Microsoft, ACORD Link Insurance Forms to XML Web Services, Helping Agents Enter Data Once and Share Data Across Their Businesses

ORLANDO, Fla., May 19, 2003 — Today at the 2003 ACORD Conference Microsoft Corp. and the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD) announced that ACORD will provide more than 500 insurance forms built using Microsoft®
Office InfoPath (TM) 2003, Microsoft Office System’s new information-gathering application.

InfoPath utilizes XML and XML-based Web services to enable insurance agencies to complete forms once and then link the data to other forms, databases, back-end systems and applications. As part of the forms service, Microsoft .NET Web services can be used to provide additional functionalities, including e-mail, printing and data-routing.

The ability for insurance agents and brokers to use InfoPath-based forms is expected to help the insurance industry reduce the processing time and cost of completing insurance transactions, while reducing errors associated with re-entering data multiple times. It also will unify and standardize the way forms are delivered and relate to Extensive Markup Language (XML) standards such as that of ACORD’s, which is the most commonly used standard in the insurance industry today.

“Availability of current ACORD Forms is essential for agents and brokers. This technology will deliver and update ACORD Forms quickly and encourage the development of Web services around ACORD Forms,”
said Gregory Maciag, CEO of ACORD.
“We’ve embraced XML as a key standard in insurance transaction processing, and Microsoft’s InfoPath tool will increase productivity and efficiency for ACORD participants.”

InfoPath will be available as part of Microsoft’s most popular Office suite for businesses, Microsoft Office 2003 Professional Enterprise Edition, with standalone versions available via retail outlets, volume licensing and OEM channels. Pricing is still to be determined.

“We’ve hit on a major culmination of the work of standards and the applications the end user will need to consume them,”
said Bill Hartnett, general manager of Financial Services Solutions at Microsoft.
“Our ongoing commitment to industry standards and information worker technology has allowed us to enable industry partners like ACORD to make InfoPath relevant to its customers.”

The news of ACORD’s plan to provide InfoPath-based ACORD Forms falls less than a week after the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and Microsoft demonstrated a prototype for processing electronic trading documents using the beta 2 version of Microsoft Office Project Professional 2003 and InfoPath. The prototype, displayed at the UN’s Second International Forum on Trade Facilitation in Geneva, supports UNECE’s work around XML and enables digital signing of documents via Web services created by the U.S. Postal Service and Canada Post. A technical white paper outlining the benefits of Web services based on the UN’s Business Collaboration Framework estimated that, due to the cost of implementation, approximately 98 percent of global Fortune 1,000 companies have embraced electronic data interchange (EDI), compared with 5 percent of other companies. The establishment of a common standard for businesses to trade goods electronically can have a dramatic impact on the costs.


Based in New York, ACORD is a global, nonprofit insurance association whose mission is to facilitate the development and use of standards for the insurance, reinsurance and related financial services industries. With offices in London as well, ACORD accomplishes its mission by remaining an objective, independent advocate for sharing information among diverse platforms. ACORD Standards and services improve efficiency and expand market reach. Affiliated with ACORD are hundreds of insurance and reinsurance companies, and thousands of agents and brokers, related financial services organizations, software providers, and industry organizations worldwide.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

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