Back to top

Blockchain to SaaS: Why Insurwave made the technology switch

In Summary:

  • Start-ups often face growth problems when their technology hinders the long-term vision.
  • While the Insurwave platform began its life underpinned by blockchain technology, it prevented long-term growth, adaptability and scalability, prompting a shift in 2019.
  • The company pivoted toward transforming the existing on-premise platform into a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model that allowed for independent development, testing and deployment of services to provide a better experience for both clients and engineers.
  • Using the SaaS model, Insurwave is now the platform of choice for insurance buyers to consolidate, visualise and share their data to make smarter risk transfer decisions.

In today’s fast-moving world, one typical problem start-ups face is how to continue growing when your technology or design is no longer suited to your long-term vision. No one can predict the future, so as a result, certain decisions made early on may need to be updated to fit with the realities of where the start-up finds itself.

Insurwave began its life as a project led by one of the world’s biggest consulting agencies: Ernst & Young, and initially adopted blockchain technology to help it achieve its goal of digitalising insurance asset and policy data, allowing organisations to connect with other participants and share this data on the platform.

However, once the platform broke away and formed an independent company, its technical application hindered more than helped the company’s ability to scale.

Blockchain-enabled insurance

Speaking on the platform’s growth, Insurwave’s CTO Wojciech Kotlarski explained that when he began working at Insurwave in 2019, the challenge was the ability to scale, with the most significant difference being the hosting model and the way the company operated with the blockchain platform.

“The original platform was built using blockchain technology and was designed to be installed on every participant’s on-premise infrastructure, he explained. Then, the technology was used to securely exchange insurance information between the parties.”

Blockchain was reaching its height of popularity at this time (2019), with one survey published by Deloitte revealing that 53% of their respondents believed blockchain to be in their top five strategic priorities moving forward. However, its application can sometimes be more complex.

Upon joining, Wojciech quickly discovered that the release cycles of the platform were challenging to organise because the team had to coordinate the installation with every one of their clients, such as Maersk, simultaneously. In practice, this meant multi-hour downtimes and complicated installation processes that involved lots of manual work.

“Bigger organisations often had their procedures, so in some scenarios, it was impossible to interact with their infrastructure, ” Wojciech added. In other cases, it was possible to get access, but automation wasn’t an option.”

From Blockchain to SaaS

With growing complexity and an inability to scale using the existing platform, something had to give. Part of the advantage edge start-ups have is their adaptability and scalability over their traditional counterparts. So, when it was decided that this wasn’t a reality for Insurwave while it was underpinned by blockchain technology, the company pivoted toward transforming the existing on-premise platform into a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

 “We wanted to release faster, get feedback from clients quicker, and adapt to changing requirements and realities,” Wojciech said.

The journey to achieve this scalability went beyond the technical, involving organisational change as well as shifting the entire company towards smaller, self-organised and cross-functional teams. By doing this, Insurwave created a microservice architecture that allowed for independent development, testing and deployment of services alongside an increased ability to be adaptable regarding changing requirements and incidents to provide a better experience for both clients and engineers.

Why Saas?

Looking beyond the ability to scale, moving to a SaaS model also provided simplification and cost optimisation for Insurwave and its clients.

According to the CTO, with the SaaS platform, they could start applying unified monitoring processes, alerting systems and get insights from the platform. The resulting automations would later transform into a key selling point of the platform – allowing clients to remove some of the labour-intensive administration of insurance policies and endorsements in favour of a smoother experience.

For David Power, CEO at Insurwave, the platform needed to be flexible and adaptable in order to become a successful client-centric platform.

“We measure ourselves on speed to market and providing high quality platform experiences. Against these principles, the initial blockchain stack didn’t scale with our desired flexibility, pace and ambition,” he said.

As a result, Insurwave is now the platform of choice where insurance buyers consolidate, visualise and share their data with brokers and insurers to make smarter risk transfer decisions.

Want to see
Insurwave in action?



Request a demo