The Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD) is a global, nonprofit organization that functions as a standards-setting body for the insurance, reinsurance and related financial-services industries.Based in Pearl River, N.Y., ACORD's goal is to provide agents and carriers with an easier and more uniform way of doing business with standardized forms. This mission later evolved to include the data storage and transmission process.

ACORD was formed in 1970 to help address the need for independent insurance agents to communicate with property/casualty companies. This effort culminated in the development and adoption of roughly 530 standard forms that have eliminated the need for up to 80,000 proprietary forms.

Although ACORD's standards were first designed exclusively to move information between independent agencies and insurers, they evolved into other areas, such as between policy administration systems, agency management systems, claims and rating systems. Today, ACORD estimates that more than 80,000 agency-company pairs use these standards to download data into agency systems.

In the mid-1990s, ACORD began developing XML standards for the industry, which now cover life, property/casualty, reinsurance and large commercial lines of business. ACORD's data specifications consist of the following:

XML for Property and Casualty address real-time data transmission requirements by defining P&C transactions including request and response messages for personal lines, specialty lines, surety, commercial lines, claims and accounting transactions.

XML for Life, Annuity & Health standard supports the life, annuity and health businesses and is based on the ACORD Life Data Model.

Life Data Model defines the data that the life, health insurance and annuity industries need to communicate.

XML Standards for Reinsurance are designed to provide seamless transfer of information among insurers, reinsurance brokers and reinsurers. The standards are developed for all parts of the reinsurance business cycle, from placement to accounting, claims and settlement.

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