been agent-priority-driven. Life insurance has always
been driven from the side of back-office automation
and making sure that the interactions between like
medical requirements or underwriting requirements
are gathered. And in the reinsurance community, it’s
always been about efficient movement of money.
But now we’re seeing a drive toward having all of
those across all lines: more focus on the front end, the
agent in the life and community, more interest around
accounting and settlement in the P&C community. We
were able to leverage that, but do it in a way that creates the environment of plug and play.
INN: As these priorities change quickly,
ACORD has to respond even more quickly.
Is this where ACORD’s Agile Standards
Development Organization (SDO) initiative comes into play?
McCullough: The whole goal of Agile is to provide an asset to test standards when it’s needed, not six
months later, not six months ago. And Agile demands
almost on the fly development. It really breaks down
into re-establishing the way we produce and develop
standards, how we interact with our working groups,
how we interact with those communities.
So first, we re-identify the roles and responsibilities
of our volunteers. We focus on the people and what lev-
els of expertise they can bring to the table. Once those
roles and responsibilities are nailed down, we’re chang-
ing the entire way in which we actually gather business
requirements. It was to facilitate quicker turnaround for
how new standards and how change requests come in
and get modified and then that gets back into the mem-
bership’s hands. From that, you start to produce better,
richer and more detailed deliverables.
INN: It sounds like this fits into the ACORD
Chumbley: Two ways of doing things in standards
is bad. It always has been. You want one way of doing
things. And in the past, because of the way that the SDO
is run, everybody thought their way was unique. The
business architecture team now owns that definition
and is becoming much more aggressive in harmonizing
ACORD has been doing implementations for years,
but this concept of changing the way in which we act began several years ago with the Framework. At the beginning of 2011, the Board of Directors created ACORD 2020.
Its primary focus is based on what we can do to further
implementations in the industry. We spent quite a bit of
time last year talking through that. And at the beginning
of this year we actually segmented the departments.
We created a new department at ACORD called Relationship & Implementation Services. And Relationship
& Implementation Services is a direct result of the feedback from ACORD 2020 and the things that they discovered and it’s about us acting differently in the way that
we help with those implementations. It’s about us identifying barriers of implementation and then addressing
them not just for one line of business, but across all lines
of business. Things like e-signatures and non-repudia-tion. It’s a global problem. Now it may be implemented
very differently in one locale or another, but the reality
is we need to solve that problem globally and so, that’s
what ACORD is doing.
Greg [Maciag, ACORD president and CEO] believes
that in the next five years, ACORD will change its services to the industry. And, I think it’s a credit to him to
put together the team that we have.
Mc Cullough: A lot of our focus internally is on ar-
chitecture but we’ve established an entirely new part
of our organization that focuses on the business archi-
tecture aspect of how we develop standards. And that
gives us that continuity and consistency that we had
lacked—that notion of “well what are the lines of busi-
ness that you’re focused on and let’s not really worry
about what’s happening in another area.”
We now have an entire competency that’s built
within the organization around that notion of busi-
ness architecture. They’re the ones who actually take
in what is now the requirements from our industry
on things that need to be identified. Now that can be
socialized with our entire membership globally. As a
result, you won’t see a lot of one-offs on how some
of these changes get into our standards. We have an
entirely new way in which we’re processing the busi-
ness. It’s just another way in which I believe ACORD
is really taking a positive step in how we organize our
business. And it ties directly into not only what I’m
involved with in regards to tooling and Framework,
but also about the change to the SDO process, and
then that funnels right into the implementation. It’s
just a very exciting time because we’re changing what
The industry is changing. We can’t be reactionary;
we have to be proactive. And the team that we put together is made up of forward thinkers who are willing
and able to do that very thing.
Photography By Alanfil
INN’s Carrie Burns (left), ACORD’s Lloyd Chumbley (center) and Shane McCullough
(right) discuss how ACORD is responding to the big push from the international market
for a standardized set of foundational reference models.
Chumbley credits the ACORD communities
for its shifting focus on technology
McCullough explains the Component Model,
the soon-to-be-released final
may 2012 insurance networking news 19