Pearl River, N.Y.-based ACORD has enhanced the role of its Industry and Government Affairs unit by adding a legal capacity with the addition of Gary Bel, vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, and Kate Ciravolo, vice president and counsel, government affairs. Their addition strengthens the Industry and Government Affairs operation and widens the scope of ACORD's involvement in the development of standards. It also expands the representation of ACORD's membership throughout the industry and regulatory agencies. Bel and Ciravolo will also be handling the general legal activities of the corporation within the in newly combined Legal, Industry and Government Affairs Department."As new regulations and data requirements are implemented across the nation, their impact on the insurance industry continues to grow. The need for data standardization to assist organizations in efficiently and economically complying with these changes is becoming ever more essential," said Gregory Maciag, president and CEO of ACORD. "We've expanded the Industry and Government Affairs group to meet these new demands."

This expansion is, in part, a response to the desire expressed by the ACORD membership to have greater representation and leadership in relation to these changes and in standards development. The information was contained in a recent Gartner study of ACORD.

ACORD is building upon its recent successes in working with other organizations and new regulations. ACORD Form 28, Evidence of Commercial Property Insurance, combined the capabilities of ACORD and the Mortgage Bankers Association to solve a significant standards problem within the mortgage banking industry.

"By adding a formal legal function to ACORD's Industry and Government Affairs unit, we are broadening our touch points across trade associations, regulatory bodies and industries as well as expanding our relationships with member companies," said Beth Grossman, assistant vice president, Industry Affairs, who spearheaded the adoption of the Form 28 project for ACORD. "With the addition of Gary and Kate, we can now work with even more representatives in more areas of our member organizations and further increase the value of their membership and involvement in ACORD."

Some of the main objectives of the new department will be the development and implementation of standards to improve data quality and data transparency. In response to changes prompted by new laws that contain reporting requirements, there is a pressing need for standards that facilitate the reporting requirements in a timely way.

ACORD will be taking a more proactive role in the process of developing standards that comply with new laws. "By working with regulators and the trade associations that our members support, ACORD's new department will be better positioned to more quickly identify the need for new or revised standards, factoring in any legal impact on those standards," said Ciravolo. "The department will also more closely track emerging issues and trends that could lead to the need for new or modified standards."

"We are not just reacting to needs and changes," said Bel. "We are being proactive as we increase ACORD's leadership role in identifying the legal issues surrounding standards development and implementation and in providing technical support in the public policy-making process. In addition, the new department will have the resources to more effectively educate regulators, trade associations, and company staff on ACORD's portfolio of existing and proposed standards and search for implementation opportunities that can utilize those standards."

Source: ACORD

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