At the recent ACORD LOMA meeting, a slew of life-oriented products was introduced

By Ara C. Trembly

Las Vegas

New initiatives aimed at streamlining workflow and improving agent access to ACORDs products and services were announced at the first ever ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum held here last month.

Combining the life insurance industrys LOMA Systems Forum and ACORDs Annual Conference, the new trade show drew between 2,400 and 2,500 total participants, according to Rick Gilman, vice president of Pearl River, N.Y.-based ACORD.

At the conference, ACORD announced its new Advantage Web site (www.acordadvantage.org), which it said will improve ACORD Advantage agent and broker access to the organizations products and services. The ACORD Advantage Program gives agents and brokers information and services that help with operations, compliance and communications, in addition to unlimited access to ACORD Forms, the Web site notes. ACORD Advantage membership entitles agents and all employees at a location to 12 months of access to the ACORD Advantage services and products at a flat $129 fee.

Members previously had accessed services via the ACORD Web site, but ACORD said separating the program from the main site will vastly improve access. Users will find that they can navigate more quickly through a simplified menu of options, ACORD noted. The primary reason for visits to the site is to access and download ACORD Standard Forms for Property and Casualty and Life, Annuity and Health Insurance, the association added.

ACORD also demonstrated its newly released ACORD Fillable Forms, which it said would streamline the agent information workflow.

We began more than 30 years ago with paper forms and then added downloadable static forms for members on our Web site, said Denise Garth, vice president, membership and development, for ACORD. This is yet another improvement, providing our members with increased options and capabilities, making their workflow even more efficient, and expanding their market opportunities.

Once members download and install the required ACORD Reader, they can view and enter forms data directly on their screens, ACORD explained. The completed form can then be e-mailed, faxed and printed. Additional features include on-screen pop-up instructions for all form fields, based on the ACORD Forms Instruction Guide. Users also can provide feedback on the forms directly to ACORD from within the forms.

The forms, instructions and additional information are available on the ACORD Advantage Web site.

Also at the conference, London, U.K.-based ri3k Limited announced the launch of LifeRIC, which the company said is “the world’s first electronic data hub for the North American life reinsurance industry.”

According to ri3k, “LifeRIC automates the transformation of in-force data between direct writers, reinsurers and retrocessionaires, enabling data interchange on the hundreds of millions of lives insured in this market.” It provides a single integration point for the industry, allowing back-office systems to communicate in a common format.

“The hub transforms the life data into a single ACORD format and then passes it on automatically in the required format of the receiving system,” the company explained. “This eradicates the need for individual data sorting or reformatting, reducing processing costs and providing much more accessible information.”

“LifeRIC delivers automated feeds of correctly mapped data,” said Alex Letts, chief executive of ri3k. He added that the company’s Media Conversion Center also accepts files in paper, fax, cartridge or CD format, then transforms them into usable data. “We will digitize any media for those who want it.”

LifeRIC is completely owned by ri3k, which intends to offer the hub free to the industry with an eye toward later taking on systems integration business associated with the hub, a company spokesman said. Growth of the technology will depend on cooperation within the industry, however. “It needs for the big players to put aside their competitive instincts and to collaborate with each other,” said Letts.

Further details are available at www.ri3k.com.

Chester, Pa.-based AdminServer, Inc. announced availability of the new J2EE and .NET versions of its life and annuity policy administration system.

According to AdminServer, existing clients using the company’s original .NET framework can easily upgrade to either of the new systems. “With the rules-engine design of the system, an insurer can start implementation in any of the 3 available technology environments and easily migrate to a new platform as their business and technology needs evolve,” the company noted.

“Carriers no longer have to bet their future by being forced into a single technology decision,” said Christopher Doggett, chief executive of AdminServer. “They now have the option to choose what will work best today and easily switch technology platforms should their future needs change.”

Pricing for the first line of business utilizing the system is $1.5 million for the software, with a 50% discount for each subsequent line added, said an AdminServer spokesman.

Accenture and FileNet Corporation announced a new pen-based technology that enables field agents and other mobile workers to electronically perform tasks that once required mounds of paperwork.

The technology, which uses commercially available digital pens in conjunction with FileNet Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software, lets mobile workers capture and transmit information to a central repository. At that point, it can be used in electronic business processes, circumventing traditional paper-based systems that are time-consuming and error-prone, said Cost Mesa, Calif.-based FileNet.

The Digital Pen Connector softwarewritten by Accenture Technology Labs, the research and development arm of New York-based Accenturecaptures the pen strokes, translates them into usable data and delivers the data to the FileNet ECM software. The FileNet ECM system then integrates the data in a central content repository for sharing and launches business processes as required, the company said.

This technology allows a document to be converted to digital form at the point of origin, said Glover Ferguson, Accentures chief scientist. Once digitized, the content takes on new versatility, benefiting from a computers ability to store, share and act upon content.

An Accenture spokesperson estimated the cost of the pen at $150. Costs for the FileNet software were not provided.

Duck Creek Technologies, Inc. announced immediate availability of the 1.7 version of its Example Platform, which provides carriers with quick product development, Web deployment and a strategic platform for growth.

According to Bolivar, Mo.-based Duck Creek, new features in version 1.7 include Example Forms, which supports forms management. Example Forms, said Doug Roller, CEO of Duck Creek, supports the creation and generation of policy-related documents such as ACORD forms, proposals, worksheets and policy forms. Example Forms also simplifies integration with existing form systems and print servers, providing them with formatted XML data that can be easily consumed.

According to a Duck Creek spokesperson, pricing on the platform can range from $150,000 to $1 million, depending on what components are selected and what the buyer’s volume is.

Professional Data Management Again, Inc. announced version 12 of its LifePRO life, health and annuity administration system.

According to Indianapolis-based PDMA, the new version offers “a substantial technological upgrade to LifePRO. New features include: a Microsoft SQL Server database for increased ease of data access; active warehousing for more flexibility in database administration and maintenance; an XML and browser-based interface, and .NET application programming interfaces, providing the ability to access LifePRO processing logic and data in real time, externally.

Pricing information was not available.

InSystems announced InSystems Calligo Enterprise 5.1, a suite of integrated document management capabilities designed to create, manage and distribute documents while streamlining document workflow and collaboration.

According to Markham, Ontario, Canada-based InSystems, organizations using the product “can control complex and distributed business processes using an integrated workflow subsystem, promoting business agility by enabling organizations to respond quickly to changing business conditions and customer expectations.”

Enhancements and upgrades in version 5.1 include: hyperlinks and bookmarks offering easier navigation for users; propagation of categories and attributes into non-Calligo documents for enhanced search capability; enhanced document management, and support for creation of graphs and charts, the company said.

InSystems declined to provide pricing information.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, June 11, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.