, the Angular upgrade was from v6 to v12, and the Hyperledger Fabric upgrade was from v1.4 to v2.2. Developing the supporting IaC scripts was done from scratch for the target environment using industry best practices and leveraging Terraform for infrastructure, GitHub actions for CI/CD pipeline, and Helm Charts for Kubernetes containerization. Security was considered a priority for all these changes and was designed into all activities.
For each upgrade, changes from the existing level to the target level were analyzed to determine impacts on the code. This helped with both development and testing planning. The upgrades had no planned feature or functionality changes to take advantage of in the target environment – these enhancements were instead put on the roadmap for a future version of the platform.
The openIDL project utilized an agile methodology during its life cycle, which involved having daily team standups, weekly architecture deep dives and management meetings, and ad hoc sessions to work through obstacles. The project team consisted of AAIS and Chainyard participants, working together to prioritize tasks and set key dates by which the project and sprint objectives had to be defined.
Once the overall project was complete, AAIS accepted these deliverables: an AWS-hosted AAIS Node, Analytics Node, and Carrier-Specific Nodes (each in their own AWS account), Hyperledger Fabric deployed on AWS using Blockchain Automation Framework (BAF), IaC scripts, and supporting documentation. An additional product created during the project is an openIDL Reference Implementation that runs in the minikube Kubernetes utility. This is disconnected from the AWS Cloud (except for Cognito authentication services) and provides a lightweight way for developers to familiarize themselves with the openIDL solution. The combination of features provided by these openIDL elements ensures AAIS’s insurance regulatory reporting is more effective, faster, and secure than ever before.
Established in 1936, AAIS serves the property casualty insurance industry as the modern, Member-based advisory organization. AAIS delivers custom advisory solutions, including best-in-class forms, rating information and data management capabilities for commercial lines, inland marine, farm & agriculture, commercial auto, personal auto, and homeowners insurers. Its consultative approach, unrivaled customer service and modern technical capabilities underscore a focused commitment to the success of its Members. AAIS’s strategic work and partnerships led to the creation of openIDL, the data and information sharing platform for regulatory reporting built on distributed ledger technology, now a Linux Foundation Project. For more information about AAIS, please visit AAISonline.
Chainyard is not just a team of Digital Transformation enthusiasts who focus on blockchain, but also a dynamic organization with the people, processes and technology that goes along with developing world-class business and software solutions.
We offer education, technical workshops, architecture assessments, business systems solution design, user interface design, continuous integration and delivery pipelines, operational impact assessments, network support services, consortium building, governance models and other activities critical to enabling a business to participate in a decentralized ecosystem.
To learn more about Chainyard, email Isaac Kunkel at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website at www.chainyard.com.
Author: Isaac Kunkel, Chainyard