NU Online News Service, May 20, 5:55 p.m. – The National Association for Variable Annuities and the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development are praising a recent move by AnnuityNet Inc. to donate its proprietary XML data standard to the annuity industry.
“This is a tremendous contribution to the standardization effort [that will allow] straight-through processing of annuities electronically,” states Deborah Tucker, a spokeswoman for the Reston, Va.-based NAVA.
“It’s a good starting point?towards creating better service and faster service for customers and reducing costs by adopting standards,” says Rick Heil, program manager, life standards, for the Pearl River, N.Y.-based ACORD. “It’s good news for everyone.”
The NAVA technology committee has been working with ACORD, a key insurance technology standards group, to come up with a new, industrywide XML standard for annuities.
XML, or extensible markup language, is a set of rules for developing standard codes that computers can use to read and combine information stored in different database formats. Advocates say a successful XML standard could increase annuity sales by making it easier to sell annuities through the Web.
Earlier this month, AnnuityNet announced it would be giving the annuity industry what used to be its own proprietary XML standard for transmitting and exchanging annuity account and transaction information through the Internet.
AnnuityNet has been using its XML standard in a system that can take annuity application information, check the information as it is being entered, and help companies service existing annuity accounts.
“We developed an XML standard that describes all the data required to package up an annuity electronically, including all the required forms,” explains Steve Dunlap, senior vice president, sales and marketing, for AnnuityNet. “All the data is included in this standard. It’s complete, so it could be used as a foundation for NAVA and ACORD’s efforts.”
At NAVA, Tucker says the value of AnnuityNet’s contribution is that “AnnuityNet has already designed something?an order entry system?that already takes into account a number of actions and requirements” related to annuities.