ACORD: The Semantic Approach to the Insurance Industry

Posted by Patrick Wall on Jul 17, 2016 2:00:00 PM
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There is no simple way to define the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD), or its significance to the insurance industry. It is simultaneously a global community of insurance professionals and a certifying agency, an established semantics framework and standards-based approach to data management, the reference architecture of choice and a burgeoning body of knowledge for business domains and the data landscape.

calculator-385506_640.jpgMost of all, ACORD represents the successful implementation of semantic technology’s ability to harmonize an entire vertical historically segmented by organizational objectives, workflows, languages, locations, and myriad other points of diversity. Quite simply, it is undeniable proof that the power of semantics works.

Reference Architecture
The core of this semantic approach that has standardized the insurance vertical’s data is its reference architecture: a quintuple of models that have paved the foundation of the industry itself. These include a business glossary, capability, component, data and information models, each of which interact with one other to dynamically regulate everything from terms to business concepts. Whereas the capability and component models denote important business functions within this field, there is a close correlation between the remaining models and the chief principles of semantic technologies. The business glossary is parallel to the uniformity of meaning among terms that is reinforced with vocabularies; the information and data models are based on the relationships between data that is at the root of RDF and semantic models. Standardizing these relationships and terms enables the expedient exchange of data both within and between organizations.

ACORD’s reference architecture requires detailed mapping to effectively link the various components of the different models to the correct standards. Standards ensure that all data is arranged in accordance to what functions as a pre-designed schema. The result is that regardless of data type or structure, use case or deployment, all data correlates to one another in a way which reinforces their meaning and overall contextual value. Standards provided a uniformity of meaning of diverse data that is widely technology, software, and hardware-agnostic so data in any type of system can communicate with other data with these standards.

ACORD Standards
Specific ACORD standards are based on domain interests such as insurance types, industry concerns, areas of the world, and others. This semantic approach has successfully harmonized data across this field; other verticals, such as finance with its FIBO initiative, and healthcare with its H7 initiative are swiftly following suit.

Retroactively applying these standards to legacy data can be a challenging and time-consuming task. Fortunately, there is an emerging technology which allows enterprises to meet these regulatory requirements, as well as provide a foundation for a robust and valuable data ecosystem, all while leaving existing processes and infrastructure in place: the Smart Data Lake.

Click here to learn more about Smart Data Lakes by watching the webinar "Smart Data Lakes: Game Changing, Graph-Based Data Discovery, Analytics and Governance for the Enterprise".

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Tags: Insurance, ACORD