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Rethinking form standardization for the next generation of insurance paperwork

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By Sophie Benjamin

ACORD forms became popularized by created a standard for describing and assessing risk. As risk evolves, insurtechs can use field-level structured data to create an ACORD-like experience for any insurance form.

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Rethinking form standardization for the next generation of insurance paperwork

ACORD forms 2.0 and modernizing insurance paperwork

ACORD forms save time for brokers and underwriters by standardizing the data required to quote and bind insurance policies. By opting into a universally accepted set of forms for describing and assessing risk, brokers and carriers can build workflows to streamline the underwriting process, and enable an entire industry of reinsurance.

Form standardization starts to break down as processing moves from human to machine. Humans can contextualize and interpret information provided on forms. For machines, however, the data needs to be validated and structured into consistent, consumable units.

A thornier problem is adapting the brittle infrastructure of a standardized form when the underlying risk and data required for modern risk models change. The ACORD organization maintains hundreds of forms that address many risk scenarios, upon which thousands of brokers and carriers have built their operations. Making even the slightest change has a massive ripple effect that disrupts the operations of an entire multi-trillion dollar industry, creating significant drag on the pace of form updates. For example, as many companies have moved to remote work, standard commercial insurance applications have not adapted: the ACORD 125 still requires an entire section dedicated to physical office facilities. Standard ACORD forms are not properly capturing the risks associated with an at-home work force forcing many underwriters to develop their own questions and procedures, negating the benefits of standardization.

As the insurance industry works to accelerate its evolution to match the changing risk landscape, there needs to be a systematic way of handling any kind of insurance document, including those that aren’t standardized.

The next generation of insurance paperwork will be standardized at the field level

Anvil approaches paperwork through the lens of data capture and sharing. Data is abstracted away from the PDF, with the flexibility to map to any form or system. To bring this future state a reality, Anvil provides the paperwork infrastructure to shift the unit of standardization from the form to the field.

In practice, Anvil’s document templates allow anyone to configure a form with validated fields. Rather than relying on engineering teams to hardcode entire forms, non-technical insurance experts can easily tag and configure Anvil to create a field level data models for any PDF form. A templatized form can be filled programmatically over API or used to create a Workflow that includes web based data capture, PDF form preparation and optionally, e-signatures. A completed Workflow returns a payload of structured data along with a set of filled and signed documents.

Where standardization really unlocks scale is its ability to create one to many data flows. Enter Anvil’s field aliases. Field aliases offer a consistent way of referring to the same piece of data across multiple documents. Insurance companies repurpose the same set of client data across multiple forms, quotes, addendums and supplements, binding documents, renewals, certificates, etc., and the process of transferring that data around is a huge drain on efficiency. By using a consistent set of field aliases, it is possible to easily map internal data models to any number of documents and Workflows, leveraging software to quickly and easily generate documents and complete data-driven tasks.

Standardization on the data level, not on the level of individual forms is transformative for the brokers and carriers dealing with endless variations of insurance forms. With Anvil as the underlying form infrastructure, modern insurance companies are able to extend the promise of ACORD-like standardization to any form. Industry leaders like Vouch, Pathpoint, and Newfront all use Anvil to elegantly handle all permutations of insurance paperwork at scale.

How to get started

Our pre-built ACORD document templates are ideal for insurance companies looking to transition to a more scalable paperwork solution.

  • ACORD 25 - certify a business has the appropriate liability coverage
  • ACORD 125 - apply for commercial insurance coverage
  • ACORD 126 - provide more details on a business’s general liability coverage needs as part of a commercial insurance application
  • ACORD 140 - provide more details on a business’s premises as part of a commercial insurance application

Interested to learn more about our ACORD document templates and insurance solutions? Request a demo to talk to our sales team!

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  • Simplifying data gathering
  • Streamlining document preparation
  • Requesting e-signatures
  • Building and scaling your business
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