Introduction to CIECA Standards

CIECA has developed a suite of standards designed to address specific business needs or use cases. CIECA Standards are organized by use cases, which we call 'services' and may include one or more 'messages' that comprise the use case. Each is designed to support the workflows and data unique to a specific business process.

Types of CIECA Standards

CIECA was founded in 1994 to solve a specific business problem—the exchange of estimate data across estimating platforms. Over the years, the standards have grown to encompass all facets of collision industry workflows and processes. As technology has evolved, CIECA has evolved with it, developing standards that meet the needs of the industry. 


The BMS (Business Message Suite) is a suite of standards that address a wide number of business processes. The BMS is XML-based and includes data dictionaries, code lists, schemas and supporting documentation for a number of business processes.


The EMS (Estimate Management Standard) was the first CIECA standard and designed to address a single use case—the export of an estimate. The EMS is a dBase4 format that transmits the full content of an estimate in the form of a database record. 


CIECA API Standards (CAPIS) are currently in development to provide JSON-based standards for today's business needs. As new CIECA API standards are published, they will be available here and organized by their corresponding use case.

Key Concepts

CIECA Standards are organized in a hierarchal fashion. The graphic above illustrates a simplified explanation of how the BMS Standard is structured using two services (Assignment and Estimate) as examples. A more detailed explanation of each level is provided below.

Note: There are actually 16 services in the BMS; each service consists of between 2-12 messages. Each message has a corresponding Implementation Guide.


CIECA Standards are organized by 'services.' Each service represents a use case or workflow. Examples of services are: 

  • Assignment: The process of assigning a task / activity to another party. (Example: An insurance company assigns an appraisal request to a DRP shop.)
  • Procurement: The process of searching, quoting and procuring parts & services. (Example: A body shop orders parts from a distributor.)
  • Valuation: The process of assessing the value of a vehicle. (Example: An insurance company requests a valuation of a possible total loss.)

Services are the core of the CIECA Standards. The first step in working with CIECA Standards is to identify the service(s) that support the needs of your integration project.

Services are comprised of messages that define the specific elements of a data exchange.  

For a complete list of all supported services, see CIECA 102 - Intro to Services.
For more information on the structure of a service, see CIECA 103 - Anatomy of a Service.


Services consist of a collection of messages. You can think of a message as part of a conversation. Two or more messages are required to complete a dialog. A basic set of messages will include an 'Add' request message to initiate a transaction and a 'Response' message to acknowledge receipt.

For example, Company A sends an 'Assignment Add Request' message to Company B. Company B then returns an 'Assignment Response' message to Company A to acknowledge receipt of the message.

Services can contain between 2-12 messages depending on the complexity and sub-processes within a use case.

For more information, see CIECA 103 - Anatomy of a Service.

Implementation Guides

Each message contains an Implementation Guide that serves as a home page for the message. The first step in working with a Message is to review the Implementation Guide to identify details about the message and links to appropriate documentation.

If there are variances across different industry segments, they will be identified by the use case.