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Aug 7, 2017

Change Agent: An Interview with ACORD's Bill Pieroni

Source: Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance

Organisations are working to simultaneously address historical and emerging challenges, and at the heart of those efforts is data. Australian Insurance Industry Awards silver sponsor ACORD is implementing standards that promote the effective exchange and use of this information. 

Founded in 1970, the non-profit organisation provides the global insurance industry with solutions that promote best practice for enterprise architecture. Today, ACORD engages with more than 4,000 organisations across 20 countries, providing the industry with more than 1,200 standardised transaction types.

Systems made up of interchangeable components based on ACORD Standards provide a 360-degree view of people, organisations and risk. ACORD has a vision of fast, accurate data exchange and more efficient workflows using the electronic standards and tools it has developed.

Data quality and flow

“Since its inception, ACORD has been an industry leader in identifying ways to help its members make improvements across the insurance value chain,” says ACORD President and CEO Bill Pieroni. “Implementing ACORD Standards has been shown to improve data quality and flow, increase efficiency and realise billion-dollar savings to the global industry.”

ACORD members worldwide include hundreds of insurance and reinsurance companies, agents and brokers, software providers, financial services organisations and industry associations. ”The insurance industry has many stakeholders that face a wide range of business needs,” Pieroni says.  “ACORD wants all trading partners to be able to easily exchange information.”

“As a member-driven Standards Development Organisation (SDO), we promote a global and enterprise view of information, in which relevant business solutions all include or provide for ACORD Standards,” Pieroni says.   

Impact on society

Pieroni, who was appointed President and CEO of ACORD in 2016, has an extensive background in insurance and financial services, including a variety of roles with global responsibility at Marsh, Aon and State Farm. He has also held the position of General Manager at IBM’s insurance business, been a partner at Accenture, and a consultant with McKinsey & Company. 

Pieroni says the overall impact insurance has on society is what drives and motivates him in his career. “The insurance industry facilitates commerce and puts people’s lives back together after losses,” he says. “The industry quantifies the cost of risk which contributed to decisions that make people live smarter.”

Standardisation to mitigate risk

Pieroni says that data presents not only opportunities, but also challenges in the current insurance business environment. “Insurance stakeholders have varying business and technical needs, all intended to serve the customer and add value throughout the process,” he explains. “However, these varying and sometimes competing needs add complexity to the insurance business model.”

In addition, the exponential growth of data across the industry adds another layer of complication.  “Organisations have the opportunity and obligation to consume ever-increasing volumes of data which can help improve business operations but also can make data management more difficult,” he says. “Changing regulations can create issues for organisations across the industry, costing time and money as they attempt to navigate the evolving landscape.”

According to Pieroni, these forces will drive organisations to embrace standardisation in order to mitigate risks. “Once organisations adopt and implement data standards to address the challenges they are facing, they realise capability improvements across process, organisation and technology dimensions,” he says.

ACORD continues to view the value of standards through three lenses – efficiency, effectiveness, and flexibility. “From insurance industry leaders to technologists and researchers, the consensus is that standards are essential to improving communication and data sharing between systems and organisations.”

Exciting developments

To that end, Pieroni says ACORD has many new exciting developments. “We recently redesigned our logo to reflect our commitment to enabling constant improvements across the insurance value chain,” he says. “The three interlocking circles stand for our core mission: to enable operational effectiveness and efficiency for our members.”

ACORD has also initiated new white papers and partnership research on emerging topics such as the digital maturity of carriers and impacts of Blockchain technology on the insurance industry. “We are hosting the ACORD Insurance Innovation Challenge (AIIC) which brings together insurance companies of all sizes and across all lines of business, investors and venture capital partners, technology startups, and industry innovators,” Pieroni says. “Semi-final presentations were held in New York, Chicago and London. The winner will be announced at the ACORD2017 conference on October 24-26  in Boston.” 


ACORD has also been a sponsor of the Australian Insurance Industry Awards through ANZIIF for the last two years. Pieroni says that like ANZIIF, ACORD is an independent change agent that can help the industry come together around shared problems.

“ANZIIF’s focus on providing the industry benchmark for industry education and qualifications is no different to our goals of creating a common standard for all insurers to share data,” he says. “For us, sponsorship of the Australian Insurance Industry Awards lets us communicate to the industry that we share and support the vision of ‘supporting professional excellence to enhance the standards, reputation and success of the industry.’”

The 2017 Australian Insurance Industry Awards will be held Thursday 31 August at The Star Event Centre, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont, NSW.