An insurance and reinsurance industry trade organization headquartered in the UK is launching a new blockchain research project.

The London Market Group has announced that it will investigate the use of smart contracts and blockchain for potential applications in the wholesale insurance market. Members of the trade organization include representatives from major firms like Allianz, AIG and Lloyd’s.

The organization is working with research outfit Z/Yen on the initiative, which according to statements seeks “to create a common view of the potential benefits that smart contracts could bring”.

Justin Emrich, who serves as CIO for Atrium Underwriters, said in a statement:

“There is significant hype around blockchain and smart contracts these days. It is the ‘next big thing’ according to the technology world, so we have commissioned Z/Yen to assist us all in understanding the potential application of these technologies in wholesale insurance.”

The research project fits squarely within an industry modernization effort being pursued by the London Market Group. The group is aiming to release a report compiling the results of its research sometime before the end of the year.

The London Market Group added that it plans to develop additional reports focused on the technology, including educational materials for organization members.

The announcement comes weeks after a group of European insurers and reinsurers announced that they would form a blockchain consortium in a bid to collaboratively develop applications. The companies are weighing whether the tech might lead to material changes in how they do business. The insurance industry as a whole has been looking at potential use cases, driving activity in the startup space.

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