ACORD

ACORD is a global, nonprofit standards development organization serving the insurance industry and related financial services industries.

Members include hundreds of insurance and reinsurance companies, agents and brokers, software providers, and industry associations worldwide.

ACORD provides communications and transactions services to agents, brokers and other data partners in the insurance, reinsurance and related financial services industries. They specialize in life and annuity; property and casualty/surety; and reinsurance data transactions.

Focuses and tools include:

1) Life, Annuity & Health Data Model: The ACORD Life, Annuity & Health Data Model defines the data in the health, annuities, and insurance industries. The industry receives four major benefits: reusability, consistency, expandability, and interoperability.

2) XML for Life, Annuity & Health: ACORD XML (Extensible Markup Language) is the electronic language of the insurance Internet, facilitating real-time, cross-platform, peer-to-peer communication. ACORD XML for Life, Annuity & Health is based on the ACORD Life Data Model and provides an industry-tested XML vocabulary.

3) Life, Annuity & Health Forms: The development of standard ACORD Life Forms is used to exchange information with trading partners, exploit new markets, and streamline the new business process. The forms are based on the ACORD Life Data Model to enable support of electronic exchange of life forms data.

4) Property & Casualty/Surety Standards Program

5) ACORD XML for P&C/Surety: A standard created in eXtensible Markup Language (XML) that addresses the real-time requirement by defining P&C/Surety transactions that include both request and response messages for Personal Lines, Commercial Lines, Specialty Lines, Surety, Claims, and Accounting transactions.

6) AL3: Electronic data interchange (EDI) standards that focus on data exchange between P&C insurers, surety organizations, their agents and other trading partners.

7) P&C/Surety Forms: ACORD files P&C Forms with regulators on behalf of Forms Pool Program members. All ACORD P&C Forms are published annually in the Forms Instruction Guide on CD-ROM and on the ACORD website.

8) Reinsurance and Large Commercial Standards Program: This supports the Property & Casualty and Life reinsurance lines of business. Through the Reinsurance Standards Program, and with membership support and the involvement of industry-sponsored volunteers, ACORD facilitates the development and maintenance of the ACORD Standards for Reinsurance.

 

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General Information
Websitehttp://www.acord.org
TypeTrade Association
Founded1970
OwnershipPublic
CountryUSA
Contact Information
AddressTwo Blue Hill Plaza 3rd Floor PO Box 1529
Pearl River, NY 10965-8529
Phone845-620-1700
Fax845-620-3600

Information & Articles about ACORD

Adam J. Bryan is Managing Director and General Manager of the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation’s (DTCC) Insurance &Retirement Services.

DTCC’s Insurance and Retirement business unit is the central messaging hub for annuity transactions and a partner and leader with the insurance industry in the effort to automate, standardize and centralize the processing, monitoring and reporting for insurance products.

As a utility owned by industry participants, DTCC has an exceptional position from which to affect change in the financial services industry.  Similarly, Adam Bryan is informed by a wealth of industry experience and is able to offer a unique perspective on insurance industry.

 

 

Annuity Digest:  Can you describe the DTCC’s mission? 

Adam Bryan:  Yes, our mission is to provide connectivity between insurance carriers and distributors of insurance products with the goal of completely eliminating paper and providing messaging and support services for the industry.

Annuity Digest:  What is the ownership structure of DTCC—is it an industry consortium?

Adam Bryan:  DTCC is a utility owned by industry participants.  As a user-owned and user-governed organization, DTCC operates on an “at-cost” basis, so any revenue surplus is returned to its members.

Annuity Digest:  Who, primarily, are DTCC’s clients?

Adam Bryan:  Our primary clients are product manufacturers and distributors, and our services are intended to tie them together.

Annuity Digest:  In terms of distributors, are the primary customers larger broker-dealers or would DTCC deal directly with a smaller shop? 

Adam Bryan:  Our initial services came about as a result of demand from wire-house distributors.  Currently the clearing firms and larger independents are on board.  We are currently targeting some of the smaller independents and our product development initiatives reflect this effort.

Annuity Digest:  For the purpose of analogy, are there entities comparable to DTCC in other industries?

Adam Bryan:  There really isn’t a valid analogy—our situation is quite a unique in the U.S. market.  The benefit of the DTCC structure or situation is that the cost of doing business in the U.S. is substantially lower than other world markets.

Annuity Digest:  DTCC seems to have a unique perspective on other financial services verticals.  How does the adoption and effective use of technology in other financial services sectors compare to the retirement income industry? 

Adam Bryan:  At the highest level, you can see that equity and fixed income markets are ahead of the insurance industry.  That said, the insurance industry has made significant strides over the past ten years. 

The lag between markets could be about 5-8 years.  The wire-houses came to us in 1997. In contrast, DTCC had been supporting the equity and fixed income markets since the 1970s.

The key question for the insurance industry is whether its paper-based processes can be eliminated. 

Annuity Digest:  What are some of the primary constraints or bottlenecks and related opportunities in the industry at the moment? 

Adam Bryan:  One of the hurdles involves education and ensuring that people understand the benefits of changing and why they should do something different. 

Paper is the primary hurdle.  Industry participants need to understand their exposure at any point in time to have a handle on their risks.  Paper does not allow this.  We need to help people understand the benefits of change and technology.

Annuity Digest:  What is your view on the level of consumer awareness and engagement in retirement income industry? 

Adam Bryan:  When it comes to annuities and guarantees in the retirement income space, the level of consumer awareness and understanding is not thorough enough.

Many consumers learn about retirement income products and solutions through financial advisors.  The level of consumer awareness and understanding will have to increase in light of recent events and policy priorities of current administration. 

I expect that people will be asking how do I protect my nest egg and how do I ensure adequate retirement income.  Overall, I anticipate that consumers will look for a broader level of understanding at the retail level.

Annuity Digest:  Does DTCC have any consumer-focused solutions or initiatives, or is application development left to product manufacturers and distributors? 

Adam Bryan:  We are purely business-to-business (“B2B”) and do not get involved at all at the consumer level.

Annuity Digest:  Consumer application development and publishing is common in many other financial services sectors such as real estate and personal finance, and standardized data sources play a critical role.  I am sure you saw much of this development during your time at Thomson Financial.  What role, if any, do you envision for financial services publishers in the retirement income space, and how can DTCC help enable this? 

Adam Bryan:  My opinion is that as awareness of retirement income increases you will find that the consumer publishers and application providers will develop.  There is no doubt about it as the advertising dollars are clearly there.

That said, it is still unknown how DTCC will play in this space since our current focus purely B2B.  It’s tough to say at this point how our role will evolve.

Annuity Digest:  Could a distributor or product manufacturer take your technology or data and leverage it as a platform for third-party application development to create something analogous to what is offered in Yahoo or Google Finance? 

Adam Bryan:  We are exploring a business called “data analytics.”  One potential outcome of this effort is the licensing of data to third party providers. 

The data would be higher level demographic and completely anonymous transactional data.  It could be used for benchmarking, determining what is selling and where and many other types of analytics.

A prototype has been developed and there is a client working group.  We are in the beginning stages of application development and hope to be finished by the fourth quarter of 2010.

Annuity Digest:  Does DTCC advocate open standards for data exchange?

Adam Bryan:   Yes.  The insurance standards are ACORD and DTCC technology is developed for ACORD standards. 

We are big supporters of standards for message flow.  There are other places for value add and creation on top of the core standards.

Annuity Digest:  Where is DTCC headed and what is in the 2010 pipeline?  Where do you see the most potential for application of technology in the retirement income industry?

Adam Bryan:  There are several areas of focus for DTCC in 2010.

First, we need to ensure that we can effectively go after the independent broker dealer channel.

Second, we are focused on enabling Web accessibility (what we refer to as Access Services) for certain product lines.

Further, we have provided the first carrier-to-carrier messaging capability that provides the status of a Section 1035 exchange and allows folks to electronically manage a 1035 exchange.

Last, as discussed earlier, we are working on the data analytics product initiative.

Ultimately, our objectives are always driven by client budgets and client business priorities.  Our efforts increasingly the next paper-related pain-point and how electronic processing can be brought to bear.

Our efforts add enormous value for industry participants.  As an example, a current client who uses our licensing and appointment technology saw their manual cost for these processes decrease from $20 to 75 cents.

Annuity Digest:  How would industry participants who are interested in your services get in touch with the company?  Does DTCC have a direct sales-force?

Adam Bryan:  Yes, we have our own sales and relationship management functions and we are very active in industry forums.  We also encourage carriers to let folks know about us.

Annuity Digest:  Thank you Adam.

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