Insurance giant Allianz has been testing an internal token to move money around between its global affiliates without having to deal with currency conversions and other costs and inefficiencies.
Development of the so-called "Allianz token" is being helped along by blockchain startup Adjoint, which created a proprietary blockchain for the project, CoinDesk has learned. Adjoint declined to comment on the project.
But Oliver Volk, a blockchain expert at Allianz's reinsurance unit and representative to the B3i insurance blockchain consortium, confirmed that the token was in the works.
"Yes, we are thinking about a kind of Allianz token whereby money coming in will be converted to a token," he told CoinDesk, adding:
"But it's a very big animal and we don't know what kind of regulatory constraints there are."
Volk said an Allianz token would be "very helpful to get rid of FX constraints and other stuff we have to optimize, especially if you talk to certain currencies which we do not accept at our headquarters and have to be reconverted."
He said it would make sense to rely less on the banking system, as this would result in numerous savings on commissions and could be used by Allianz all over the world (the Fortune 500 company has operations in 100 countries).
The internal digital token is a project of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (ACGS), the business-to-business part of the insurer. It grew out of an Allianz captive insurance blockchain project to disburse payments using Citigroup's CitiConnect API.
Alan Cabello, the innovation program manager for central and eastern Europe at Allianz AGCS, said the token idea cropped up from his previous prototype built for captives and retrocessions, the practice of one reinsurance company providing services to another.
"It's essentially about the legal way of moving money from one side of the world to the other," Cabello said. "Because of regulation and governance, etc., you need to move it from one entity to the next to the next – and that takes time."
And that goes beyond the two or three days for a bank transfer to go through, he said. "It takes time to get every entity to book it, bind it; everybody at their own desk; it takes a lot of effort."
The problem is widespread, Cabello added. "Every single major industry and every major company has issues getting money from one side of the world to the other."
According to Volk, the corporate team at Allianz counted the emails one entity fielded regarding the transfer of a certain amount of money and it came to over 2,000.
Clients regularly ask where their money is, which is another reason Allianz thought of an internal token, Cabello said. "It's what we have been playing with for the past few months."
Cabello stressed that the token, while running on a blockchain, was nothing to do with cryptocurrency.
"It's pegged to the dollar," he said.
Allianz image via Shutterstock.