Speakers

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Olivier Rikken
Director of Blockchain & Smart Contracts
AXVECO

Olivier graduated as MSc in systems engineering, policy analysis and management at Delft University of Technology on the topic of discrete simulation models as support for continuous process improvement. Throughout his career he worked in various industries, always in roles responsible for both business strategy/process improvement on the one hand and IT development on the other, leading operational and IT teams. During his executive MBA at Nyenrode/Kellogg/Stellenbosch he started in the banking industry. In that time he first came into contact with blockchain and immediately saw the potential, so here the blockchain deep dive journey started. Things have been moving fast ever since. For the past years he has been working full time as blockchain and smart contract expert with in-depth knowledge of Ethereum. Besides working as director at AXVECO, one of the leading blockchain consultancy firms in the Netherlands, he is the chairman of the Smart Contract workgroup and member of the Human Capital Agenda of the Dutch Blockchain Coalition, member of the ISO world standardisation group for smart contracts, entrepreneur working on an Ethereum based insurance concept, advisor for the Ethereum start-up SwarmCity and advises various blockchain start-ups on the background.

Areiel Wolanow
Managing Director
Finserv Experts

Areiel is the Managing Director of Finserv Experts, an independent consultancy providing advisory and delivery services for technology-enabled business transformation. At IBM, Areiel was asked to launch their blockchain services practice for the ASEAN region; in this role he was responsible for IBM’s very first blockchain consulting project:  a trade finance prototype for HSBC and BofA.  Areiel has advised central banks and financial regulators around the world on blockchain adoption, and most recently was engaged by Lloyd’s of London to build a DLT prototype for the London Market. He is currently engaged in designing a mobile-based microinsurance solution for natural disasters in Indonesia.

Lee Bacon
Partner
Clyde & Co

Lee is a leading lawyer in smart contracts, blockchain and related technologies, having advised on such matters since 2015. He is currently instructed by clients seeking to utilise these emerging technologies on a number of projects including in relation to payment-rail systems, parametric  insurance and digital marketing.

Martin Baier
Program Manager, Mobility Innovation Lab
Zurich Group Germany

Martin Baier is an insurance professional with 15 years of experience. He has held a variety of roles both at insurers and financial consulting companies, including Generali Germany Group and Willis Towers Watson. He is a Program Manager at Zurich Group Germany working in the Mobility Innovation Lab. He leads different digitalization initiatives, including also Blockchain exploration. He founded the initiative “Blockchain Insurlab” and developed a prototype of a crop microinsurance scheme for smallholder farmers, based on Ethereum.

Ghanshyam Patil
Head of Blockchain
AXA XL, a division of AXA

Before joining the Insurance industry, Ghanshyam worked for technology firms for a number of years. Over the last 15+ years, he has performed various roles in Insurance – covering product management, technical architecture, development management and heading the delivery teams. He’s currently the head of Blockchain within AXA XL’s Digital area. Ghanshyam holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science. Being a technologist at heart, he focuses on leveraging the right technology to address real business problems. He’s a Blockchain evangelist and passionate about this technology & potential value it could bring to the Insurance industry.

Walid Al Saqqaf
Founder
Insureblocks

Walid Al Saqqaf is the founder of Insureblocks the leading podcast and educational / strategic advisory service to blockchain in the insurance space. Walid started off in the corporate world at Barclays Corporate Banking in 1998. As a serial entrepreneur he has co-founded 5 start-ups of which one had a successful acquisition and has worked in the innovation department at Beazley.. Walid is also a proud father of 2 little amazing daughters.

Dante Disparte
Chairman and CEO
Risk Cooperative

Dante Disparte is an entrepreneur, business leader and global risk expert. He is the founder and CEO of Risk Cooperative, a strategic risk advisory and insurance brokerage firm based in Washington, D.C. Dante serves on the board of the American Security Project, where he founded and chairs the Business Council. He is also a member of the Bretton Woods II Council and a fellow at New America. He is a frequent speaker and commentator on business and political issues shaping the world. From entrepreneurship, where he was invited by the White House to speak at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya, to risk, economic competitiveness and security issues, Dante’s wide-ranging views are regularly featured in leading media and publications, such as Harvard Business Review, Huffington Post, Forbes and International Policy Digest, among others. A graduate of Harvard Business School, where he chairs the D.C. alumni association and is a former member of the global alumni board. Dante holds an MSc. in Risk Management from the NYU Stern School of Business and a B.A. in International and Intercultural Studies from Goucher College. He is fluent in 6 languages and has conducted business all over the world. He is the co-author “Global Risk Agility and Decision Making” (Macmillan, 2016) and was recognized as one of the 40 leaders under 40 by the Washington Business Journal and in the inaugural Powermeter 100 list.

Linda Holmes
Founder & Director
London Blockchain Foundation

Linda Holmes is a Founding Director of the London Blockchain Foundation . The LBCF aims to promote London as a leading world centre of Blockchain technology through education, raising awareness and the application of critical thinking to Blockchain opportunities.   Linda has a background in leading divisions of large, complex organisations such as Thomson Reuters but also small entrepreneurial firms largely in the application of technology solutions.   She has an MBA from INSEAD and diplomas in Fintech and Blockchain from Oxford Saïd Business School.

Paul Meeusen
Advisor to the Board
B3i

Paul Meeusen is CEO of B3i, The Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative, that is overhauling the way insurance companies exchange data and trade risks. He was previously with Swiss Re where he held various positions in finance, accounting, operational treasury, audit and risk control. Prior to reinsurance, he was a Director in the Financial Advisory practice of PwC and he started his career with a provider of treasury, cash management and financial planning software. Paul designed the first blockchain use case for retrocession insurance in 2016, developed on Ethereum. He holds a Masters in economics from Leuven University (Belgium) and is a Certified Internal Auditor.

Dr. Samyr Mezzour
Head of Innovation Garage
Generali

Samyr is Head of the Innovation Garage at Generali Switzerland. One of his focus is to develop the organisation’s capabilities in Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain/Distributed Ledger Technologies, and Digital Payments. Samyr has over 12 years of experience from various industries such as strategy consulting, insurance, renewable energies, consumer goods. Samyr has a MSc from ETH Zurich and a PhD from HEC Lausanne

Magdalena Ramada Sarasola
InsurTech Innovation Leader EMEA
Willis Towers Watson

Magdalena is the ICT EMEA InsurTech Innovation Leader and a Director at Willis Towers Watson’s Insurance Consulting and Technology and leads the firm’s R&D efforts around blockchain technology. She joined WTW in 2005 as a Senior Economist and was the firm’s Head of Research and Analytical Services. Magda holds a M.Sc. in math. Finance and a PhD in Quantitative Economics and Finance. She was among the first to publish and discuss blockchain in the context of insurance and has focused almost exclusively on helping the insurance industry to understand and deploy blockchain/distributed ledger technologies for the past 4 years.

Jags Rao
Director, Co-Lead Distributed Ledger Technology
Swiss Re

Jags Rao is Director at Swiss Re and co-leads the DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) practice. Jags is a recognized thought leader in the insurance industry on blockchain and regularly speaks at conferences. He introduced blockchain to Swiss Re in 2015, spearheaded insurance industry's first prototype on blockchain and since then driving Swiss Re's strategic agenda for a successful business change using DLT. Jags coauthored a technical paper on privacy preserving transparency on blockchain networks. His passion is on the deeper and more disruptive aspects of DLT relevant to risk management in the new frontiers of the digital economy. Jags cofounded CrowdPassion platform to drive grass root innovation within Swiss Re in a fast, flexible and agile manner. He has over 23 years of experience in solution consulting, innovation management, service delivery and sales leadership with the blend of technology, business and entrepreneurial background.

Dr. Sebastian Rath
Principal Insurance Risk Officer
NN Group

Dr. Sebastian Rath is Principal Insurance Risk Officer at NN Group, a financial services group with presence in 18 countries. Sebastian works with board, their management and delivery teams advancing global macro themes. He is recognized for building big-data catastrophe and climate risk models for the global insurance market; shaping reinsurance pricing and capital market transactions; delivering models while challenging their use for regulatory frameworks including Solvency II; and evolving tech-enabled financial products on international level. Since 2015, Sebastian contributes to the insurance markets adoption distributed ledger technologies via industry initiatives and industry papers.

Ryan Rugg
Global Head of Insurance
R3

Ryan is the Global Head of Insurance for R3 and leads R3’s Insurance strategy to drive business growth. She is responsible for the strategic design, development and commercialization across the ecosystem of blockchain innovation within the Insurance Industry.  R3's blockchain platform has been the platform of choice for the insurance industry. R3 Corda integrates and secures the entire stream of disparate data sources, while simultaneously ensuring transparency across an interconnected network of clients, brokers, insurers and other third parties.

Hugh Karp
Founder
Nexus Mutual

Hugh Karp is an insurance professional and actuary with over 15 years of experience in the insurance industry. He has held a variety of roles in both primary and reinsurance companies including as CFO for a global reinsurers’ Life operations in the UK. He is now the Founder of Nexus Mutual, a decentralised discretionary mutual, that uses blockchain technology to replace the insurance entity with smart contract code.

Hugo Wegbrans
Chief Broking Officer Europe, Middle East & Africa
Aon

Hugo is the Chief Broking Officer of Aon in the EMEA region. In this role he responsible for setting the strategy of broking Aon clients’ risks into the insurance markets and the execution of this. Hugo has worked in the insurance industry for more than 30 years, whereby he has built up experience in the international market, primarily in the multinational accounts segment.

Karl Stanley
AVP Technology Ventures
Renaissance Re

Karl has been working in reinsurance since 2009, having started his career developing machine vision algorithms for the electronics industry. His experience runs from developing risk modelling and analytics systems, to pricing casualty reinsurance contracts, to the financial modelling of complex ceded reinsurance. In his current role, he manages Renaissance Re’s InsurTech partnerships, ensuring that RenRe’s capabilities remain relevant to the market. Karl holds a B.A. in Mathematics and an M.Sc. in Computer Science from Trinity College Dublin, as well as an M.Sc. in Finance from the London School of Economics.

Mark Simpson
Head of Consultancy
Armour Risk Management Ltd.

Mark’s primary focus is in helping clients to optimise people, process and technology performance, building greater self-sufficiency and resilience. With over 25 years’ experience in the insurance industry as a practioner and consultant in a range of leadership roles in strategic, operational, technology, consultancy and sales and marketing positions. He has supported a broad range of clients including start-ups, regional and global insurers and reinsurers on a range of projects including formation, acquisitions and disposals, offshoring, process and technology transformation, operating model implementation and cultural change.

Matt Peterman
CEO & Co-Founder
VouchForMe

Matt has been working in the insurance business and venture capital for over 15 years, investing and helping private equity companies grow. Before starting VouchForMe, he worked as a business development executive at Salviol Ltd., an insurance fraud detection company.

Oliver Volk

Blockchain Enthusiast & Keynote Speaker

Oliver has worked in different roles in the insurance and financial service industries for more than 18 years. He has experience in the corporate world as well as establishing his own company, and working within a start-up with a successful IPO. He holds a degree of Diplom-Kaufmann and he lead the Blockchain project within Allianz Re to automate the contractual management as part of the insurance industry value chain. Oliver also was actively involved in the B3i pilot project to create a common platform for the re-/insurance industry and is a keynote speaker.

Sylvain De Crom
Chief Product Officer
B3i

Sylvain started his career in investment banking and was most recently head of research and development efforts of Aegon Blue Square Re, Aegon’s in-house reinsurer. He joined B3i during its infancy as a consortium and was instrumental in designing and executing the B3i Cat XOL prototype. The successful release of the prototype led to the incorporation of B3i. As Chief Product Officer, he is responsible for the functional and product area and longer-term product development. He holds a Masters in Physics and Astronomy from Utrecht University in The Netherlands, with a focus on computational and statistical physics and has a keen interest in technology.