Insurers’ Concerns over New and Changing Requirements Remain Steady

Waltham, MA - 26 March 2014

Market Conduct, Privacy, Filing Requirements among Top Concerns in Wolters Kluwer Financial Services’ New Insurance Regulatory and Risk Management Indicator 

Market conduct exams topped the list of concerns among all respondents to Wolters Kluwer Financial Services’ new U.S. Insurance Regulatory and Risk Management Indicator. In the report released today, seventy-five percent of those surveyed indicated a significant level of concern with exams, while concern with privacy and data protection, electronic business transactions, changes to state rate and form filing requirements, and consumer complaint compliance increased as well.

The ability to maintain compliance with changing regulations was the number one overall concern U.S. insurers are losing sleep over at night, with sixty-two percent of respondents rating their level of concern as a 7 or higher. The ability to keep track of changing regulations and the ability to demonstrate to regulators that they were in compliance were also top worries for nearly sixty percent of respondents.

The Main Indicator score fell to 96 from its baseline of 100 established in Q4 2013. Concern overall remained steady, however each of the industry metrics used to calculate the Indicator declined, resulting in an overall slightly lower rating. The cyclical nature of state by state variations in enforcement action timing was a notable contributing factor driving the small decline, along with an uptick in confidence in the surveyed carriers’ ability to manage risk broadly across the organization.

Twenty eight percent of respondents indicated they have an adequate strategic enterprise risk management program in place at their organization. At the same time there was significant rise in respondents citing “regulatory pressures” and “too many technological systems that are not integrated” as top obstacles to managing risk at the organizational level. As the effective date for Own Risk Solvency Assessment requirements draws closer, the strategic enterprise risk management programs at these carriers are going to be tested.  This survey data points to potential vulnerabilities in the risk management framework at these organizations.

The company’s insurance Indicator measures 10 critical factors to provide a regulatory and risk management “pain indicator.” Seven of these revolve around direct input from life, health and property and casualty insurers on their top compliance and risk management concerns and three of which are based on regulatory data the company compiles.

“The steady levels of concern illustrated by the Indicator data provides us with a look into the challenges to U.S. insurance carriers heading into the most active time of year for regulatory enforcement actions,” said Pam Ewing, general manager of Wolters Kluwer Financial Services’ Insurance Compliance Solutions. “Moreover, the indicator suggests that organizations face a very real challenge not only to stay abreast of rapid regulatory changes but in establishing processes and, importantly, in developing an understanding of the true risk picture.”

Wolters Kluwer Financial Services also released its U.S. Banking Indicator on March 17, which rose to 121 from a baseline score of 100 in January 2013. Driving the increase were mounting pressures in all seven of the Indicator’s compliance and risk management factor categories along with more than $8 billion in new regulatory fines and settlements at the federal level in the last quarter of 2013.   

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