ACORD tech exec recommends: Work with customers

ACORD is a non-profit organization founded in 1970 that is the international standards-setting organization for the insurance and financial services industry. The group has more than 36,000 members around the world, from corporations to international carriers, and they support fast, accurate data exchange and efficient workflows by using electronic methods, official forms, and tools to support their work.

Calajoe rose to the top of ACORD, becoming vice president of Technology Shared Services at ACORD Solutions Group in January 2022.

ACORD Solutions Group started in 2016 as a small company focused on “filling gaps where there aren’t enough solutions.” Which means that ACORD Solutions Group creates digital products that help bridge the gap between received public and digital technology products, and are built to be easily deployed by customers, including members and non-members.

Calajoe’s role is to work closely with senior management to provide business management recommendations and report performance. There is also an element of support.

“We provide support to our customers, both internally and externally,” Calajoe said. “I’m in charge of managing our infrastructure, our own [technology] releases and support for our customers. “

Calajoe sees ACORD Solutions Group as playing an important role in the industry.

“Our priority is to solve the problems of companies and members, and we use advanced technology to do it well,” said Calajoe.

ACORD Solutions Group’s technology focuses, among other things, on areas such as digital transformation and exchange. This, Calajoe said, allows for end-to-end automation and “direct processing” for customers. There’s also a big-picture goal: helping customers and members make better use of technology to improve their skills.

“We have provided standards for a long time. Now we are trying to help implement those principles with our own [SaaS and other] answers,” Calajoe said.

What’s new is local discussion

The ACORD Solutions team has been very successful since its inception, Calajoe said. He participated and helped build the team before taking his VP role with the team this year.

“The biggest thing in the last four or five years is being a part of managing these things,” Calajoe said. “We’ve gone from not having solutions to having enterprise solutions that we provide to companies, and we have great customers who are using these solutions and are happy with our services.”

With that said, companies are not quick to adapt to technological changes. Calajoe accepted the offer. While he is leaving ACORD’s work behind the scenes and interacting more with clients and organizations he is working with, talking to clients and really listening to them has become an important part of Calajoe’s work. In doing so, good practices will emerge.

“What ACORD has always been good at and what we’re doing is you have to talk to potential customers and customers and members and just see what’s going wrong, or what they’re dealing with on a daily basis,” Calajoe said. “When you talk to them and find out what their problems are and how they can improve, that’s when you should start.”

From Calajoe’s point of view, customers don’t just accept technology that you can bring to them off the shelf. Each case has its own needs.

“You can’t be like ‘there’s this shiny new thing and go use it,'” Calajoe said. “You have to work together. [and] I can’t just give you an out-of-the-box answer that you want. It’s not going to be in the box for everyone.”

Put another way, Calajoe has learned as a technology expert that it is very important to work closely with clients on what they need.

“It can’t be satisfactory,” Calajoe said. “It might be coming to them with opportunities that are solutions that we can give them and they can say, ‘that’s fine, but we have a problem or a slightly different problem.’

The initial discussion should lead to an agreement to be a good solution, he said.

Technology is everything

Helping industrial customers figure out how to do better with technology is important today, Calajoe said.

“It’s the future of insurance,” Calajoe said. “The purpose of technology, in my opinion, is to solve problems and make work easier, whether it’s saving money or saving time, or solving problems.”