July 21, 2015
Part 1: 10 Questions with ACORD's Director of Life & Annuity Implementations, Sandy Hampel
By: Sandy Hampel
Not only is it important for Vertafore to participate in ACORD to bring the value and benefits to our customer base, but it's equally important for you, the customer, to be engaged and involved with ACORD so your feedback and needs can be met by Vertafore. It takes collaboration between ACORD, Vertafore, and Vertafore customers to offer solutions that meet your most important needs! Read below for exclusive information from ACORD's Sandy Hampel to learn how getting involved can transform not only your business processes, but the entire insurance industry.
Can you describe ACORD and its important role in the industry?
ACORD stands for the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development and was founded in 1970. ACORD is a global NON PROFIT membership standards development organization (SDO) which develops and maintains forms and data standards to provide professional and technical support to the global insurance industry.
Access to data is the most important asset to a company. The importance of standards provides a means to share a uniform structure of data. Standards are guidelines that ensure consistency that result in a higher quality. ACORD is the way to better and faster connections.
Sandy, could you give us some background on yourself and your role with ACORD?
As Director of Life & Annuity Implementations, I'm responsible for managing the development of the standards and promoting the awareness and implementation of the ACORD standards for the Life, Annuity, and Health domain.
How does ACORD engage with the industry to drive efficiency through standards?
ACORD's mission includes aid and support of implementers. This is accomplished through "communities." These communities may be created as standards (SDO) efforts or they may be created independently by members and/or non-members, together seeking to solve one or more business problems. The activities of these groups may result in traditional Life & Annuity Program working group effort, or may be educational or advocacy communities. ACORD staff and resources are a vital component of these communities.
ACORD Communities focus on specific issues and opportunities. They set goals to support standards usage, initiatives and promote consistency of implementation.
Industry Associations may also host communities that ACORD participates in to assist with implementation and development of ACORD Forms, Data Standards, and the ACORD Reference Architecture (Framework).
Key to the relationship between ACORD Communities and Associations is advocacy and promotion of consistent and successful use of ACORD forms, standards, and reference architecture.
In addition to partnering with SILA to produce the uniform, multi-purpose Producer Information Form (ACORD 821), ACORD is also actively involved in the IRI (Insured Retirement Institute) and DTCC (Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation) Licensing Appointment automation working group that is focusing on standardizing how the DTCC LNA service can be expanded and adopted.
Vertafore participated in a webinar that ACORD and SILA produced to promote the Producer Information Form. Vertafore represented the streamlined appointment process automation brings to the industry. Click here to view a recording of the 821 webinar.
ACORD also has the Producer Licensing and Appointment Working Group, and the group is currently working on a message to support the NIPR Licensing Reports. The group also stays involved in industry topics of the day, such as NARAB II.
ACORD members can join this WG by visiting the ACORD Cross Program Reporting Community page.
How do organizations become members and get involved with ACORD working groups?
To become a member, they can visit acord.org – Membership Page. Or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Once a member,the first thing you need to do is register on the ACORD website and click on the "Register" link in the upper right hand corner and follow the instructions. Once your have your credentials, there are a couple of working groups I would recommend joining:
Life & Annuity - Program Working Group which oversees the activity for the overall program. Additional WG that may be of interest are Claims, Employee Benefits, and Forms.
P&C members- The Property & Casualty Program Working Group is also the main group that guides the issues that end up on the ballot. In addition, because there are three standards in P&C – there are three "primary" working groups in addition to the P&C PWG:
They are the P&C AL3 Transaction Specification, XML Transaction Specification and P&C Forms. The AL3 and XML Transaction Specification WG's are responsible for performing all the issue review for their respective standard prior to promoting accepted issues to the main PWG; same with Forms.
To monitor all WG activity, each domain including Life & Annuity, P&C, as well as our global implementations publish a quarterly Program Activity and Implementation Report that highlights the activities of all WG and Industry Associations. This is an excellent means of educating your customers on ACORD and the services they provide to the industry. Access to these reports is under the Community tab of ACORD.orgunder the "Learn More" heading.
Stay tuned next week for the second half of the interview where Sandy reveals some of ACORD's new initiatives, advice for those looking to improve business best practices, and explains how you can get involved to help shape the future of the insurance industry.
Sandy brings over 25 years of leadership and experience in the insurance and financial services marketplace. Prior to joining ACORD, Sandy was Director of Carrier Product Development for Ebix, where she was responsible for enhancements to AnnuityNet and driving strategic direction to support the advancement of Straight Through Processing. Throughout her career, Sandy also served on industry committees that advanced standards including ACORD, IRI, and DTCC committees and groups.