Insurance firms to publish results

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BY Tinashe Makichi
The Insurance and Pension Commission will soon require all insurance companies to publish
their financial statements.

IPEC commissioner Tendai Karonga yesterday said the move is aimed at instilling market
discipline as there will be transparency and disclosure.

“The commission, through the proposed amendments to the Insurance Act, will require that all insurance companies publish their financial statements, regardless of whether they are listed on the Zimbabwe Stock exchange or not.

“This will help in instilling market discipline since stakeholders will now be more informed and
will therefore punish insurers whose financial statements will not be depicting a good standing,”said Mr Karonga.

He said due to the harsh economic environment currently obtaining, the commission had
discovered that there were policyholders entering into arrangements to pay premiums in
instalments. However, in some instances the premiums are never remitted to insurance
companies.

Mr Karonga said insurance companies should therefore come up with policies whereby they
account for the premium debtors when they have a realistic chances of receiving the premiums.
“The commission has come up with a position whereby, for example, short-term insurance
companies are supposed to write o↥ premium debtors aged more than 90 days. Against this
background, we implore the accounting profession to always be on the lookout for treatment of premium debtors vis-à-vis regulatory requirements.

“This will ensure that regulated entities do not report “fictitious” assets, which create a false
sense of security to their customers,” said Mr Karonga.

He added that liabilities feeding into audited financial statements for insurance companies
should be actuarially determined.

Mr Karonga said the commission continues to note challenges in the market where actuarial
valuations are conducted only after an audit for insurance companies.

In extreme cases, he said the actuarial valuations are not even conducted, a situation which
casts doubt on the values of liabilities reported.

“We believe that under subdued economic conditions, actuarial valuations should be conducted annually. We recognise that this has cost implications but the cost of not doing actuarial valuations is higher,” he said.

Mr Karonga said the accounting profession also needs to interrogate valuation reports which
form the basis of figures reported by insurance companies. This is in view of the fact that some asset valuations are being conducted by unqualifed parties such as loss adjustors.

He said since the adoption of the multicurrency regime, IPEC has on a number of occasions
reviewed minimum capital requirements. In a bid to comply with the revised minimum capital requirements, some insurers have revalued their assets.

Mr Karonga said the situation is worsened if the revaluation is conducted by unqualifed and
convicted valuators. He said, when conducting audits, the accounting profession should be on
the lookout for such issues and report them to the commission.

Mr Karonga added that going forward insurers are now called to pro-actively conduct solvency self-assessments.

He said this will call for upskilling of the regulated entities themselves and the need for auditing firms to train their personnel on how to review the self-assessments.

Source: The Chronicle

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