The relationship between regulatory requirements and data standards is the subject of a new report from ACORD, N.Y.-based insurance industry data standards association. "ACORD Strategic Analysis: The Impact of Standards on the U.S. Regulatory Landscape," available through ACORD's Web site, www.acord.org

"Data requirements will continue to escalate and how we meet these demands is critical for corporate survival," said Gregory A. Maciag, president and CEO, ACORD. "As we continue to face issues ranging from corporate responsibility to terrorism, we need to make regulatory compliance more efficient and cost effective. Data standards can make that happen."

To meet these increasing needs, ACORD is working with its membership, other standards bodies, and trade associations from the insurance and adjacent industries to find ways to facilitate communication and compliance. One of the first tasks ACORD took on was to create a prioritized list of current regulatory measures and initiatives. ACORD then analyzed how standards could help members meet their data requirements.

One focus of the ACORD study is the release of Office of Management and Budget Circular A-119 (OMB A-119), which promotes the federal government's use of voluntary consensus standards rather than government developed standards. The circular states that agencies should recognize the positive contribution of standards development and related activities. "When properly conducted, standards development can increase productivity and efficiency in government and industry."

The OMB A-119 Circular states that there are five primary characteristics of voluntary consensus standards bodies: openness, balance of interest, due process, an appeals process, and consensus.

"A major rationale for this Analysis was to show how data standards, ACORD standards as well as those from any number of standards development organizations, play a crucial role in complying with these demands," said Beth Grossman, ACORD's assistant vice president of industry and government affairs. "The need for cooperation among data standards developers is critical at this time and we are proud to have had input from a number of these organizations on this effort."

Source: ACORD

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