London-based insurance firms have struggled, largely unsuccessfully so far, to work with each other through electronic channels.
ACORD, the US insurance standards organization which has been expanding into international markets, appears to be the leader in driving standards, the key to electronic business, into the London market and its global affiliates.
An ACORD-sponsored two-day forum in London 16-17 October, drew more than 600 participants – fortunately not all at the same time because the meeting room could not have accommodated them all. While market participants are using ACORD standards with counterparties as adoption expends, they are also finding value in using the standards internally, especially when dealing with far-flung offices in Asia.
Thomas Krapf of Swiss Re said his firm is looking at the whole scope of standards to improve the way it interacts with business partners.
“A standard has to be global and usable for business partners on a global scale. Therefore we have an interest in a strong global standard, and ACORD may be the strongest available now,” he said.
Tom Payne of RJ Kilin & Co., said his firm is using ACORD for internal communications.
“We are slightly different. We are a London market syndicate, predominantly out of Lloyds building. We also have operations in Southeast Asia, Europe and South Africa. We expect to see the standard as a way to act with partners and also to interact with our overseas offices. We are taking the work we do in London and using it as an internal standard. It would be silly for us to reinvent the wheel when something as powerful as this exists.”