The Insurance Companies Were Forced By Regulation to Present Their Balances on a Diskette
After examining the work of the National Superintendence of Insurance, the AGN informed about this and other "outdated procedures," which include the manual loading of data and the "risks of making mistakes." In the records of the entity, information is missing from 17 companies. In 2008 they created a control committee that met only twice in seven years.
According to a report from the General Audits Office (AGN, for its acronym in Spanish), the Federal Government has a group in charge of supervising the insurance and reinsurance market. This is because "outdated procedures" continue to the point of demanding the companies that provide these services to present their balance sheets on a diskette.
It is the National Insurance Superintendence, and the requirement mentioned above even appeared in regulation in force since April 2010.
The work of the AGN, approved this year on data from 2013, indicates that the office of the Superintendence that deals with analyzing the balance sheets of insurers is the Management of Evaluations that, precisely, performs "several operations manually through spreadsheets in Excel." Such as "Minimum Capital calculations, analysis of excess coverage and the balances of the main items of the Financial Statements, among others."
On these tasks, the Audit continued "they are outdated," and include a "corresponding risk of making mistakes, using large amounts of man-hours that cannot be used for other activities."
The head of the Evaluation Management told the auditors, at the time of their investigation, that the office obtained "33 indicators with the information received, but they cannot be used efficiently. This is because they can only be consulted by a company or by indicator, not allowing, for example, a comparison between similar entities."
In the Superintendency's defense, it is stated that "an intranet system that combines all the digital information of Management" is already in operation, which will be subject to "analysis in future audits" for the AGN.
Also, the group reviewed clarified that after the approval of the report it was decided that the presentation of the balance sheets of the insurers "be made online, via Sinensup," referring to the web section of the Superintendence in which the firms can insert their data.
The Controlled Universe
On the other hand, the Audit revealed that the number of insurance companies that the Superintendence can audit amounts to 187 and that in the entity there is a Procedure Manual with the parameters to be taken into account to select which of those firms should be reviewed.
Nonetheless, and regardless of the decisions made about what the Manual says, the current regulations state that all companies will be inspected at least once in a three year period.
The AGN detected that some ten companies "have not been inspected in the last 36 months, as is required by current regulations." Some of these companies include Royal & Sun Alliance, La Perseverancia, IAPSER, Mañana SA, HSBC NYC Retirement, HSBC NYC Vida, Level Insurance, Sumicli Mutual Association, El Progreso and El Comercio.
Of the inspections that were made, the Audit recalls, for example, that "the Regularization and Sanitation Plan approved in 2013 was submitted (by ART Province) out of term and without evidence of complaint" by the Superintendence. Regarding Antarctica Argentina Insurance Company, it is added that "the company shows in its Financial Statements deficit of coverage and minimum capital in the year 2013, for which there is no corresponding Regularization Plan approved, nor sanctions applied."
In its role as auditor, the Superintendence receives grievances, such as those made by the producers. The survey states: "The main reasons for complaints were delays or absences in the collection submissions; replacement of the cash received by the Producer from (part of) its clients as premium installments of the policies issued by the entity; undue retentions of premiums by the producer, among others. These observations - continues the AGN - although they caused their equal sanction, the organization does not observe the existence of a preventive mechanism, such as banking in the collection of fees."
Another aspect that caught the attention of the Audit was the delay of some management of the entity analyzed when processing files. In fact, an average delay of 321 days was observed. Also, the report warned about the "lack of response from the Superintendence" before the request for authorization from companies to "maintain operational accounts abroad," and added: "Some files do not have a complete follow-up table, and the file of the proceedings is missing."
Someone Think of the Insured
The Superintendence approved a Strategic Insurance Plan 2012-2020 that aims to strengthen the area and provide more and more services to users.
The AGN says that one of the first actions of the Plan was to update the regulations that allow the so-called Department of Guidance and Assistance to the Insured (DOAA) to be disseminated, especially concerning the doubts and complaints of the companies' clients.
At the same time, it points out that one of the activities imposed on the DOAA was to create a register that includes the address, name of the owner and several other data of the companies.
In effect, the Superintendence website currently includes a tab with the list in question. The issue is that the AGN took the trouble to review the registry and realized that, of the 187 existing entities, 17 that did not have any data, eight did not issue a policy -some for more than ten years- and, in some cases, the information "was not complete."
The Audit also adds a not so encouraging fact: "because everything is based on manual spreadsheets, they can be modified without a record of the variations or who makes the changes."
The AGN narrates that in November 2008 a Control Committee was created within the Superintendence, which should be composed of the entity's summit, the internal auditor and the managers of the areas related to the topics to be discussed.
For the operation of this area, "ordinary meetings every six months and extraordinary, if requested by any of its members," were put into place. According to the Audit, "Since its inception, the Committee has only met twice, the first on December 17, 2009 (more than a year after its formation), and the second on October 20th, 2010."