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The ACORD-User Groups Information Exchange (AUGIE) held its first meeting. The goal: to gather information, share ideas and play an active role in setting an agenda for working together.

"Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it is now." It's a good lesson that can be applied to life, Stanley Cup playoffs, and in this case, the insurance industry and the technology that keeps it moving forward. We are all dealing with "today" in one way or another, but too few of us are working together to deal with "tomorrow." The ACORD-User Groups Information Exchange (AUGIE) will assist in getting the different groups involved to plan for the next move.

AUGIE held its first meeting in Nashville last month in conjunction with the AMS Users Group annual conference. The goal: to gather information, share ideas and play an active role in setting an agenda for working together. The overall purpose of the User Group Information Exchange is to partner with ACORD and its members (insurers, vendors and associations) to help shape the future of e-commerce for the insurance industry.

"We're very pleased AMS Users Group was able to host the first AUGIE meeting. With the lightening speed with which new technologies come on the radar screen, it's essential for all of us to work together. That's why all of the user group presidents have come together to drive the AUGIE process," says AMS Users Group president Bev Coats.Carriers are encouraged to share their long-term plans with their agents, to validate that agency business needs are being met by the selected technology solutions. It is important that agents' business needs are considered during the planning stage of vendors' products and carriers' Internet solutions to avoid a one-step forward, two-steps back approach to e-commerce.

"These open discussions will lead to a greater understanding of the impact their respective workflows and e-business strategies have on each other's organizations," says Gregory A. Maciag, president and CEO of ACORD. AUGIE is not intended to replace what user groups do for their members, nor is it a substitute for everyday vendor- or insurer-specific issues. Rather, it is intended to facilitate the goals that user groups have in common and ACORD has in common with them. The AMS User Group meeting was an opportunity to begin the process of setting this agenda.

Throughout the year, AUGIE will be meeting with the other user groups on an informal basis to reach these goals. The next AUGIE meeting is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 19, at the ACORD Technology Conference, followed by a meeting at the Ebix Users Association conference in June and again at the ASCnet annual meeting in October. You can learn more about these conferences by going to their Web sites; or, visit ACORD's site at

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