United States: FEMA Advisory Board Seeks DLT to Accelerate “Disaster Dividend” Payouts

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the U.S. is mulling a distributed ledger technology-powered registry to accelerate the process of disaster relief payments. This was reported in a draft text of the National Advisory Council’s (NAC) November report, November 18, 2019.

Tapping Blockchain for Disaster Management

In a bid to speed up the cumbersome and time-consuming process of disaster relief payments, the U.S. NAC has recommended the development of a blockchain-enabled platform.

Per sources close to the matter, the NAC’s draft text has requested FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor to test the proposed initiative with a pilot project that would leverage blockchain technology to register land records. The NAC states that DLT can bring a large degree of streamlining and simplification to the process of government payouts that the affected rely on during instances of natural calamities.

The draft reads in part:

In many disasters, such as Hurricanes Maria in Puerto Rico or Harvey in Texas, affected communities may lose the type of information needed to file a claim, such as policy documents, land ownership records, and personal identification, among others.

Adding:

By piloting a blockchain-based registry in this manner, FEMA can catalyze cross-sector engagement and develop technology-enabled use cases that can improve the speed of disaster responses and insurance claim payments, without sacrificing accuracy or increasing the risk of fraud.

In addition to developing a blockchain-enabled land/property registry, the NAC has also asked FEMA to partner with insurance entities to “consider making the triggering event a federal disaster declaration or the buildup to an impending threat or hazard.”

According to the NAC, the aforementioned measures would allow for easier liquidation of insurance policies when the affected apply for a “disaster dividend” or “harm’s way” claim. For the uninitiated, such claims in the U.S. can be used to compensate the impacted individuals for evacuated related expenses.

Blockchain for Humanitarian Purposes

While blockchain technology can often be observed making rounds of the Wall Street and other financial hubs across the world, the list of its use-cases for humanitarian purposes is seemingly picking up the steam too.

As reported by BTCManager on October 7, 2019, Dutch blockchain startup FairChain Foundation – in tandem with the United Nations Development Programme – has launched a DLT pilot to tackle global poverty.

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