- The US Department of Labor (DOL) issued a report on its inspection of 2011 employee benefit plan audits, Assessing the Quality of Employee Benefit Plan Audits. The report is quite troubling as the DOL found a deficiency rate that is too high for such an important element of the system to protect participants in employee benefit plans.
- Recent activity by regulators shows an increased focus on cybersecurity in the insurance industry. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has published its Principles for Effective Cybersecurity Insurance Regulatory Guidance. In addition, the New York Department of Financial Services (NY DFS) recently released guidance for New York insurance organizations with their Report on Cybersecurity in the Insurance Sector.
- Within the last several months, two significant insurance organizations have announced greater involvement in initiatives to reduce cybersecurity risk throughout the insurance industry. The New York State Department of Financial Services (NY DFS) released the results of its survey on cybersecurity practices and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recently adopted a set of cybersecurity regulatory principles.
- Large companies have been forming captive insurance companies (captives) to self-insure their risks since the 1950’s. In general, these captives were formed to lower insurance costs, provide access to the reinsurance market, and cover exposures where there are gaps in the commercial market. When congress enacted section 831(b) of the Internal Revenue code in 1986, it was intended to extend the benefits of self-insurance, from large publicly traded companies to smaller middle market closely held business entities.
- The demands on the internal audit departments of insurance organizations have increased significantly in recent years as technology advances, regulation becomes more rigorous, new risks emerge, and companies seek more business insights. Internal audit plays a crucial role in providing assurance on an organization’s governance, risk management, and control processes to help achieve strategic, operational, and financial objectives while balancing compliance objectives and expectations from regulators. Internal audit departments need to leverage an understanding of insurance industry trends, feedback from leadership, and available public information to add value to the organization – to optimize internal audit value.
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