In an effort to continue its promotion of insurance industry standards, IBM announced yesterday that it is donating technology assets to ACORD. Seeking to encourage collaboration and drive innovation in the insurance industry, IBM will donate its Insurance Application Architecture (IAA) Business Object/Data Model and the IAA Product Specification Diagram (PSD) Notation to the Pearl River, N.Y.-based standards development organization.

The donated models, from IBM's IAA—the company's insurance business and IT architecture framework—represent a significant contribution of intellectual property associated with IBM's insurance industry models, says the company. IBM continually develops IAA in collaboration with 100 leading insurance companies around the world, and more than 200 insurers worldwide have licensed the IAA model. The IAA Business Object/Data Model, coupled with the existing ACORD Information Model, is intended to form the building blocks for the next version of the ACORD Information Model.

"Over the past year, ACORD, with previous donations and member participation, created the initial information model in an effort to provide an industry-owned model," says John Kellington, SVP of ACORD. “IBM's donation will allow ACORD to leverage IBM's 20 years of experience in building an insurance industry model to further develop the ACORD Information Model. The consolidation of the two models will be available to the industry participants for future innovation.”

IAA is part of IBM's Industry Models portfolio, a comprehensive family of data, process and service models that are widely used across industries. Going forward, IBM will continue to work closely with ACORD to align IBM's rich set of IAA models with ACORD's standards portfolio. In addition, implementation guides and supporting tools will be issued by ACORD to foster the adoption and expansion of the Framework.

By aligning IAA with the ACORD Framework, IBM increases the ability to leverage ACORD and other open standards in IBM's WebSphere SOA Foundation and SOA insurance industry accelerators, offering insurers accelerated capabilities to implement ACORD standards and SOA. In addition, IBM Cognos BI, together with IBM DB2 pureXML, can further help companies extract key data from ACORD XML messages, integrate the information with existing relational data, and create compelling reports for business analysts and executives.

"The synergy of IAA and ACORD working together to create full, robust, flexible insurance assets will aid the ACORD standards group to leverage an insurance industry blueprint with a full operational payload," said Michael Daugherty, president of the independent IBM Industry Models User's Group (IMUG) and architect at Liberty Mutual Agency Markets Information Services. "In this case, both assets will be stronger for this collaboration. IBM and ACORD show true thought leadership by combining the power of ACORD's existing Information Model and their insurance industry information exchange standards, with the depth, flexibility, and operational richness of the IAA Business Object/Data Model."

The new models, according to IBM and ACORD, will accelerate the development and adoption of ACORD Framework, ACORD Messaging and ACORD eForms.

"The ACORD Framework models will give insurers a flexible set of industry-developed assets to help accelerate the global adoption of key industry concepts," says Mark Lewis, Global Insurance Industry general manager at IBM. "Collaboratively aligning market-leading products such as IBM's IAA with ACORD's Framework will increase the value IAA can deliver to the industry and is consistent with IBM's strategy of fostering open standards organizations to create growth and innovation."

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