Fort Lauderdale, FL – ACORD Standards Forum – November 14, 2006 – ACORD Standards Forum – ACORD (www.acord.org), the insurance industry’s standards organization, announces the latest enhancements of ACORD Forms, built on top of IBM’s open standards-based technology. The new ACORD eForms+ will help drive greater efficiency and productivity for members including carriers, solution providers, brokers and agents — members who utilize electronic forms daily.
Under a new agreement, IBM (www.ibm.com) and ACORD are enhancing the library of ACORD forms to generate Extensible Markup Language (XML) data, which will be based on IBM® WorkplaceTM FormsTM. In addition, the forms themselves will have new capabilities that will improve efficiency across the value chain from agents and brokers to insurers and reinsurers.
Agents who are part of the ACORD Advantage program will receive the new eForms+ as part of their annual membership and see new functionality including:
Split Fields, parsing fields such as address into their constituent parts to include: street address, city, state and zip code.
Related Forms listings giving that provide immediate access to any forms related to the original.
Overflow capabilities that removinge box space restrictions; so that if a the user goes over the visible space, the form expands to accommodate their needs.
Like their predecessors, the new forms can be filled out online, as well as faxed, emailed, and printed; they will contain embedded Forms Instructions Guides. Existing static and fillable forms will remain available as well. The existing ACORD Forms Viewer that participants are familiar with will work with these newly-enhanced eForms+.
“This next generation of ACORD forms is a great step forward. We’ve witnessed the evolution of standardized forms from paper to electronic to fillable, and now to these new, technically-advanced IBM versions that utilize XML standards to help insurers and their agents process business transactions faster, more efficiently and at lower cost,” said Ron Dudley, vice president, Forms, ACORD. “IBM has raised the bar and taken the lead on ACORD forms technology. We look forward to other solution provider members making available their work that’s already underway and implementing similarly advanced technologies.”
For carriers that implement the IBM software, the new ACORD eForms+ enables agents to submit forms electronically. After receiving the forms, the XML-data can be extracted and leveraged across back-end systems. The new electronic access and submission capabilities of ACORD eForms+ enables straight-through processing of key insurance transactions, reducing the lag time associated with paper exchange and expediting core insurance processes such as policy applications and claims management.
In addition, those utilizing the ACORD eForms+ and the IBM software will see the following benefits:
Streamlining and automating the collection of forms data by transforming fields into structured XML to represent forms data necessary for processing a transaction. With structured XML data, insurers will be able to more easily parse information for processing by core insurance systems for policy administration, underwriting and claims management.
The ability to “lock down” a form once it is completed for integration into the back-end system.
“Processing and printing paperwork creates a significant cost to the insurance industry. ACORD and IBM are delivering an affordable solution to help insurance companies take advantage of standardized, XML-based electronic forms to gain greater efficiency and productivity,” said Rob White, director, IBM Workplace Forms. “IBM and ACORD are collaborating to enable true automation of key insurance processes. ACORD eForms+, powered by IBM Workplace Forms software, is evidence of our commitment to this goal.”
Those wishing to take advantage of the full functionality of these enhancements, including XML extraction, need to utilize ACORD’s eForms+ and IBM Workplace Forms Designer, IBM Workplace Forms Viewer and IBM Workplace Forms Server software. These solutions work together and represent the front end of straight-through processing automation for the insurance industry. More information can be found at: http://www.ibm.com/software/workplace/forms.
Individual agents using the existing ACORD Forms Viewer will be able to leverage the forms enhancements but not the XML and data extraction capabilities.
Due for release in the first quarter of 2007, the new ACORD eForms+ library will include Property & Casualty, Surety, Life, and Annuity forms with these enhancements. To further describe the new forms and capabilities, ACORD and IBM will be releasing a video in the upcoming days on ACORD Video on Demand at www.acordtv.org.
Based in New York, ACORD (Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development) is a global, nonprofit insurance association whose mission is to facilitate the development and use of standards for the insurance, reinsurance and related financial services industries. With offices in London as well, ACORD accomplishes its mission by remaining an objective, independent advocate for sharing information among diverse platforms. ACORD Standards and services improve efficiency and expand market reach. Affiliated with ACORD are hundreds of insurance and reinsurance companies, and thousands of agents and brokers, related financial services organizations, solution providers, and industry organizations worldwide.
*IBM and Workplace Forms are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. Other company, products or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.