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e-Accounting: Why Implementation is Important

 

Description: VideoVIDEO: Click the image to watch Mark Barwick discuss e-Accounting. 

by Johnell Johnson, ACORD

An e-Accounting initiative is underway to implement ACORD messages for premiums and claims processing and settlement. The activity started in London and now includes groups in the U.S., Europe, Bermuda, and most recently the Asia Pacific region. E-Accounting helps to improve back office administration by replacing the current paper or email statements with ACORD messages.

"There have already been implementations from Willis, AON, ACE, and XL Insurance," said Mark Barwick, ACORD London and EU Program Director. "There are further implementations due to take place in the fourth quarter of this year. However, we needed to reach firms beyond the original steering group in London, so it was decided to host an event to bring in the brokers and insurers who perhaps weren't engaged at this stage."

50 brokers and insurers met in London recently to discuss the business case for implementing ACORD e-Accounting messages. The meeting also helped raise awareness that a company can start receiving e-Accounting messages almost immediately using its existing software without any further capital outlay.

"There's software known as gateways, which you can purchase off-the-shelf, which comes with a message management tool and allows businesses to do everything needed to run the business process," Barwick added. "Crucially, many of the firms we talked with in London already have this software as a result of other initiatives in the market to use ACORD messages for placing activity."

Reinsurers participating in the Ruschlikon project, including Swiss Re, SCOR and Munich Re, report a 30 percent reduction in back office costs. Figures from XL Insurance suggest premium payment times improved by between 15 and 17 days. E-Accounting also helps eliminate what's known as unmatched cash, which is increasingly a concern of regulators worldwide.

In a recent Insurance Day article, Simon Squires, the chairman of the London Market Group's non-bureau working group said, "So, for a fairly minimal investment, in terms of getting it ready to send and receive the accounting data, a really huge benefit can be achieved. In terms of the administrative process it makes it much more efficient and because these are effectively real-time connections it means data is flowing backwards and forwards on a daily basis."

The next step is follow-up with those firms that attended the London meeting, to get details of their plans. "We want to take e-Accounting to the next level," Barwick concluded. "There's a real benefit and we want every company possible to participate."

e-Accounting will be one of the many topics of discussion at this year's Insurance Technology Congress, October 9-10 in London. For more information or to register, visit the ITC website at ITCevent.com.