Thunderhead, a provider of enterprise communications solutions, has announced a new collaborative insurance-correspondence initiative that integrates Thunderhead with IBM middleware and supports ACORD insurance industry XML standards, simplifying transactions while adding additional compliance and management capabilities.
The world's largest insurance member organisation, ACORD has provided industry standards for communication since 1981. It released its first XML standards in 1999.
ACORD XML standards allow data to be exchanged seamlessly across applications and businesses, increasing efficiency and enabling insurance and financial services firms to communicate electronically with agents, brokers and other data partners in the industry. Prior to adopting XML, ACORD members struggled with varying standards and formats that threatened to delay transactions and corrupt data.
Thunderhead's new Insurance Correspondence initiative integrates the Thunderhead NOW platform for multi-channel (print, Web and mobile) document automation with IBM Information Management and IBM Lotus Forms software - helping insurers streamline creation, delivery and management of customer correspondence and other personalised content.
Thunderhead NOW is the first document generation platform built with an open, standards-based architecture that natively supports XML without relying on proprietary data formats.
The technology combines Thunderhead NOW with IBM Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Business Process Management (BPM), IBM DB2 pureXMLTM, and IBM Lotus Forms software, resulting in technology that both creates and manages insurance information.
Hundreds of large and small organisations worldwide have been long-time users of IBM Forms software, which quickly and easily automates business processes.
With the combined features of Thunderhead and IBM middleware, insurance organisations are able to:
- Improve the customer experience by delivering content on demand, through Web self-service, the call centre or broker channel
- Gain faster time to market by automating the creation and management of letters, quotes, policies and other documents
- Increase efficiency ase efficiency and reduce costs by e eliminaating manual steps and integrating correspondence into straight-through claims processing initiatives
- Support e-business initiatives through the use of ACORD XML standards and modern open Services Oriented Architectures (SOA)
- Reduce risk by ensuring that customer and broker communications are in compliance with brand and regulatory guidelines
With the integration of IBM technology, property and casualty and life insurers can now use ACORD eForms powered by IBM Lotus Forms software. This means customers and remote agents can submit standard forms data and then automatically generate rules-based confirmations or other personalised documents.
With the addition of IBM FileNet BPM software, insurers can automate reviews and approval processes as well, to ensure documents created follow brand and regulatory compliance guidelines. Documents can then be automatically archived for record keeping in IBM ECM software.
New capabilities offered in the product by DB2 pureXML allow compliant data to be stored, managed and retrieved efficiently. Thunderhead NOW uses this XML data to generate customised responses to customer inquiries, often without manual intervention.
"Thunderhead's move to build upon IBM Information Management software reflects IBM's Information on Demand strategy, helping clients unlock the business value of information and use it to gain a competitive advantage," said Martyn Christian, vice president, IBM Enterprise Content Management. "By combining Thunderhead and IBM technologies, insurance organisations can be more competitive."
"The ability to natively support open standards and easily integrate with IBM's market-leading middleware is important to Thunderhead," said Glen Manchester, chief executive officer of Thunderhead. "We applaud ACORD for driving the development of XML-based standards, and we look forward to continuing our work with IBM to help insurance companies be more responsive to their customer needs."