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Frequently Asked Questions


  • What is a data feed?

    A data feed is used for transferring data from one system to another in a predetermined form. CLIEDIS data standards are all considered data feeds for the purposes of transferring information between systems.

  • What is CITS?

    CITS (Canadian Insurance Transaction Standards) are a subset of the ACORD standard defined for a specific business function.  It establishes an unambiguous set of requirements and data elements that must be followed.

    CLIEDIS Standards are published as CITS Implementation Guides.

  • What are the top priorities for implementing CITS feeds?

    At this time, CLIEDIS's top concern is supporting distributors by getting them the information needed to manage their book of business. To do this efficiently, CLIEDIS has defined three feeds that correlate with one another to ensure that a complete snapshot of the distributors' business is available to them. These include: 

          Application Notification

    The Application Notification feed provides a distributor with a timely notification of an application submission so they are in a position to manage the case properly through the new business process.  It can support both paper and electronic applications.

    This is defined as part of the CITS Base Policy Feed Implementation Guide.

    CITS Pending Feed

    The CITS Pending Feed is used after the application is received in order to update case status and update information regarding outstanding requirements.

    This is defined in the CITS Pending Feed Implementation Guide.

    Book of Business

    The Book of Business feed defines the data needed to set up and track a policy throughout its life and takes into account the tracking of critical events including the status of the policy, changes in servicing agents, and notifications of business transferring in or out of a distributor's office so that the record is maintained correctly.  

    This is defined as part of the CITS Base Policy Feed Implementation Guide. 

  • What is 'FAWG'?

    FAWG, the Feed Adoption Working Group, is a group comprised of CLIEDIS member distributors and their trading partners to support adoption of the CITS data feeds available today.  Their focus is to maximize usage and impact of the CITS feeds available in their offices as well as identify what additional data, support will help them improve their business processes.  

  • What happened to the Base Policy for Inforce Feed? Why was it renamed 'Book of Business'?

    Base Policy for Inforce is now the Book of Business Feed.

    This CITS feed was designed so that carriers can provide distributors with an accurate and maintainable depiction of the book of business they are responsible for.

    The use of the word "inforce" in the name was a misnomer, because the feed accounts for more than just inforce policies. In fact, it includes:

    • Inforce Policies
    • Out of Force Policies
    • Orphans
    • Agent changes
    • Distributor changes

    We changed the name to better reflect its content.  

  • What is the purpose of the data security schedule developed by CLIEDIS?

    CLIEDIS has developed a standard set of data protection requirements that can be applied to all confidential data received by trading partners across the industry.  The data security schedule provides:

    • carriers with an industry validated set of terms based on today's technologies to use with their trading partners
    • data receivers with a single set of requirements that they must comply to that is common for all trading partners.
  • Is the data security schedule a legal contract?

    No, the schedule is not considered a legal contract nor is CLIEDIS is not providing legal advice. The security schedule can be used as part of a separate legal agreement that is in place between trading partners. It is up to the trading partners to conduct their own legal review of the schedule in accordance with their own requirements. 

  • Will CLIEDIS be doing security assessments of its members to ensure adherence to the data security schedule?

    CLIEDIS will not doing any security assessments. It is up to the trading partners to ensure that the requirements are adhered to. 

  • Do I need to be a member to use the CITS standards?

    Technically, you do not need to be a CLIEDIS member to use the CITS standards. The CLIEDIS CITS Implementation Guides are publicly available and freely distributable between trading partners.  However, supporting documentation necessary for building a feed is not.

    The guides are public so that implementers can utilize them in their communication with their trading partners to explain what information is being sent.

    But without the collateral material available to CLIEDIS members, attempting to develop a CITS data feed will be difficult, if not impossible.    

  • Why do we need Standards?

    CLIEDIS data standards provide a consistent way to capture and exchange information electronically.  It allows all companies receiving information from multiple sources to receive the information the same way.  It reduces time and costs to update systems sending and receiving the data. It allows companies creating the data to send the information in one way, in a predefined format with a single set of requirements, removing the need to figure out what should be sent.  

    The use of CLIEDIS data standards supports greater automation in the life and health insurance industry and significantly expands the amount of information available in computer systems that receive the information. The ability to easily retrieve and utilize such information supports compliance, simplifies the management process and makes it easier to identify new sales opportunities.

  • I am a distributor, my vendor is already a member. Doesn't that cover my needs already?

    The key to the success of data exchange is that the business needs of the user are addressed. In this case, the distributor is the user.  

    You, as distributor, are encouraged to be  actively involved  in every initiative to ensure your needs and  priorities are addressed as part of the solution.  

    We help you assess and mitigate issues in the information you are (or not) receiving, which may be the carrier's issue or may be how your vendor's system interprets it. Only CLIEDIS has the knowledge and neutrality to expose the underlying problem. 

    Your Membership dues fund the work necessary to ensure data exchange standards work for you and also meet the needs of the industry. This funding ensures resources are available to help you in your implementations.   

  • How does using CLIEDIS data standards differentiate my business as a distributor?

    Data standards are simply a way for getting at the information you need from all your carrier partners in a consistent and reliable format. This allows you to create efficiencies in your business unobtainable otherwise. With the data, you can manage your business effectively and proactively support your advisors and their clients.
    You will be in a position to help case managers get business placed quicker, automate manual processes and evaluate your inforce book of business and customer data for compliance issues and to identify sales opportunities.

  • How does sending and receiving data help meet compliance obligations?

    Both carriers and distributors have compliance obligations. Distributors that are receiving electronic data from carriers have information at their fingertips about insurance policies that have been applied for and that have been sold. Only the distributor can review client portfolios and assess compliance issues that cross multiple carriers.  Carriers that are sending data are enabling their partners to address compliance obligations for their block of business.  Ultimately, the carrier cannot hold a distributor accountable for compliance if they are not providing the necessary information.

  • Why doesn’t everyone get on board?

    Not everyone recognizes yet that implementation is part of today’s cost of doing business. It’s easier to just keep doing things the way you’ve always done them. It is difficult to directly track savings and benefits. What we do know is that carriers and distributors using CLIEDIS data standards, that have been implemented correctly, are improving their businesses in real ways. CLIEDIS data standards lowers your risk of non-compliance, saves money and gives you a competitive advantage.

  • How can we find out about the difference CLIEDIS standards would make for our company?

    Contact us to set up a time to discuss your particular situation and the business case for implementing standards.

  • How does CLIEDIS decide what projects to work on?

    The CLIEDIS Executive Committee reviews ongoing work and potential projects on an ongoing basis.   Decisions are made based on industry priorities and the availability of CLIEDIS and member resources.  

    All projects are based on the following guiding principles:

    • Focus on what is common to the industry without impacting companies' abilities to build and maintain their competitive advantages
    • Improve cycle time 
    • Provide easier access to information
    • Ensure consistent view of data
    • Reduce manual intervention processes and reducing expenses
    • Facilitate compliance 
    • Utilize industry standards when possible
    • Keep it simple
    • Stay on the outside of the black box
  • Does it really make a difference when we agree on a single data standard rather than develop our own constructs for transferring information?

    Yes. By agreeing upon a single data standard, the system receiving the data is able to establish a single process for reading the data from many different senders.  This means you can trust that the same information is presented the same way.  Codes mean the same thing and information is interpreted consistently.

    Standard data feeds eliminate the need for a sender to determine the data requirements needed, their format or configuration. This work has already been done. 

  • Does sending data feeds in proprietary format create competitive advantage?

    Absolutely not! Today’s business partners and customers have no patience for file formats that cannot be instantly viewed regardless of their system’s platform or applications. In fact, proprietary feeds {or no feeds} puts a company at a competitive disadvantage because it makes them that much more difficult to do business with.

  • What if I don't want CLIEDIS dictating business processes within my company?

    CLIEDIS does not dictate changes in business processes.  While a review of business processes is recommended as part of any systems development project, CLIEDIS’s focus is on what is common to the industry without impacting any company’s abilities to build and maintain their competitive advantage.

    All CLIEDIS data feeds are based on the same standard so once the first feed is developed, additional feeds are that much easier since the common parts are unchanged across all data feeds.  

  • What is the connection between CLIEDIS and ACORD standards?

    CLIEDIS data standards are based on the internationally recognized ACORD standards for the global life and health insurance industry. Since 2000, the ACORD standards have used XML (eXtensible Markup Language), a language that has stood the test of time. CLIEDIS, in consultation with Canadian health and life insurance industry stakeholders, ensures the ACORD standards fit the context of the Canadian industry. It means they are more specific and relevant to your day-to-day work. 

  • What is CLIEDIS' relationship with ACORD?

    ACORD (Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development) is a global, non-profit organization serving the insurance and related industries.  CLIEDIS supports the use of ACORD standards and assures future development meets the requirements of CLIEDIS members. 

    ACORD performs the activities as a global standards organization focusing on all of the needs of the global insurance industry. CLIEDIS supports the activities of companies using the ACORD standards within the borders of Canada, representing Canadian specific needs to ACORD. Only ACORD standards information that is publicly available is distributed directly to CLIEDIS members. 

    CLIEDIS encourages companies that use ACORD standards outside of Canada to independently seek membership with ACORD so that their cross-border and global needs are addressed.
    To find out more about ACORD, visit www.acord.org

  • What happened to eData?

    The eData initiative was a cooperative effort between CLIEDIS member carriers, distributors and technology providers to develop a consistent, standardized approach for electronic communications for the Canadian life and health insurance industry that began in 2011 and completed in 2012.   

    eData focused on communication improvement opportunities for both the carrier-distributor relationship from new business through the lifespan of a policy as well as with third parties involved in the new business process. The approach focused on defining and implementing standards for solving the communication gaps and capitalized on the internet for delivery.  

    In 2012, recommendations were made to participating companies to correct issues with CITS feeds.  This included recommendations to carriers with the data they were sending and technology providers with how they were processing the data.

    As a result of the work done with eData, the CLIEDIS approval process was enhanced to include a more detailed review of the data.