ACORD Takes Advantage of Microsoft ActiveX Technologies To Bring Data Integration and Forms to Insurance Industry

ORLANDO, Fla., May 18, 1997 — ACORD’s experience and expertise in standards development and maintenance, together with the technical knowledge and strength of Microsoft Corp., are bringing the benefits of object technology to the insurance industry.

The future of agency and company data integration depends on the ease with which insurance software developers (ISDs) can incorporate standards into their systems, explained Gregory A. Maciag, president and CEO of the Agency-Company Organization for Research and Development (ACORD). “ACORD standards working groups are developing the Data ObjX
™
specification for ActiveX
™
to achieve single-entry interapplication integration,” Maciag said.

Microsoft® ActiveX technologies are a set of specifications for software component integration. The ACORD Data ObjX is a set of standard object definitions designed to encompass the data requirements for all lines of business within the property/casualty industry.

ACORD follows a formalized standards maintenance process that takes advantage of the experience of the end users in a series of hierarchical working groups to address various elements of the standards. There are several working groups: The Architecture Working Group focuses on solidifying and maintaining the ActiveX implementation of ACORD Data ObjX; the Personal and Commercial Lines Working Groups are defining Standard Data ObjX for personal automobile business owners’ policies and homeowners’ lines of business.

“It was nine months ago that ACORD and Microsoft began developing the ACORD Data ObjX specifications, and I am pleased to report that beta testing will begin in August,” Maciag said. “The technical guidance and industry vendor commitment that Microsoft has brought to the table has been essential to the success of this process. We would not be this far along without Microsoft’s help.”

“The insurance industry has made a big investment in ACORD standards,” said Bill Hartnett, worldwide insurance industry manager at Microsoft. “The open object technology of ActiveX makes implementing these standards easier. This is the next logical step in making ‘insurance information at your fingertips’ a reality. We are truly pleased to help ACORD create the Data ObjX standard as well as realize its goal of reducing the cost of insurance to consumers.”

At the same time that Data ObjX is being tested, ACORD will release for beta testing its version 2.0 of the ACORD ObjX Toolkit. This newest version will increase performance over version 1.0 and will allow for integration with the ACORD Data ObjX specification. Among the other features, version 2.0 will do the following:

  • Incorporate all ACORD Forms

  • Support multiple versions

  • Provide a 32-bit OLE server optimized for quick rendering

  • Allow for updates from ACORD’s Web site – (http://www.acord.com/)

ACORD’s members directed their initial efforts to the ActiveX platform. “Such a robust architecture not only provides flexibility for adapting to rapid changes, but also supports scalability to Internet-based solutions,” said Ronald A. James, chairman, ACORD standards committee and senior vice president, information technology, Zurich Insurance Companies.

ACORD is a nonprofit insurance association whose mission is to create standards and offer services to the insurance industry that assist in reducing costs and duplication of work while

increasing the industry’s ability to exceed its customers’ expectations. ACORD accomplishes its mission by remaining an objective, independent advocate for standards within the insurance industry and by understanding the needs and expectations of its stakeholders.

More than 1,000 insurance companies are affiliated with ACORD, as are 32,000 agencies, the major agency software providers, the national producer associations, users groups and other industry organizations.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

ACORD One Blue Hill Plaza POB 1529 Pearl River, NY 10965-8529

Web site:
(http://www.acord.com/ )
.

Microsoft and ActiveX are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Data ObjX is a trademark of ACORD.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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