Coinbase may have started as a cryptocurrency exchange and wallet provider, but it isn’t opposed to diversification. The company is apparently considering introducing a “captive insurance company,” which would be launched through a partnership with the Aon insurance brokerage firm.
Aon has been helping create captive insurance companies in the Cayman Islands at the beginning of the year. The term refers to a type of subsidiary established by a private company in order to certain financial losses in accordance with a regulated state insurance department. In other words, instead of paying insurance premiums, that money would go toward the subsidiary’s insurance capabilities.
There is a recognizable lack of insurance coverage for the crypto industry. Exchanges, in particular, are vulnerable to losses incurred from hacks and other forms of theft and often resort to setting aside a portion of their earnings to cover such losses. Kraken, for example, has said that its balance sheet is basically a representation of its insurance fund. However, this solution isn’t ideal, as it doesn’t provide any formal recourse or include any regulatory guidance—the captive insurance solutions do.
Aon already has a small group of captive clients and the company’s managing director, Jacqueline Quintal, expects more movement toward adoption. She said earlier this year, “There is a lack of capacity and some are uncomfortable with what is available in the marketplace and are looking to alternative solutions. I think the path for most will be to buy some amount of traditional insurance first and then to explore alternative structures, potentially including a captive—and we are having more and more of these conversations.”
Kraken decided to set aside around $100 million of its own revenue after not being able to find a suitable public or private insurance alternative. The company’s CEO, Jesse Powell, has stated, “There’s just not a good deal out there. I’m sure you can get someone to write you a deal for like 10% a year of the balance and actually have real meaningful coverage. But I don’t think people are going to pay that.”
As the Bitcoin ecosystem continues to mature, there will be more options made available that are taken for granted in other industries today. However, until that happens, creative solutions to everyday problems are needed.
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