New regulations spur insurer concerns

Market conduct is keeping insurers up at night, according to a survey released today by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services. The survey of almost 300 insurance organizations indicated high-level concerns with privacy and data protection, electronic business transactions, as well as changes to state rate and form filing requirements.

Sixty-two percent of insurers expressed concern regarding the ability to maintain compliance with changing regulations. And nearly 60 percent named the ability to keep track of changing regulations and the ability to demonstrate compliance to regulators as major concerns. The survey found health insurers almost twice as likely to worry about healthcare reform as other insurers.

The study also found 28 percent have an adequate strategic enterprise risk management program in place at their organization. When managing risk at the organizational level, top risks include regulatory pressures and too many technological systems that are not yet integrated.

"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," Pam Ewing, general manager of Wolters Kluwer Financial Services' Insurance Compliance Solutions, said in a statement.

Financial executives, including those in the health insurance industry, are spending significantly more time on risk management concerns throughout their companies. "If you asked me three years ago, I'd probably say very little. Now I'm spending a lot more time on risk management and those associated activities," said Michel Palmateer, senior vice president of finance at New York health insurer Emblem Health, FierceCFO previously reported.

Insurers are facing new IRS obligations under the Affordable Care Act that could significantly affect their profits, reported Forbes, including the excise tax on insurance companies and a new 1095-B tax form.

To learn more:
- here's the Wolters Kluwer Financial Services report (.pdf) and announcement
- read the Forbes article