The Best Way to Automate ACORD Form Processing: Intelligent Automation
February 22, 2021 / Insurance, Intelligent Process Automation, Use Case
The insurance industry is awash in documents of various types but one category dominates: ACORD forms. Any insurance company that succeeds in implementing intelligent document processing for ACORD forms would be ahead of the game. But companies that automate ACORD form processing along with other types of unstructured content – well, they’d be dominating the field.
ACORD forms come from the Association for Operations Research and Development, a non-profit that develops standards for the insurance industry, including standardized forms. Lots of them. The index of available ACORD forms runs 13 pages, many of them listing 80 or more forms each. They cover topics ranging from “Automobile Loss Notice” to “Equine Liability Supplement.” Most states have a number of forms that apply only to them.
Standardized – but varied
These days, ACORD forms would typically be filled out electronically, but they don’t have to be. Insurers could well have to deal with forms that are filled out by hand, or at least check boxes that are marked in pen or pencil. And simply given the sheer number of ACORD forms, variation is a given.
The forms are, however, standardized and structured; that’s the whole point, in fact. That means you could automate processing of ACORD forms using a templated approach, where you define the field(s) from which you want to extract data for input into a downstream processing system. Similarly, optical character recognition (OCR) would work, perhaps in combination with a robotic process automation (RPA) tool.
But any of those approaches would require labeling the forms to define the fields you want to extract. Given the sheer number of ACORD forms available, that would be a painstaking task.
Related Article: Reduce P&C Insurance Underwriting Risk with Intelligent Automation
Automation for unstructured content
It would also address only part of the battle when it comes to insurance document automation, because ACORD forms are often accompanied by other content that may or may not be structured. An auto claim, for example, would likely be submitted along with photos, an estimate from an auto body company, the adjuster’s notes and more. None of that content is structured, so it would be out of scope for a templated automation approach or RPA tool.
A more effective approach to automating ACORD document processing is to use intelligent document processing (which falls under Gartner’s hyperautomation category, for those keeping score). This is an intelligent automation approach that involves the use of artificial intelligence technologies including natural language processing to “read” unstructured documents, including images, much like a human would. Such an approach would enable an insurance company to automate processing not just of ACORD documents, but nearly any content.
One of the keys to success in document automation efforts is to choose an automation tool that’s built on a large database of labeled data points. That’s what gives the tool the ability to identify the context behind documents and images.
Intelligent Process Automation has you covered
Indico’s Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) platform is built on top of a database of some 500 million labeled data points. AI technology known as transfer learning enables customers to build off that database and create models to automate their own document processes. With just a few dozen of the actual documents involved in the process, you can create a working model that will have a high degree of accuracy.
So, don’t settle for an automation approach that can only handle highly structured content like ACORD forms. Take the IPA approach and you’ll realize gains in process cycle times and capacity that will have you far ahead of the field.