Like many stakeholders in the insurance technology arena, the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD) took advantage of its annual conference (the 2009 ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum) this week in Orlando to bolster its influence in the industry with several announcements.
First, in a clear effort to expand their presence in the Excess & Surplus area, ACORD LOMA and the American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA) announced that they have joined each other's organizations. This more formal relationship will enhance their shared message of improving Excess & Surplus lines data flow through standards. The effort is in response to E&S carriers that use their own unique systems and have created online applications for the agents to re-key the information. This information already exists in many agency management systems so the implementation of ACORD standards would improve the speed, efficiency, and accuracy of data by eliminating rekeying. ACORD has developed several XML messages as well as numerous forms to support E&S business which the AAMGA is advocating. Forms include: * 125 - Commercial Insurance Application Applicant Information Section * 140 - Property Section * 126 - Commercial General Liability Section * 130 - Workers Compensation Application * 160 - Business Owners Application Draft Supplement for E&S * 105 - Draft Apartment Building Supplement
* 106 - Draft Vacant Building Supplement
The relationship is more of a formality, notes Ann Henstrand, assistant vice president, Industry & Government Affairs. "ACORD and AAMGA have been working together for many years to improve data communication for E&S lines. ACORD has developed the standards and AAMGA has advocated the implementation of those standards to the MGA community. Through this reciprocal membership, we're making our relationship more concrete to our memberships and to the industry so that we can more clearly speak with a unified message encouraging ACORD standards implementation."
The AAMGA represents more than 500 members and is the leader in and voice of the wholesale and excess and surplus lines insurance industry. One of their main goals is to advance the knowledge of their members and encourage the full utilization of technology. The AAMGA Automation Committees specific mission is to improve use of automation and technology internally with greater efficiency among its members. With a shared goal, ACORD and the Committee continue to work together to increase both the knowledge about and implementation of the ACORD E&S standards.
ACORD also announced at its conference that its Framework is gaining momentum, as it released one of the main facets of its Framework - the Information Model - to members yesterday at the 2009 ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum. The goal of the ACORD Framework is to update the standards development process to create consistent standards regardless of standard type (i.e., form, xml), geography or line of business such as life or P&C. There are five facets to the Framework: Business Dictionary, Capability Model with Process Maps, Component Model with Service Maps, Data Model, and Information Model.
The Information Model plays a central role in this standards development process as it provides the relationships among insurance concepts. It also provides an understanding of how information relates and where information enters the data flow which benefits all parties.
Across the development lifecycle, the Information Model can be used to support all participants. Business analysts, for example, can more easily frame how requirements are structured and where additional data is needed. For the architects, the Model allows them to gain a better view of how data interrelates which can lead to the development of reusable software. It even supports project management by highlighting the development process and parts that leads to better timeline estimates and scope management. At present, the Model contains more than 1,000 classes with more than 2,600 attributes and is designed for extensibility to accommodate future requirements.
"We've made a tremendous amount of progress in a short amount of time thanks to the generous donations by ACORD member companies and the hard work and dedication of our membership," said Frank Neugebauer, assistant vice president, technology of ACORD. "With our current momentum, we're sure to see many more advances that will benefit the standards process and the industry as a whole."
Finally, ACORD announced the release of two new books. The ACORD Information Model: A Primer, is co-authored by Frank Neugebauer, and introduces the Information Model in the context of the Framework to help readers visualize the importance of data to their overall business. Other coauthors include Boris Bulanov, Progress Software and Kenneth Ekers, Prima Solutions. The second book, announced at the Forum by Greg Maciag, ACORDs president an d CEO, is titled The Real-Time World: Enabled By ACORD Standards" in which Maciag addresses today's pressing technological and economic issues while illustrating the role that standards play in supporting business through good times and bad. Drawing on his years of experience in insurance technology, Maciag provides new insights and perspectives on the industry, asserting that the policies and best practices established today will pay dividends over time. Maciag also stresses the strategic importance of standards and the need to get them implemented across the industry, especially in light of today's business and economy conditions. The books are available through www.acord.org.
This article can also be found at InsuranceNetworking.com.
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