ICP 1: Conditions for Effective Insurance Supervision

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1 A Core Curriculum for Insurance Supervisors ICP 1: Conditions for Effective Insurance Supervision Teaching Note

2 Copyright 2006 International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS). All rights reserved. The material in this module is copyrighted. It may be used for training by competent organizations with permission. Please contact the IAIS to seek permission. This teaching note was prepared by Donald McIsaac. Mr. McIsaac joined the World Bank in 1993 as senior insurance specialist, working with client countries on reform of their social security systems, promotion of private pension and insurance sectors, and development of regulation and supervision. He has been involved in the Financial Sector Assessment Program, developing practices for assessments and conducting more than 20 assessments of the insurance and pension sectors. Prior to joining the World Bank, he served as director general in charge of supervision of life insurance companies in Canada for 15 years and, for part of that time, as acting deputy superintendent of financial institutions for Canada, with responsibility for supervising all types of private pension and insurance activities. His professional activities include extensive participation in the work of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, including three years on the Executive Committee. He participated in international discussions organized by the Bank for International Settlements to review issues related to the supervision of financial conglomerates. His private sector experience as an actuary was with life insurance companies in Canada and the United States.

3 ICP 1: Conditions for Effective Insurance Supervision Teaching Note Introduction In many matters, the insurance supervisor will be obliged to take the lead in promoting the development and adoption of best practices in the areas that are identified as preconditions. While many of the factors are outside the control of the supervisor, the supervisor may nevertheless take an active role in their development and evolution. When a shortcoming is identified, the supervisor can use the authority of the office of supervision to begin a dialogue with affected parties and with those persons who are in a position to make changes. External experts can be invited to provide advice and training. Seminars can be held to sensitize key parties to any problems or shortcomings and their potential impact on consumers and the economy, as well as to the steps that will have to be taken to remedy those problems. The process will likely involve persuading industry players, independent professionals, and public officials (such as the minister of finance) as to the proper course of action. Context The following notes are written to help you to deliver a seminar on this module. The module may be covered in a half-day seminar (a short version providing an overview) or a full-day seminar (covering all the learning objectives and providing more hands-on activities).

4 Insurance Supervision Core Curriculum Participants If the seminar involves financial supervisors from different jurisdictions, participants would be ideally from the top three levels of management in the supervisory office that is, those persons who would normally be intimately involved in setting supervisory objectives and policies. Staff of the ministry of finance who are involved with financial regulation or legislation could also attend. Other potential participants include supervisors in the insurance, securities, banking, pensions, and associated financial service sectors. Advance preparation Participants should be strongly encouraged to read the module in advance of the seminar. The questions included in the text should assist the participants as they review the material independently. Proposed solutions at the end of the module will provide the serious participant with ample food for thought when dealing with the types of problems raised by the sample questions. Participants should be asked to write down three to five points that they want to discuss, clarify, or with which they differ. Points to make in a presentation The existence of appropriate legislation is essential, and the supervisor will have no authority until basic legislation is in place. However, it often happens that the legislation that initially emerges does not embody all the best practices of insurance regulation and supervision. The supervisor will then be obliged to take the initiative to identify gaps and shortcomings in the regulatory system and even in the legislation. These gaps will be apparent after a comparison with international best practices and with the operating practices of insurance companies already active in the country. The supervisor will then have to begin a campaign of training and sensitization, through the use of seminars and the drafting of materials, in order to convince all the players legislators, insurance company executives, and the general public to endorse the modifications to the legal system that the supervisor considers necessary. Unfortunately, this is not a straightforward process. Legislators in all countries have a very full agenda, and it will always be challenging to focus their attention on matters relating to insurance. Supervisors in some countries have found that external forces can be helpful. For example, when a country has been the subject of a Financial Sector Assessment, the recommendations concerning insurance can be very helpful in prompting policymakers and legislators to adopt necessary changes to the laws and regulations. Countries considering accession to the European Union have reported similar

5 ICP 1: Conditions for Effective Insurance Supervision (Teaching Note) consequences from the pre-accession reviews. Fortunately, many useful changes can be implemented by supervisors who enjoy the full support of their cabinet ministers. This support will facilitate many changes that can be made through the adoption of regulations and guidelines, without having to seek amendments to basic legislation. Approach and resource materials The seminar should provide a combination of presentation, small group interaction, feedback, and plenary discussion. Participants lose concentration without regular changes in mode of presentation and activity. You should encourage participants to ask questions and to give examples of cases in which shortcomings in the conditions for effective supervision gave rise to problems. You should offer similar examples throughout the presentation as well. Group discussion The following exercise is offered for group discussion in a seminar setting. This exercise is written in very broad language, in order to allow the group to identify many issues that this exercise raises. You have just been appointed insurance supervisor. Your office is housed in the Ministry of Finance but is not part of a consolidated supervisory authority. Your only responsibility is insurance. The newly elected government has stated its intention to terminate the state monopoly on insurance and to allow foreign companies to operate within your borders. Several well-known established companies have expressed interest. Although there are no professional organizations for either actuaries or accountants in your country, the national university has a highly regarded faculty of mathematics, and you have heard talk of proposals to begin offering a degree in business or commerce. List some actions you might take and recommendations you will present to the minister. The following are some of the points that should emerge in a discussion: An office needs to be established, with sufficient numbers of competent staff. The commerce program in the university perhaps could produce good candidates. The supervisor could be pro-active and encourage the university to develop key professionals. A licensing program should be established for new companies. Policy decisions are required regarding the role of foreigners and domestic companies.

6 Insurance Supervision Core Curriculum It is important to submit recommendations to the minister concerning the state monopoly. For example, you could recommend splitting the monopoly into several companies and selling them to private investors. There are other options. A program is needed for monitoring and supervising new companies that will be licensed, including minimum capital rules, financial reporting standards, and so forth.

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