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eBusiness: Create a Path and Follow It


On May 1, cedents, brokers, and reinsurers met in Hartford for Efficiency in Reinsurance Operations: Special Cedent Event. The goal was to open up discussions among the parties about the importance of electronic communication. Representatives from ten leading ceding companies came out for the one-day conference. In all, more than 40 participants took part in the interactive and educational sessions.

Last week's Efficiency in Reinsurance Operations cedent event opened a dialogue about ways all parties – cedents, brokers, and reinsurers - can work together to improve efficiency and accuracy in the ceded reinsurance market. This invitation-only event explored the use of technology and ACORD Standards and provided a forum for open, interactive discussion.

John DiBuduo of Partner Re and Co-Chair of the US Reinsurance Committee Opens up the Event

A common theme throughout the day was that implementing an eBusiness solution isn't a one-shot process. Instead, it's a path to incrementally follow that will lead you to improved data sharing, increased accuracy, and decreased costs.

ACORD's US Reinsurance Committee, chaired by John DiBuduo of Partner Re and Tom Neff of Aon Benfield organized this event along with ACORD. While a lot has happened on the broker and reinsurer sides of the equation, the goal now is to increase ceding company participation and implementation.

"With each event and discussion, we are expanding the number of ceding companies interested in eBusiness and increasing their levels of participation," said Marc Codispoti, Market Development Manager, ACORD. "It's bringing the information to them and in particular, letting them hear from other cedents that have already implemented. By understanding how and why their peers did it, they are more likely to get on board."

Set a Goal, Plan the Trip
Like any implementation, it starts with a goal. From there, a roadmap can be set out and you're on your journey to eBusiness. That, according to many of the day's presenters, is a critical message.

One easy way to get started, according to the US Reinsurance Committee, is through the use of the new Cedent Bordereau. Mentioned throughout the day, DiBuduo presented the spreadsheet to the attendees as a gateway solution. This was echoed by many who agreed that email and PDFs are not eBusiness solutions. Also, the need to rekey a 100 page bordereau is not efficient, cost-saving, time-saving, or accurate. By just using a standardized spreadsheet that's consumed by a system, you begin to drive those issues from the process making it a first-step toward eBusiness.

Cedent Successes
For many cedents in the room, much of what was said made sense and seemed logical. However, the points were driven home by two cedents who shared their success stories. Kim Lamari of Travelers explained how her company began with the Cedent Bordereau spreadsheet and was in fact the original pilot cedent for it. By describing how cycle time was reduced from one week to two days, the benefit was clear.

Chartis' Debbie Worthington followed and delved into how Chartis is benefiting from the use of ACORD's Reinsurance Standards. She also provided a list of implementations live and pending including tech account for proportional treaties, cedent bordereau, and more, some of which she updated during the presentation due to additional progress made.

Tom Neff of Aon Benfield and Co-Chair of the US Reinsurance Committee Closes the Day's Activities

Learning, Preparing, Executing
The journey to eBusiness implementation begins with education and information, such as that provided by the event and the related materials. Members of the US Reinsurance Committee and ACORD Staff all emphasized that they were available to not only answer questions going forward, but visit them and provide any additional information to help the cedents get started.

"It's important that the ceding companies have the information and understand why implementation is so critical today. As more business partners go electronic, demand to communicate electronically will similarly increase," said Maggy Leon, Director of Implementation Services for ACORD. "It starts with the gathering all the available information. Then they can prepare their roadmap and begin the journey. ACORD and the US Reinsurance Committee are here to help them along that path."

More information on eBusiness can be found on the event website and at the US Reinsurance Committees site.