ACORD Standards: Connecting the Dots Between Systems to Drive Innovation

ACORD Standards-Connecting the dots between systems to drive innovationThis is my third ACORD LOMA. As usual, Gregory Maciag kicked it off in the Monday keynote by talking about the value of ACORD standards. But this year, instead of focusing solely on the structure that standards can provide to insurance companies, Mr. Maciag took a different approach – innovation to drive improvement.

It was clear that the presentation wasn’t just about education – it was persuasion. From the video clips of insurance technology leaders that were shown, it seemed like ACORD was trying to combat the image that standards are restrictive. So instead, Mr. Maciag spoke to the message of “these aren’t standards for the sake of standards.” Rather, it’s the “fragmentation between systems that allows for innovation. ACORD standards connect those dots, magnifying the innovation.”

While it may seem unlikely, the main event for the keynote, Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, had a similar message. When asked about the 140 character limit, he responded in so many words:

The 140 character limit isn’t a limit at all – it actually fosters creativity. It puts forth an environment where, to be effective on Twitter, the user has to get across a message in a small amount of space. It makes people think differently about what they communicate.

Both of these examples – ACORD standards and Twitter – are very much aligned with how insurance technology is perceived: it is ingrained in insurance, but what exists is often looked at as being restrictive. One can easily point to persistant legacy systems as an indicator of this.

Luckily, as I mentioned in my last post about old and new insurance systems coming together, ACORD is trying to change this, as indicated by the Plug’N’Play interoperability demonstration on Sunday. It’s the principal that you bought these systems for a reason, so you need to figure out how to leverage the information among them all to the fullest capacity.

But, still, a bigger purpose or driver for success seems to be missing.

Biz Stone really got me thinking about that “something” when he said: “At Twitter, new developments are driven by watching patterns of what our users are trying to accomplish by using the technology.” Stay tuned for more on this in my next post.

Kaitlin McCready

Her title may say "Public Relations Specialist," but Kaitlin McCready's got her hand in the corporate Web site, social media, marketing writing and media relations, too. From Baldwin-Wallace College, she came to Hyland in March '08 with big ideas for PR and marketing, including this very blog. In her spare time, she enjoys being disappointed by Cleveland sports, spending time with family and friends, and being involved with the PRSA Cleveland chapter, especially the Young PRos committee. Check her out on Twitter (@kaitmccready) and LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/kaitlinmccready).

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