Ecosystem Q&A with ACORD’s Chris Newman
As part of a new series of interviews with AdvantageGo’s Ecosystem partners, David Benyon spoke with Chris Newman, Executive Vice President and global managing director of ACORD, the global standards-setting body for the insurance industry.
Chris, thank you for sharing your time and insights. Please can you give some background on ACORD?
“As you may be aware, ACORD is an industry-owned global data standards-setting body, and we have a member ecosystem of 36,000 global stakeholders consisting of the world’s largest brokers, insurers and reinsurance companies, not to mention the ever important service providers who glue everything together.”
Which parts of the market have led in adopting ACORD standards, and which have lagged behind?
“We provide data standards in three core domains: Property & Casualty (P&C), Global Reinsurance & Large Commercial (GRLC), and Life and Annuity (L&A).”
“With regards to GRLC, which is extensively used in commercial insurance globally, the Technical Accounting and Credit Control functions have led the way with over a decade of maturity. Claims is not too far behind, but Placing is early in the journey.”
“Globally, Technical Accounting is in a very good place and with the imminent changes in the London Market we are looking at a very strong standard. We recognise that Claims needs some work to move ECOT from more of a reporting function to a more effective agreement and triage process, but again Blueprint Two will assist that phase of development.”
“The market realises that it has some work to do in terms of placing, but the combination of Blueprint Two, the Joint Venture, the Placing Platforms and ACORD will help to guide the market through this journey.”
How does the AdvantageGo Ecosystem contribute to ACORD’s goals?
“Now we are talking about one of the most important factors. Standards are key, but so is co-operation. We all understand that nothing changes without the support of the solution providers, so the AdGo Partner Ecosystem is critical to the success of these initiatives. ACORD and the ACORD Solutions Group provide the enabling tools, but it is the solution providers and their networks of customers and partners that provide the integration.”
“The partnership between ACORD and AdGo is a massive positive for the market. ACORD and the ACORD Solutions Group have industry-owned digital accelerators, but the cooperation between ACORD and AdGo is the key to success.”
“AdGo are part of the ACORD Solutions Group Licensed Integrator Partner programme and this keeps them informed of available tools, trends and progress on market initiatives, along with the other leading vendors in the industry.”
“At the end of the day, it is the hands-on involvement of partners like AdGo that makes the difference.. They have invested the time to understand the available assets and to continuously integrate them for the wider use of the market, including using powerful intelligent document extraction tools leveraging ACORD Transcriber, and API-driven ACORD messaging data exchange with ADEPT.”
“What’s been most impressive is how AdGo have embedded these industry-owned digital assets into their market-leading offerings to provide compelling solutions for the industry.”
What is it about the market’s current progress towards digitisation progress that makes ACORD standards particularly beneficial at this point?
“The ACORD Data Standards have always been relevant. The market drive towards digitisation has just served to focus attention on the fact. Digitisation and ultimately greater automation is only possible with firm foundations.”
“At the core, you need the confidence that the data being transacted is consistent and reliable. A common language. The ACORD Data Standards and related process guidance provide that confidence.”
“ACORD also conducts research on behalf of the industry, and many of our studies are around capabilities, strategies, and performance. Although ACORD Standards are not the focus of the studies, we found that high-performing organizations in almost every arena were more likely to be heavy users of the Standards.”
“But even more impressive are the ACORD GRLC case studies completed within the Ruschlikon community. The performance improvements within broker and carrier operations are staggering and have been proven over a 15-year period using the Standards.”
Sometimes the core message of the business case can be lost in tech jargon. From an underwriter or broker’s perspective, what is the market working towards?
“This is a good question. It is often very easy to get lost in the technology and to actually forget the business objective. It isn’t good when companies develop solutions looking for a business requirement.”
“I think at a base level the market wants optimum efficiency. Brokers want a single consistent and cost-effective way of working globally with their underwriters, to the optimum benefit of their clients. Underwriters want sufficient, reliable data at the right time in the business process in order to price, assess and ultimately manage risk.”
“At the end of the day, the best technical solutions are run quietly and reliably in the background, invisible to the client.”