If the theme of last years ACORD Property and Casualty program was “the year when the rubber met the road,” then this year it should be “and now were putting the pedal to the metal.” It is one thing to define a standard, but it is much harder to implement that standard.
Implementation of standards-based systems has risen dramatically in the last 12 months, and the industry at large is now linking its standards implementation to key focus points as it responds to business drivers, market forces and capital restrictions.
For 2003, ACORD member companies (both insurers and vendors) reported 170 P&C/Surety implementations using XML standards. This figure compares to 42 implementations in 2002, an increase of 305 percent in overall implementations. And for agents, 2003 was a start to fulfilling promisespromises that the Web would make real-time communication between agencies and their various business partners a reality.
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The term “real-time” is used in many different ways. Increasingly, it is being used within our industry to refer to the emerging interfaces that enable independent agents and brokers to receive an immediate electronic response when they request information, such as policy, billing or claims information.
Major progress was made last year in the area of agents communicating in real-time with their insurer partners, and much of this was enabled by the implementation of ACORD XML transaction standards for real-time claims, policy and billing inquiries. These standards were prioritized and developed in 2002 with the assistance of AUGIE (ACORD-User Groups Information Exchange). After a slow startat the beginning of 2003, implementing insurers were expressing frustration at the failure of most agents to take advantage of the real-time opportunities presentedthe uptake grew exponentially. Currently, the number of real-time inquiries and transactions is increasing by as much as 30 percent per month.
ACORD standards working groups have been quite active. In the last year, P&C/Surety working groups were formed to develop needed business message standards for commercial lines, including crime, boiler and machinery, electronic data processing system (EDP), and workers’ compensation. ACORD has been working closely with the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) and the Workers Compensation Insurance Organizations (WCIO). Both organizations are helping to build business messages for statistical reporting. WCIO is also collaborating with ACORD in the development and migration of their state reporting transactions from flat files into ACORD XML-formatted messages.