ACORD announced a reciprocal membership agreement with IFX Forum. Both organizations set information technology standards for message transmissions in financial services industries. They will cooperate in the development of XML standards for the electronic exchange of data in the insurance and banking industries. The collaboration is typical of recent announcements of alliances between standards bodies to consolidate development. The arrangement will combine the insurance expertise of ACORD and the banking expertise of IFX Forum. The organizations will focus on the base IFX specification and the proposed ACORD Insurance XML specifications to produce a framework supporting XML-based transaction services. Joint participation is underway. ACORD and IFX Forum have exchanged memberships and committed to participation in each other’s working groups. ACORD participants are assessing the base IFX specification and supplying IFX Forum with recommendations. In turn, IFX Forum will route insurance-related issues through the ACORD standards process. The IFX specification defines a messaging standard for secured IP-based banking business messages over the public Internet or private networks. The significance of XML and IP for the insurance industry is the progression from batch store-and-forward EDI transmissions to real-time messaging. Insurance business benefits include fast, reliable rates, quotes, applications, policies, claims and other transactions among a variety of trading partners-carriers, producers, rating bureaus, third-party administrators and service providers. As members increasingly look to supporting electronic commerce across all lines of business, ACORD is pursuing multiple open partnerships and alliances with U.S. and international standards-setting organizations. The goal is worldwide e-commerce connectivity throughout the insurance industry. www.acord.org, www.IFXForum.org

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