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How to automate ACORD form intake using OCR and Impira AutoML

Stop manually entering data from ACORD forms. Humans are slow, error-prone, and expensive. It’s time to automate your document-heavy insurance business processes using optical character recognition (OCR) and automated machine learning (AutoML) technology from Impira. Your customers will thank you.


Today’s insurance landscape

Insurance companies remain heavily reliant on paper-based, manual processes, even as consumer expectations shift around them. In the post-COVID-19 world, Insurance companies now realize they must prioritize AI-powered automation if they wish to compete on customer satisfaction.

Many of the time-consuming administrative processes in Insurance involve handling ACORD forms to capture customer input. ACORD forms are governed by a nonprofit organization called the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development. ACORD forms and certificates are used by 90% of property and casualty insurance carriers in the U.S.  Examples include:

  • 25 – Certificate of Liability Insurance.
  • 27 – Evidence of Property.
  • 125 – Commercial Insurance Application.
  • 126 – Commercial General Liability Section.
  • 127 – Business Auto Section.
  • 130 – Workers Compensation.
  • 131 – Umbrella Section.

For a full list of available ACORD forms, see here.

Even in 2021, Insurance companies are receiving these ACORD documents via email, fax, and snail mail. Personnel must devote much of their time to manually typing this information into some computer software. To alleviate this pain, many companies have attempted to use traditional OCR technology, only to find that this legacy technology (with no AI intelligence) creates so many errors that they revert back to doing things by hand.

Impira AutoML technology combines OCR with artificial intelligence and machine learning to fully realize the dream of document automation. With Impira, you can easily turn your ACORD forms into business ready data in seconds. Unlike OCR of the past, Impira AutoML learns from mistakes, continuously improving performance and data quality.

Impira AutoML can be trained to learn any ACORD form or any other kind of document used by your business in just a few clicks. How? Impira AutoML does not rely on pre-trained models. We provide an easy-to-use interface where users can upload a few document samples and highlight the text they’d like to extract. Our system will learn from your highlighting interactions and immediately output the results. Let’s give it a try using the ACORD 25 Certificate of Liability Insurance form. If you have some examples handy, feel free to use your own. Otherwise, you can download samples from here.

Business ROI for automatic ACORD form processing

Impira dramatically reduces the amount of time and effort required to process documents. With Impira, teams can get more work done in a shorter amount of time. This results in cost savings to the business. Additionally, faster processing times are proven to boost customer satisfaction. This translates into higher revenue and reduced customer churn.

Impira AutoML approach to document processing means that there are many more use cases that can be solved within your insurance organization than the one described above — from electronic payment authorization, to contract change request, lab reports, withdrawal forms, and more. Give it a try on your own by walking through the steps outlined below.

Step 1: Sign up for a free Impira account

If you haven’t already done so, head on over to to create your free account. 

Step 2: Create a new collection

Once you’ve logged in to Impira, start by creating a collection, which is like a folder that holds files with the same layouts and data fields. 

Click the + symbol in the left-hand sidebar next to Collections and give it a name like "ACORD 25."

Step 3: Upload your ACORD forms

Click on your newly created collection in the left sidebar. 

Drag and drop the rest of your sample ACORD 25 forms onto the browser.

Tip: There are several other ways to upload files into Impira. You can also:

Your files will immediately begin processing. When complete, you will see that each file has its own row in the table, as shown below.

Step 4: Train an AutoML model to understand ACORD 25 forms

Double-click on the first file to begin. Let’s start by extracting the “Contact Name” field. 

  1. On the document itself, click or highlight the contact’s first name. 
  2. On the right-hand side bar, name this field “Contact Name."
  3. Close the interface by clicking the X in the top-right corner, and you’ll see that a new “Contact Name” column was automatically added to your spreadsheet.

Notice the spinner in the column header. This indicates that the Impira AutoML is updating the model in real time. It then immediately applies this learning to all of the documents in your collection. In just a few seconds, we can see the contact name for every ACORD 25 form we uploaded.

Step 5: Fine-tuning Impira

Some cells may initially be blank, or have a colored flag displayed on the left side of the cell. This flag color is a visual confidence indicator of Impira AutoML’s prediction. A green marker indicates high confidence, and a red flag suggests that you review this prediction.

Because Impira AutoML is a continuously learning system, you can boost these confidence levels by confirming correct information or correcting misidentified information. These affirmations increase Impira AutoML’s accuracy by teaching it what you want it to do. The more it learns, the more you’ll see red flags turning green. Read more about how reviewing your predictions custom-tailors Impira to your needs.

Double-click a red-flagged cell and take a look to see if Impira AutoML identified the right information you want. Click the check mark on the right-hand side if it’s correct.

Sometimes, Impira AutoML will misidentify a piece of information (e.g., accidentally highlight the wrong address). Easily correct this by clicking the X in the right-hand sidebar and use your mouse to redraw a box around the correct address.

Adding more fields

At this point, you will likely want to add some more fields to collect the remaining information on the ACORD form. Go ahead and repeat the above steps to add fields such as Phone, Email, Producer, Insured, NAIC #, etc. Here are a few extra tips:

Tip 1: For multi-line text, click and drag outside of the text to draw a box:

Tip 2: Similarly, for checkboxes, draw a box around the checkbox itself (and not the text adjacent to it). On the right-hand sidebar, set the “Type” drop-down to “Checkbox extraction.”

Tip 3: For dates and numbers, set the data type accordingly. This will give our algorithms an additional hint that will lead to higher confidence levels faster.

As you add these additional fields, the number of columns in your table will grow.

Export your data

You’re at the finish line. You’ve pulled out all the data you need and you’ve made all the confirmations and corrections to see all red flags turn green, indicating high confidence. You have a few options for exporting your data:

Option 1: Export via CSV

Click Download in the top-right corner and select As CSV.

Option 2: Access your data via API or IQL

You can also access your data through an API, and you have the option of utilizing Impira Query Language (IQL) to query specific data, giving you as much control and flexibility you need over your data. This document will also show you how to utilize a Poll API.

And if you're feeling a bit more adventurous, you can always connect a webhook with Impira.

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