Interest continues to grow around the ACORD Certified Expert(ACE) program. The first graduation day was held in May and others are gearing up to get their designations.

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The ACE designation program meets a specific industry need forACORDstandards implementation experts, according to Beth Grossman,chief learning officer for ACORD. Organizations from insurers tosolution providers will be able to more easily find the resourcesthey need, she explains.

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An ACE-certification means an individual has received aconsistent training, passed the exams required for the designation,and is up to date on the latest ACORD standards and versionsthrough continuing education.

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Organizations that wish to implement ACORD standards mayincrease their confidence level in staff knowledge by working withan ACE-certified resource.

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"ACORD members stressed to us how important it was that we set astandard around the knowledge and skills needed to successfullyimplement standards and find a vehicle for providing and testingthose skills," says Grossman.

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Criteria for receiving an ACE include taking three examsfocusing on specific topic areas: participation in the standardsprocess; business line specific standards(property/casualty/surety; life/annuity/health; orreinsurance/large commercial); and insurance product knowledge.Continuing education also is mandatory for maintaining an ACE.

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One of the most common questions received from members at ACORDheadquarters is how can the members take their certificationexams.

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The ultimate goal would be to utilize test centers around theworld that have the capabilities to offer the exams electronically,according to Grossman. However, Grossman points out, "We don't havethe volume just yet. The program is still in a beta phase and as itgrows, we'll be exploring those possibilities."

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Beginning in November, ACORD will be offering exams at many oftheir events such as the November ACORD Implementation Forum or atthe May ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum, which will be held inSan Diego, Calif.

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Using certified proctors such as those from other associationsthat offer exams is one method being considered, according toGrossman. Another way is by reaching out to company HRdepartments.

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"Many companies have people in-house that are certified byanother group to administer standardized tests," says Grossman."These same people can administer ACE exams as well and weencourage all those who have those capabilities to contact us [email protected]."

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Another option is by location. As several ACORD staff memberswork remotely, it's possible to set exam dates near thoseindividuals or arrange test-taking in that region.

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"We're still in the early stages and it's great to see so muchinterest in what we're doing," says Grossman. "As we get furtheralong, we'll be providing even more opportunities for people to gettheir training and exams so they can become ACEs."

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As the ACE program continues to grow, a new push is taking placeto certify experts within the UK. ACORD has been heavily involvedin the UK market for several years, and now some members wish toshow their expertise by attaining this designation.

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"We've had a lot of members express interest in the designationprogram, particularly in the London market, and now we're rampingup activities there to meet their desires," says Grossman.

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The process began with meetings in October with members toprovide an overview of the program, explain the process, and giveinstructions on accessing the training materials.

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"This will create a beta group in the UK similar to what wasdone in the US market," says Grossman. "We'll be speaking withthose who are implementing the standards and who are alreadyconsidered experts. They'll be able to use their expertise to takethe exams and provide feedback so we can further refine ourmaterials and testing, particularly with RLC implementationinformation."

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To date, there are more than 40 ACE designees with many moreabout to take exams and earn their designations. The numbercontinues to grow and will increase more rapidly as London marketmembers begin taking exams.

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"The feedback from members taking the exams has been great,"says Grossman. "We've learned a lot from their experiences with thematerials and testing and we look forward to the same as we expandthe ACE program globally."

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Plans are to give the exams in ACORD's London office which iseasily accessible for many within the area.

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ACE exams in the US will be given at the 2010 ACORDImplementation Forum in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., November 2-5. Formore information on the ACORD Certified Expert program, visitwww.acord.org/ace or contact [email protected].

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