ITC DIA Europe

A pivotal step in safeguarding the digital asset landscape

Written by Jolijn Schalkwijk on Feb 15, 2024

We sat down with Genevieve Jubitana, a dynamic leader with a talent for fostering meaningful connections and a passion for innovation. Her career journey has been marked by roles in business development within the international insurance sector, including positions with a carrier and insurance broker, industry associate, and claims management and loss adjusting agency.

Currently, as the Head of Insurance at Avata, Genevieve continues to leverage her expertise to drive meaningful change as she delves into the exciting landscapes of blockchain, digital assets, and Web 3.0. Avata is an insurtech that embraces technology to help insurers navigate the digital ecosystem and offers new products for digital citizens. In this interview, Genevieve explained how to understand digital asset risk, identify the challenges of valuing digital assets, and why insurers should act now to create products that are fit for purpose.

What is the relevance of digital assets in insurance today?

“Blockchain technology might not be the sexiest technology at the moment, compared to for example AI. However, as an enabling technology, I am confident it’s very promising and still very relevant today. A particularly interesting development powered by blockchain technology is the process of tokenization, where a token is created on a blockchain that represents an asset, whether that is a tangible asset or an intangible asset such as digital art.

The best example for this is of course NFTs, the non-fungible tokens that have seen their hype cycle back in 2021. If we look beyond the hype cycle, ’we still see increasing adoption across different industries. First embraced by  the arts and creative industry and powered by gaming as well, we now also see a big take up in, for instance, luxury and fashion. A few months ago, Nike and RTFKT announced another drop of a sneaker, and this time it was not just a digital sneaker that was presented, but ’ an actual shoe that comes with an NFT, minted as a digital twin of that shoe.

Nike is not alone, there are many luxury brands that are seeking their way into the digital realm. This development is powered by changing legislation and regulations, first in Europe, with Digital Product Passports (DPPs) being connected to these Phygital assets – a combination of digital and physical. These Passports allow for digital certification of these products that show for instance the traceability of the value chain and function as proof of ownership and authenticity of the product. It also allows for other benefits to be combined with this product, such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality experiences, real world events, and other activities that are made available for the tokenholder. One of the trends that we are seeing at Avata is to embed insurance and warranty products into these Digital Products Passports.

There’s an interesting report published by Citigroup in 2023, called ‘Money, Tokens and Games’. In their projections,  tokenization of financial assets and real-world assets such as real estate, for instance,  will drive mass adoption of blockchain technology. They project that by the year 2030, this will be a 4 trillion US dollar market. So if you needed an incentive to dive into the opportunities that tokenization, powered by blockchain technology, bring, this is one I would say.”

So who is driving this movement? Who are these digital citizens that insurers should target?

“It’s not just the gaming audience anymore or Gen-Z buying digital fashion. It’s you and me adopting Central Bank Digital Currency, CBDCs. It’s our high net worth clients who are building in parallel with their tangible assets inside their homes, a portfolio of digital assets –  they knock on our doors for solutions that offers them protection.

And it will continue to also be our children, who are the digital natives who live and breathe digital. I am always amazed by my children, I have two boys, age nine and eleven. The other day they came home from school and asked me whether they could spend some time gaming on their computers. I gave them my consent and  they engaged in a meetup in Roblox with their friends from school to play digital hide and seek. While they were playing this, they were discussing their digital outfits and that they needed Robux, the game’s digital currency, to buy their avatars new outfits. As such, our kids are very familiar with the concept of digital currencies and having a digital identity as they are with the perks and benefits that are associated with that.

Perhaps the concept of an avatar selling insurance products to our clients today is a bit far-fetched for some. But, I would argue that what we consider minimum requirements today will likely be surpassed by the expectations of our children in the future. In the same Citigroup report mentioned before, it was stated that successful adoption of blockchain will be when blockchain has a billion plus users who do not even realize that they are using the technology. I believe this principle applies equally to our insurance product offering and future clients.”

What do we as an industry need to do today to make sure that we can safely and securely navigate these digital ecosystems?

“I think we are well-equipped within the industry to onboard this new journey. I also think that our existing products and services can be translated into that new ecosystem. We just need to start making that transition. And the good thing is, I don’t think that we need a new toolbox to do that, as the ingredients of success are already here. There’s plenty of knowledge and experience to leverage upon within our existing teams.. Empower those who want to learn and develop. Or, team up with external partners.

The second point is, that I think we a clear vision and ongoing support from our regulatory bodies across different jurisdictions to allow for consensus and new industry standards across different regions. This will stimulate innovation and allow for product development targeted at a digital and global audience, whilst keeping the industry healthy and safe.

And lastly, I think we need commitment to compliant and responsible data sharing. A good example are decentralized digital identities. These have the potential to transcend various industries as well as different metaverses and blockchain networks, whether public or private. This integration promises a more streamlined ecosystem and will at the same time also empower consumers. So, if you’d ask me: ‘What lies beyond tomorrow?’ I would say: ‘A world of opportunities!’.”

Genevieve Jubitana, Head of Insurance, Avata
Amsterdam 12-13 June

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