When a child enters the hospital or a hurricane destroys a city or a family breadwinner unexpectedly dies, the insurance industry steps in to ensure a financial recovery. It’s a tremendous responsibility, and in order to respond insurers must operate on a foundation of strength, stability and integrity.
In the face of these ever-growing business challenges and public scrutiny, it’s time for insurers to take compliance to the next level, according to Glenn Pomeroy, vice president of Governmental Relations and Compliance at GE Insurance Solutions. Pomeroy addressed The 2nd Annual Forum on Regulatory Compliance in New York on Wednesday.
Pomeroy, a former NAIC president and state Insurance commissioner, outlined the components of a traditional compliance program: leadership commitment, employee engagement and a system to detect potential problems, address them and ensure ethical and lawful behavior.
“Traditional world-class compliance has served companies well, but in today’s environment it’s not enough to be vigilant and corrective,” said Pomeroy. “We must anticipate the unanticipated. Challenge all norms.”
Pomeroy offered a description of a GE Insurance Solutions initiative called “Challenge All Industry Norms.”
“‘Challenge All Industry Norms’ is an integrated governance, compliance and risk program focusing on enterprise risk management,” he said. “It’s anticipatory rather than reactive. It’s driving a culture where every employee must ask themselves questions such as ‘Is there anything in my daily job that I would not be comfortable having customers watch me do?'”
Pomeroy continued: “Companies must question long-standing practices and procedures, analyze emerging risks and identify possible ethical gray areas. It extends beyond traditional boundaries to include operational, legal, financial and reputation risk.”
“Challenge All Industry Norms”, or CAIN, is built on a framework that involves identifying potential risks, taking corrective action and monitoring the risk. Pomeroy said it means anticipating changes in markets and legal environments as well as anticipating how requirements of customers and policyholders might change in the near future.
Pomeroy concluded: “In this period of intensified scrutiny of the insurance industry, we felt this was a time to challenge ourselves and the industry norms of the past, and we’ve really ramped up our internal process to encourage an environment of transparency.”
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