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Dec 2, 2015

Year in Review: ACORD Reference Architecture

The ACORD Reference Architecture (Framework) is an industry-standard enterprise view of the insurance industry. The architecture provides a core set of models that can be utilized for internal reference architectures, software component development, data interoperability and service-oriented architecture enablement across the entire insurance ecosystem.

In 2015 we continued to see growth in its adoption and usage from our member organizations. We are pleased to report that a number of enhancements are implementation-driven and include the following highlights.

Information Model
The enhancements expressed in the 2.6 release are a natural part of the maturing of the model via implementation feedback and ongoing review, much of which involves many of the same business functions and concepts represented in ACORD’s Standards library. ACORD Standards have already experienced the business requirements validation process and we are at times re-utilizing the outcomes, now from the perspective of a reference architecture. In addition to the highlights below, we also produced a new online introductory study guide (with audio track) available following sign-in at

Business Content Highlights:

  • Agreement
    • Added support for group certificates, consent agreements and policy portfolios
    • Added a new type of Deductible: Waiting Period
  • Claim
    • Added ability to track all Activities that are part of processing a Claim
    • Added content in support of fraud investigation requirements
  • Contact and Place
    • Added cross-model support for language dialects
  • Miscellaneous
    • Added new worked examples to assist in learning and using the Information Model

Refer to the ReadMe file (contained within the v2.6 release) for additional details.

Looking ahead, review for the 2.7 release began Q3 2015 and has already concluded the Category Package. The Activity Package and related concepts are a work-in-progress and once concluded, will fulfill the initial open review of all 17 model packages. The 2.7 release will also include enhancements for navigation to worked examples.

Business Glossary
The 2.6 release continues to utilize the Information Model as a source of business content. By design, its publication remains aligned with releases of the corresponding Information Model.

Enhancements introduced with the 2.5 release are still present (e.g. acronyms, synonyms, new formats – CSV and XML). The CSV format (spreadsheet) is especially helpful for those who are “mapping” their respective business terms to ACORD and prefer the simplicity and utility of a spreadsheet format.

In addition to the traditional download, the glossary is now being published on-line via sign-in to as part of the Business Glossary Community. This provides a new means of access, as well as opportunities for proposed updates on description text and proposed new glossary entries.

Capability Model
The Capability Model continues to be one of the most widely used models within the Reference Architecture. In 2015 we worked with multiple member organizations on model enhancements as well as some fundamental changes to the structure to support an ACORD Business Process Initiative. These enhancements will be available in the next release of the model, scheduled for the first quarter of 2016. 

The Capability Model is also featured in a number of architectural design patterns, one pattern being in the area of innovation realization. A webinar is scheduled for December 8th, 2015. Additional patterns were showcased at the ACORD2015 event, with related case studies presented throughout the conference. 

Product Diagramming
We completed work on the first, official, member-wide draft of the ACORD Product Diagramming Specification via the Product Diagramming Community. This included four new shapes, a Microsoft Visio Stencil that simplifies the creation of Product Diagrams, and improved overall alignment to the ACORD Information Model, plus many more enhancements.

This release focuses on making Product Diagramming accessible and useful to all levels of the enterprise, encouraging broad usage across the industry by both business and technical constituents. 

We also conducted two very successful sessions at the ACORD2015 event highlighting the utilization of the Product Diagramming technique, as well as a Case Study provided by a member organization. 

For more information on the ACORD Reference Architecture (Framework), contact Shane McCullough at