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    Researchers Submit Patent Application, “Systems And Methods For Utilizing A Blockchain For Maintaining Insured Loss History”, for Approval (USPTO 20210287296): Patent Application

    2021 SEP 01 (NewsRx) — By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Insurance Daily News — From Washington, D.C., NewsRx journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Alt, Jacob J. (Downs, IL, US); Bellas, Eric (Bloomington, IL, US); Call, Shawn M. (Bloomington, IL, US); King, Vicki (Bloomington, IL, US); Leise, William J. (Normal, IL, US); Magerkurth, Melinda Teresa (Utica, IL, US); Moore, Eric R. (Heyworth, IL, US); Skaggs, Jaime (Chenoa, IL, US), filed on March 2, 2018, was made available online on September 16, 2021.

    No assignee for this patent application has been made.

    News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: “Vehicles undergo a variety of information exchange periods during their lifecycle. Some of these information exchange periods are brought on by accidents, sales, or the eventual destruction of the vehicle. Managing the vehicle life cycle process involves multiple participants exchanging a variety of information. The number of interactions between these parties means the parties have to provide and validate information. Theses interactions often occur between businesses and consumers, or businesses and other businesses. However, using conventional techniques, managing the vehicle life cycle may include several drawbacks.”

    As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, NewsRx correspondents also obtained the inventors’ summary information for this patent application: “The present embodiments may be related to a Blockchain Registry based on a VIN or other asset identifier, an insured identifier, and/or an insurance-related identifier. A national or other registry of automobile VIN numbers may be commonly accessed and/or updated by organizations, such as auto manufacturers, insurance carriers, financial institutions, fleet owners, banks, body shops, part suppliers, State Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs), and/or salvage vendors. The Blockchain Registry, utilizing blockchain technology, may be a single, historical, authoritative source for multiple pieces of information about each vehicle and/or individual that is accessed, tracked, and updated using Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) and/or insured identifiers (such as a social security number or an insurance policy number).

    “The Blockchain Registry may have various usages, and may allow for the introduction of new capabilities into current processes. Examples of such usage include: (1) validating proof of insurance on a vehicle (available to law enforcement, lienholders, vehicle owners, etc.); (2) tracking vehicle ownership from “cradle to grave,” via seamless title transfers between manufacturers, dealers, consumers, salvage yard, etc.; (3) identifying the current lienholder of a vehicle, and the current lien payoff amount (e.g., for more frictionless processing of payment such as in a total loss situation, or for loan refinancing situations); (4) ensuring lien perfection (e.g., title reflects joint ownership by person and lienholder); (5) reducing fraud by detecting duplicate coverage or duplicate claims for a single vehicle, or detecting buildup or questionable claims; (6) tracking maintenance or repair work that has been, or is to be, performed on a vehicle; (7) when coupled with crash detection, performing first notification of loss to the appropriate insurer; (8) in conjunction with connected car capabilities, limiting the vehicle’s capabilities if the vehicle isn’t registered properly, lacks insurance coverage, or the owner is behind on loan payments; (9) connected license plates, reflecting the current registration status; (10) facilitating Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) or trip-based insurance; (11) recording all OEM features, part numbers, (autonomous or other vehicle) system or software of versions of the vehicle (beyond what can derived from the VIN, make, and model information), i.e., the vehicle build; (12) more accurate insurance rating based upon known security or safety features of a vehicle (which may impact either a human driven vehicle, or a semi-autonomous or autonomous vehicle or technology, or both); (13) more accurate repair cost estimations based upon known vehicle features (which may impact human driving, or vehicle self-driving); and/or (14) facilitating recall notifications in a prompt and reliable manner.

    “Potential blockchain participants may include auto manufacturers, insurance carriers, consumers, individual vehicle owners, fleet owners, salvage vendors, auditors, State DMVs, auto dealerships, banks or credit unions, lienholders, body shops, repair facilities, tow truck operations, part supplies, rental companies, and/or law enforcement.

    “Potential data elements included in the blockchain and/or each blockchain transaction, block, or update may include vehicle VIN number and/or insured identifiers and one or more additional data elements associated with that particular vehicle and/or insured. The additional data elements may include owner and/or insured information, such as owner type (manufacturer, dealer, consumer, lienholder, etc.); owner ID (EIN, SSN, etc.); owner name; and/or owner contact information (address, phone, email address, etc.). The additional data elements may include insurance carrier information, such as insurer name; insurance policy ID or number; an indication of whether the policy remains in force (Y/N?); effective dates of the policy; expiration date of the insurance coverage; and/or insurance policy coverages, terms, limits, deductibles, conditions, etc.

    “The additional data elements may include lienholder information, such as lienholder name; lienholder contact information; whether the loan is in good standing (Y/N?); and/or current payoff amount. The additional data elements may include a license plate number; state of issuance; and whether the vehicle registration with the state DMV is up-to-date. The additional data elements may include an indication of any claims made; including date of first notice of loss; insurance carrier that the claim was filed with; claim open date; claim close date; an amount of the claim; and whether or not the claim was resolved. The additional data elements may include information on maintenance or repair events, including event type; event date; event cost; and/or one or more locations associated with the event (e.g., city and state of event location).

    “The Blockchain Registry may be used in conjunction with smart contracts that govern the vehicles, including autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles. For instance, the smart contracts may related to maintenance, warranties, vehicle loans, service contracts, UBI, trip-insurance, auto insurance policies, vehicle titles, vehicle salvage, total loss vehicles, etc. When an event or data relevant to a vehicle or a smart contract is generated, a transaction associated with the vehicle’s VIN and/or insured identifier and may be generated and compiled into a block of a distributed ledger (or Blockchain Registry). The transaction or update to the distributed ledger or Blockchain Registry may include (i) the vehicle’s VIN and/or insured identifier, and (ii) one or more additional data elements associated with the vehicle and/or insured, including the additional data elements mentioned elsewhere herein.

    “In one aspect, a computer-implemented method of utilizing blockchain technology to maintain a loss history blockchain associated with an insured may be provided. The method may include (1) receiving, via one or more processors and/or associated transceivers (such as via wireless communication or data transmission over one or more radio links), an indication that the insured has filed an insurance claim associated with an insurance policy covering an insured asset and an identifier associated with the insured; (2) transmitting, via the one or more processors and/or associated transceivers, the indication and the insured identifier to a plurality of nodes of a blockchain network; (3) accessing, via the one or more processors, the loss history blockchain associated with the insured using the insured identifier as a key; (4) creating, via the one or more processors, a new block including the indication of the insurance claim and/or the insured identifier; and/or (5) updating, via the one or more processors, the loss history blockchain with the new block by forming a consensus on the new block with the plurality of nodes of the loss history blockchain to facilitate maintaining the loss history blockchain up-to-date. The method may include additional, less, or alternate functionality, including that discussed elsewhere herein.

    “In another aspect, a system for utilizing blockchain technology to maintain a loss history blockchain associated with an insured may be provided. The system may include (i) a network interface configured to interface with a processor; (ii) a memory configured to store non-transitory computer executable instructions and configured to interface with the processor; and/or (iii) the processor configured to interface with the memory. The processor may be configured to execute the non-transitory computer executable instructions to cause the system to (1) receive an indication that the insured has filed an insurance claim associated with an insurance policy covering an insured asset and an identifier associated with the insured; (2) transmit the indication and the insured identifier to a plurality of nodes of a blockchain network; (3) access the loss history blockchain associated with the insured using the insured identifier as a key; (4) create a new block including the indication of the insurance claim and/or the insured identifier; and/or (5) update the loss history blockchain with the new block by forming a consensus on the new block with the plurality of nodes of the loss history blockchain to facilitate maintaining the loss history blockchain up-to-date The system may include additional, less, or alternate functionality, including that discussed elsewhere herein.

    “Advantages will become more apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art from the following description of the preferred aspects, which have been shown and described by way of illustration. As will be realized, the present aspects may be capable of other and different aspects, and their details are capable of modification in various respects. Accordingly, the drawings and description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature and not as restrictive.

    “The figures depict aspects of the present embodiments for purposes of illustration only. One skilled in the art will readily recognize from the following discussion that alternate aspects of the structures and methods illustrated herein may be employed without departing from the principles of the invention described herein.”

    The claims supplied by the inventors are:

    “1. A computer-implemented method of utilizing blockchain technology to maintain a loss history blockchain associated with an insured, the method comprising: receiving, via one or more processors and/or associated transceivers, an indication that the insured has filed an insurance claim associated with an insurance policy covering an insured asset and an insured identifier associated with the insured, wherein the indication includes a photograph, and wherein the insured identifier is a social security number or an insurance policy number; hashing, via the one or more processors, the photograph; transmitting, via the one or more processors and/or associated transceivers, the indication and the insured identifier to a plurality of nodes of a blockchain network; accessing, via the one or more processors, the loss history blockchain associated with the insured using the insured identifier as a key to identify an insured record corresponding to the insured identifier by searching the loss history blockchain for a block which includes the insured identifier; adding, via the one or more processors, the insured identifier, the indication of the insurance claim, and the hash of the photograph to an insured loss transaction; creating, via the one or more processors, a new block including the insured loss transaction; and updating, via the one or more processors, the loss history blockchain with the new block by forming a consensus on the new block with the plurality of nodes of the loss history blockchain to facilitate maintaining the loss history blockchain up-to-date.

    “2. (canceled)

    “3. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein a node of the plurality of nodes is associated with the insured.

    “4. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein accessing the loss history blockchain using the insured identifier includes: verifying, via the one or more processors, the insured identifier stored at the block.

    “5. The computer-implemented method of claim 4, further comprising: wherein, if the insured identifier is not stored at a block, generating, via the one or more processors, the insured record using the insured identifier; linking, via the one or more processors, the insured loss transaction and the insured record; adding, via the one or more processors, the insured loss transaction to a set of insured loss transactions; and adding, via the one or more processors, the set of insured loss transactions and the insured record to the created block.

    “6. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein updating the loss history blockchain includes: adding, via the one or more processors, the insured identifier and the indication of the insurance claim to an insured loss transaction; and adding, via the one or more processors, the set of insured loss transactions to the created block.

    “7. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, further comprising: solving, via the one or more processors, a cryptographic puzzle corresponding to the created block; and adding, via the one or more processors, the solution to the cryptographic puzzle to the created block.

    “8. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, further comprising: updating, at the memory, the loss history blockchain by adding the created block to the loss history blockchain.

    “9. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein the plurality of nodes includes at least one node associated with an insurer, a vehicle, a repair shop, or combinations thereof.

    “10. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, further comprising: receiving, via the one or more processors, a repair notification from a node associated with a repair shop.

    “11. A system for utilizing blockchain technology to maintain a loss history blockchain associated with an insured, the system comprising: a network interface configured to interface with a processor; a memory configured to store non-transitory computer executable instructions and configured to interface with the processor; and the processor configured to interface with the memory, wherein the processor is configured to execute the non-transitory computer executable instructions to cause the system to: receive an indication that the insured has filed an insurance claim associated with an insurance policy covering an insured asset and an insured identifier associated with the insured, wherein the indication includes a photograph, and wherein the insured identifier is a social security number or an insurance policy number; hash the photograph; transmit the indication and the insured identifier to a plurality of nodes of a blockchain network; access the loss history blockchain associated with the insured using the insured identifier as a key to identify an insured record corresponding to the insured identifier by searching the loss history blockchain for a block which includes the insured identifier; add the insured identifier, the indication of the insurance claim, and the hash of the photograph to an insured loss transaction; create a new block including the insured loss transaction; and update the loss history blockchain with the new block by forming a consensus on the new block with the plurality of nodes of the loss history blockchain to facilitate maintaining the loss history blockchain up-to-date.

    “12. (canceled)

    “13. The system of claim 11, wherein a node of the plurality of nodes is associated with the insured.

    “14. The system of claim 11, wherein to access the loss history blockchain using the insured identifier, the instructions, when executed by the processor, cause the system to: verify the insured identifier stored at the block.

    “15. The system of claim 14, wherein the instructions, when executed by the processor, cause the system to: wherein, if the insured identifier is not stored at a block, generate the insured record using the insured identifier; link the insured loss transaction and the insured record; add the insured loss transaction to a set of insured loss transactions; and add the set of insured loss transactions and the insured record to the created block.

    “16. The system of claim 11, wherein to update the loss history blockchain, the instructions, when executed by the processor, cause the system to: add the insured loss transaction to a set of insured loss transactions; and add the set of insured loss transactions to the created block.

    “17. The system of claim 11, wherein the instructions, when executed by the processor, cause the system to: solve a cryptographic puzzle corresponding to the created block; and add the solution to the cryptographic puzzle to the created block.

    “18. The system of claim 11, wherein the instructions, when executed by the processor, cause the system to: update the loss history blockchain by adding the created block to the loss history blockchain.

    “19. The system of claim 11, wherein the plurality of nodes includes at least one node associated with an insurer, a vehicle, a repair shop, or combinations thereof.

    “20. The system of claim 11, wherein the instructions, when executed by the processor, cause the system to: receive a repair notification from a node associated with a repair shop.

    “21. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein the insured identifier is the social security number.”

    For additional information on this patent application, see: Alt, Jacob J.; Bellas, Eric; Call, Shawn M.; King, Vicki; Leise, William J.; Magerkurth, Melinda Teresa; Moore, Eric R.; Skaggs, Jaime. Systems And Methods For Utilizing A Blockchain For Maintaining Insured Loss History. Filed March 2, 2018 and posted September 16, 2021. Patent URL: https://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220210287296%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20210287296&RS=DN/20210287296

    (Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world.)

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