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Financial innovation firm R3 has partnered with ACORD (Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development) to launch a Centre of Excellence for distributed ledger technology in the global insurance industry.

R3 counts a number of major insurance companies amongst its member base, including MetLife, AIA and Suncorp Group, as well as other financial services members that have their own insurance groups. ACORD is a non-profit organisation that provides the global insurance industry with data standards and implementation solutions.

The Centre of Excellence will provide a dedicated environment for both R3's members and ACORD's members to research, experiment and design DLT applications that improve the efficiency of insurance processes such as claims handling and data management, said a statement.

R3 will provide access for ACORD's members to the R3 Wiki, an online knowledge library that contains a collection of research and resources created and compiled by R3 and its members. A dedicated portal has been built on the Wiki specifically for insurance projects, enabling ACORD members to engage in discussion among themselves and with other members of R3 on DLT and insurance related topics, it said.

R3 will provide education for C-suite, management and technology communities within ACORD's membership, as well as engaging in regulatory outreach within the insurance industry. ACORD will have the ability to invite appropriate regulators and supervisory bodies into projects being carried out within the Centre of Excellence.

R3 has actively engaged with regulators, trade associations and government entities across the world since its inception, inviting them into relevant trials with its members and enabling them to observe and participate in developing elements of DLT it is testing and building.

David Rutter, CEO of R3, said: "R3 is building distributed ledger technology for use across the financial services industry, of which the insurance sector is a key component. There is huge potential for insurers to leverage this technology to overhaul outdated systems used for processes such as premium payments and claims handling. We have been steadily growing our member base in this sector, and our partnership with ACORD will now provide these institutions and the industry as a whole with the tools and network to foster knowledge sharing and experimentation."

Bill Pieroni, president and CEO at ACORD, said: "We are excited to partner with R3 to create the DLT Centre of Excellence for the global insurance industry. It gives ACORD's members the opportunity to learn from other financial sectors, leveraging the knowledge to reduce time, cost, and risk associated with proof-of-concepts and pilots. Likewise, the work carried out by ACORD and R3 will benefit R3's member base as a whole. ACORD looks forward to working together to strategically position the industry for change."

Marty Lippert, executive vice president and head of global technology & operations at MetLife, added: "The partnership between ACORD and R3 to create a Centre of Excellence for insurers and reinsurers will expedite innovation and establish global standards for distributed ledger technology across the insurance industry. MetLife looks forward to expanding its strong relationships with both ACORD and R3 and contributing to the efforts of the new Centre of Excellence."