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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.

Insurers and Regulators Jump Into Blockchain With openIDL

By Blog

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
  • Documentation

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.

About AAIS

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.

About Chainyard

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, or visit the website at

Author: Isaac Kunkel, Chainyard


Measuring Mitigation: Listening for the Lessons from the Surfside Condo Collapse

By Blog

There are a number of axioms that can help us understand the challenges around risk assessment and mitigation efforts that impact the insurance industry. You’ve heard, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” I’ll add a new one to the mix: if risk mitigation activities occur in a community, but none of the relevant stakeholders know about it, did it reduce risk? 

This revision of the classic axiom can help us better understand the tragic Champlain Towers South condo collapse in Surfside, Florida, and how to ensure these sorts of catastrophic losses do not occur again. Not only do we have little insight into where mitigation activities are occurring, we also have little insights into where risk mitigation activities should have occurred, but did not.  

We talk regularly about the need to double down on risk assessment and mitigation activities given the increasing threat posed by various perils—hurricanes, severe convective storms, floods, and wildfires among others. The good news is that many communities are heeding that advice with mitigation efforts being planned, executed, and documented. However, they are typically documented in an endless list of proprietary data formats, locked away in siloed data systems, managed by a range of different stakeholders. So, despite the important mitigation efforts being completed and the significant investments being made, they too often fall silently—like the tree in the forest—with insurers often unaware, and thus unable to account for mitigation activates in their risk selection and pricing processes.    

In the Surfside condo collapse, many of the news reporters asked survivors about their first indication that something was wrong? Survivors understandably focused on the loud noise, the shaking, and the dust, as half of the twelve-story building catastrophically failed. However, the first indications occurred years prior, as spalling, cracks, and water penetration got progressively worse. In preparation for a required 40-year building inspection, the condo association had hired a consulting engineer who highlighted significant structural concerns, substandard workmanship on previous repairs, and the ill effects of decades of delayed maintenance. The condo association and the various owners debated and ultimately delayed action for several years over the significant costs and how to split those costs. 

The extent to which the local building officials knew about, understood, or possibly misrepresented the gravity of the situation will likely be decided in the courts long after the dust settles. Nonetheless, what is clear is that it wasn’t the lack of information that was the problem, but a lack of getting that information into the hands of key decision makers. Calls for additional inspections — conducted more frequently — will have limited impact if that information continues to exist in siloes, unavailable, and effectively unknown. 

This is not a problem confined to Surfside, or even South Florida, it is a national problem. It is also an existential problem in the insurance industry. There is tremendous information collected about the properties we insure and the communities in which those properties reside, but much of that information is tantalizingly out of reach. 

Efforts to standardize the documentation and data collected about different types of risk mitigation efforts, and quantify the impact and benefit of risk mitigation activities outside of laboratory settings, are gaining momentum. And calls for improved data sharing are getting louder. But significant hurdles remain. 

Entities who create, collect, or maintain mitigation data — which are typically outside of the insurance industry — have little incentive to change the format of their data, much less to share it to accommodate the insurance industry’s needs. They must first see a benefit for themselves that outweighs the costs to change. A key incentive for those in the public sector, who control much of this data, is the ability to evaluate and benchmark their performance, which can only come when there is consistency in how these mitigation activities are measured. And finally, developing a proprietary data sharing ecosystem where one for-profit entity is in charge of who gets what information, and for what price, ultimately threatens the whole risk mitigation enterprise. 

How can openIDL make a difference

This is where openIDL can make a difference, as it offers a glimpse of a workable, adaptable, and scalable alternative. openIDL is a Linux Foundation initiative that was developed to address similar challenges in the regulatory data sharing pipeline for insurance data.  Traditional data sharing approaches and pipelines presented more problems than solutions, whereas openIDL turned the traditional data sharing model on its head — sending the query to where the data is securely stored rather than the other way around.  

With mitigation data, we need an approach where those who create and maintain data about mitigation activities maintain control over how their data is shared, who has access, and for what purpose. We need an approach that can break down the barriers that limit data sharing and thus limit the ability to evaluate the impact of mitigation activities to help those local agencies, local community groups, and local property owners demonstrate the value of the equity — be it financial, organizational, or sweat —they put into mitigation efforts. And we need an approach that limits the ability of third parties to monopolize data access while still allowing those with proprietary datasets a collectively beneficial and financially sustainable way to contribute to our detailed understanding of the peril.

To be clear, collapses, catastrophes and individual losses will still happen, but as insurers, our underwriting efforts rely on our ability to differentiate between those taking mitigation seriously and those who are not. openIDL provides the means to help move the needle enabling communities conducting risk mitigation activities to become invested in optimizing risk selection as underwriters. We cannot afford for mitigation be simply a fashionable buzzword. It must be an indispensable part of the whole insurance data ecosystem. If there is a lesson to be learned in hindsight from the Surfside condo collapse it is that the information was there, we just weren’t listening.  

Visit our openIDL wiki to learn more and get involved:

About the author:

Dr. Matt Hinds-Aldrich has led several national initiatives and projects to improve how fire departments across the country and across the globe collect, analyze and use data to focus their efforts, improve their operations, and demonstrate their value. At American Association of Insurance Services (AAIS) he helps lead the development, expansion, and adoption of the FLAMES (Fire Loss and Mitigation Evaluation Score) methodology for insurers to assess local fire protection and mitigation efforts.

Photo by Jeff Finley on Unsplash

Linux Foundation Hosts Collaboration Among World’s Largest Insurance Companies

By Blog

openIDL platform provides a standardized data repository streamlining regulatory reporting and enabling the delivery of next-gen risk and insurance applications

San Francisco, Calif., April 12, 2021 – The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, and the American Association of Insurance Services (AAIS), today are announcing the launch of OpenIDL, the Open Insurance Data Link platform and project. The platform will reduce the cost of regulatory reporting for insurance carriers, provide a standardized data repository for analytics and a connection point for third parties to deliver new applications to members.

openIDL brings together some of the world’s largest insurance companies, including The Hanover and Selective Insurance Group, along with technology and service providers Chainyard, KatRisk and MOBI to advance a common distributed ledger platform for sharing information and business processes across the insurance ecosystem.

The first use case for the openIDL network is regulatory reporting in the Property and Casualty (P&C) insurance industry. Initially built with guidance from AAIS, a leading insurance advisory organization and statistical reporting agent, openIDL leverages the trust and integrity inherent in distributed ledger networks. The secure platform guarantees to regulators and other insurance industry participants that data is accurate and complete, implemented by a “P&C Reporting Working Group” within the openIDL network.

“From the very beginning, we recognized the enormous transformative potential for openIDL and distributed ledger technology,” said AAIS CEO Ed Kelly. “We are happy to work with the Linux Foundation to help affect meaningful, positive change for the insurance ecosystem.”

Insurance sectors beyond P&C are expected to be supported by openIDL in the coming months, and use cases will expand beyond regulatory. A “Flood Working Group” has already been assembled to develop use case catastrophe modeling in support of insurers and regulators. openIDL is also collaborating on joint software development activities, building upon Hyperledger Fabric, Hadoop, Node.js, MongoDB and other open technologies to implement a “harmonized data store,” enabling data privacy and accountable operations.

The combined packaging of this software is called an “openIDL Node,” approved and certified by developers working on this project, and every member of the network will be running that software in order to participate in the openIDL network. Additional joint software development for analytics and reporting are also included in the openIDL Linux Foundation network.

“We’re delighted to join openIDL with AAIS and the Linux Foundation. It is strategically important for Selective to be part of industry efforts to innovate our regulatory reporting and use distributed ledgers,” said Michael H. Lanza, executive vice president, general counsel & chief compliance officer of Selective Insurance Group, Inc.

openIDL is a Linux Foundation “Open Governance Network.” These networks comprise nodes run by many different organizations, bound by a shared distributed ledger that provides an industry utility platform for recording transactions and automating business processes. It leverages open source code and community governance for objective transparency and accountability among participants. The network and the node software are built using open source development practices and principles managed by the Linux Foundation in a manner that enterprises can trust.

“AAIS, and the insurance industry in general, are trailblazers in their contribution and collaboration to these technologies,” said Mike Dolan, senior vice president and general manager of Projects at the Linux Foundation. “Open governance networks like openIDL can now accelerate innovation and development of new product and service offerings for insurance providers and their customers. We’re excited to host this work.”

As an open source project, all software source code developed will be licensed under an OSI-approved open source license, and all interface specifications developed will be published under an open specification license. And all technical discussions between participants will take place publicly, further enhancing the ability to expand the network to include other participants. As with an openly accessible network, organizations can develop their own proprietary applications and infrastructure integrations.

Additional Members & Partner Statements



Chainyard is pleased to join the OpenIDL initiative as an infrastructure member,” said Isaac Kunkel, Chainyard SVP Consulting Services. “Blockchain is a team sport and with the openIDL platform, companies, regulators and vendors are forming an ecosystem to collaborate on common issues for the betterment of the insurance industry. The entire industry will benefit through more accurate data and better decision making.”


“The openIDL platform will serve to increase access to state of the art catastrophe modelling data from KatRisk and others, serving to reduce the friction required to house and run said models. KatRisk expects all parties, from direct insurance entities to regulators, to see an increase in data quality, reliability and ease of access as catastrophe modelling output is effectively streamed across OpenIDL nodes to generate automated reports and add to or create internal business intelligence databases. If catastrophe models are about owning your own risk, then the OpenIDL platform is an effective tool to better understand and manage that risk,” said Brandon Katz, executive vice president, member, KatRisk.


“The Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) is delighted to join with the Linux Foundation, AAIS, and insurance industry leaders in founding OpenIDL.  Data sharing and digital collaboration in business ecosystems via industry consortium ledgers like OpenIDL will drive competitive advantage for many years to come,” said Chris Ballinger, founder and CEO, MOBI.

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About the Linux Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more. The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information, please visit us at


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. For more information about AAIS, please visit



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Media Contact

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