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I&RS Celebrates 25 Years of Innovation, Support and Advancing the Insurance Industry

By Lauren Richard | 5 minute read | September 16, 2022

DTCC’s Insurance & Retirement Services (I&RS) business launched in 1997 with four major DTCC clients – two distributors, Edward Jones and Raymond James, and two carriers, Lincoln National Life and The Hartford. These clients, frustrated with time-consuming, manual processes, had approached DTCC to create a service for insurers to help them efficiently exchange data through a centralized, automated platform. The solution at the time was named the “Annuity Processing Service (APS),” and from those modest beginnings, the new platform revolutionized the way the insurance industry exchanged data.

Related: By the Numbers - Looking Back at 25 Years of DTCC's I&RS


Fast-forward 25 years, and I&RS today provides 14 innovative products that serve not only the annuities marketplace, but also addresses the complex life and insurance-based retirement income needs of clients.

“Historically, the insurance industry was deeply entrenched in inefficient, expensive and error-prone manual processes,” said Barb Smith, DTCC Executive Director and Head of Insurance & Retirement Services (I&RS). “Before I&RS, carriers and distributors were forced to manage all these tangled processes on their own, maintaining proprietary lines for each of their trading partners. Over the last 25 years, the industry has entrusted this work to us, allowing them to refocus on their business.”

Related: View a Timeline of DTCC's I&RS Modernization

The I&RS mission is ultimately helping clients improve efficiencies while reducing operational risks and costs. Today, I&RS is currently supporting over 550 clients, providing a robust infrastructure for the exchange of information throughout the entire insurance lifecycle. In 2021, DTCC’s I&RS processed over 15 billion total transactions representing $162.80 billion in settlement value.

I&RS’s Countdown: The Most Impactful Events from the Last 5 Years

5. Strategic Partnerships with AOE Vendors

DTCC’s I&RS has been focused on creating strategic partnerships within industry order entry (OE) groups critical to the annuity straight through processing (STP) lifecycle. These industry connections are important to enhancing the client experience and reducing risks. Some of I&RS most notable partnerships are with Ebix, iPipeline, and Insurance Technologies.

4. Total Processed Settlement Value Surpasses $100 Billion for the First Time

In 2018, DTCC’s I&RS shattered all records and surpassed $100 billion dollars in total processed settlement value. The year-end total processed settlement value was $109.30 billion dollars – and has only continued to grow since then, with the launch of carrier-to-carrier replacement settlement. Last year, in 2021, I&RS processed $162.80 billion dollars in total settlement value

“The sheer financial value of transactions that I&RS successfully processes speaks volumes of the efficiency and capability we provide to support the daily functions of the industry,” said Cory Stark, DTCC Senior Product Management Director, I&RS.

3. Supporting New Department of Labor (DOL) Regulation Changes

The insurance and retirement services industry came together in 2017 to agree on a standardized way of sharing fee and expense and commission schedule info. DTCC’s I&RS worked very closely with the industry to ensure that solutions would meet the regulatory requirements.

Even though the rule was eventually vacated by the courts, the functionality supporting the disclosure of important data for decision-making went live and is being used by clients today. I&RS will continue to support the industry for other future regulatory changes.

“I&RS has continued to collaborate with our clients to understand their business and technical needs regarding getting access to data, regulatory environment, and operational inefficiencies” said Jon Volpe, DTCC Senior Product Management Director, I&RS.

2. Digital Transformation During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the entire financial services industry but was keenly felt by insurance and retirement services with the need for accelerating the adoption of e-signatures and heightened discussions of other e-solutions.

Throughout the pandemic, DTCC’s I&RS worked flawlessly, with no disruption of service to clients – even with staff working from home. This reliability stemmed mostly from I&RS’s established technology, which was already in place to cover e-signatures and other e-solutions.

Additionally, I&RS published a whitepaper regarding data risks and best practices that highlights risky-data sharing behaviors, shifts in data exchange models and the costs and consequences of breaches and cyberattacks, all of which became more exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As the world returns to a more hopeful ‘business as usual,’ I&RS will continue to advocate for digital transformation in the industry,” said Jamie Taylor, Director of Senior Product Management, I&RS.

1. The Launch of IIEX in 2021

In collaboration with their clients, I&RS developed and launched the Insurance Information Exchange (IIEX), a centralized data hub for the sourcing and consumption of insurance data.

“The idea for IIEX came from I&RS’ goal of reimagining and modernizing the insurance and retirement services environment by delivering innovative methods in which data is sourced, consumed, and transacted,” said Jeanann Smith, Director of Senior Product Management, I&RS.

With advanced capabilities like purpose-driven API integrations, support for every stage of the insurance product lifecycle, the revolutionary Data Completeness Score (DCS) and improved access to data through transparency with Commission Schedule (CST) and Fee & Expense (FET), IIEX is on a path to redefine industry standards as the main data hub, a modern alternative to large batch files.

What the Future Holds

“We are proud of DTCC’s achievements over the past quarter century, and proud to have the opportunity to collaborate hand-in-hand with clients, partners and the industry every day,” said Ann Bergin Managing Director & General Manager, Wealth Management Services and Asset Services at DTCC. “The landscape of the insurance and retirement services industry is still growing and evolving, and we look forward to the innovation that is to come.”

To learn more about I&RS’s products and services, visit our website or fill out a contact us form.