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The information superhighway is undergoing a new phase of development.

More than two decades after the internet went mainstream, blockchain technology--often described as the Internet 2.0--is paving the way for an exchange of assets the way the internet allowed for an exchange of information. Blockchain, the technology behind the digital currency bitcoin, is a decentralized distributed ledger that aims to be an indisputable record of transactions. Insurers are exploring this new avenue of the technology infrastructure, testing ways in which it might be put to use in policyholder onboarding, policy administration, payments and claims.

Interest in the blockchain has taken off over the past year. In 2016, blockchain was mentioned in 11 articles on Best's Neu's Service and in three in Best's Review. In 2015, no articles mentioned blockchain.

Some things come and go, and blockchain could be one of them. But experts tell Best's Review they think this technology is more than just a passing fad.

While the digital world is moving ahead with its advances, the physical infrastructure has been in disrepair for some time. Wear and tear have always been problems, but now new threats are emerging.

In 2013, hackers with ties to the Iranian government accessed the command and control center of a small dam in Rye, New York. That incident failed because the dam was offline at the time for repairs, but it demonstrates that the information superhighway can also be a conduit for real-world attacks on physical infrastructure. The deteriorating infrastructure and new threats offer opportunity for insurers in more ways than one.

In our Critical Infrastructure package, Best's Review looks at both blockchain technology and the physical infrastructure. Blockchain Reaction explores blockchain and looks at some of the ways insurers are using it. In Critical Juncture and Partnering Up, Best's Review examines coverage issues tied to physical infrastructure, as well as investment opportunities such as public-private partnerships.

Public-private partnerships are just one type of investment that insurers are exploring in the ongoing low interest rate environment. In Point of Lou> Return,Best's Review talks to investment managers about the investment outlook for 2017 and where they are looking for higher returns.

Our November issue also includes our annual focus on homeowners coverage. In The Tech Effect, we explore how insurers are using data from drones and connected homes to improve their underwriting capabilities. We also present our exclusive rankings of U.S. homeowners multiple peril writers.

The November issue also ships with our Guide to Understanding Insurance .This unique publication provides a comprehensive explanation of how the insurance industry operates, generates revenue and provides opportunities.

Patricia Vowinkel

Executive Editor

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Title Annotation:From the Editor's Desk
Author:Vowinkel, Patricia
Publication:Best's Review
Date:Nov 1, 2016
Words:437
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