Last week nearly 300 compliance professionals attended a virtual session about the new challenges they are confronting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A panel of experts led by Skip Edmonds, head of LL Global’s Compliance and Regulatory Practice, discussed how their companies are adapting to the new environment.
Chief compliance officers and industry leading experts discussed how life insurers were changing company practices to follow the social distancing guidelines set at the local, state and federal levels. Companies have been moving to digital solutions and predictive analytics for some time now. The “new normal” of COVID-19 is forcing companies to be more efficient through digital transformation at a much more rapid pace (e.g., expanded use of digital signatures vs. wet signatures, etc.).
With the convergence of new regulations and the economic disruption in the market place, compliance teams are working in overdrive to manage the new guidelines as well as their existing compliance responsibilities. During the webinar, executives talked about the need to be flexible and pivot to align their resources with their companies’ changing business priorities. Several panelists discussed their shift to dynamic risk assessment involving more frequent — often weekly — risk assessments to update policies, procedures and controls as they receive numerous regulatory alerts.
All of these changes required compliance leaders to reassess and streamline their communications strategies to ensure their senior business partners are aware of the new regulatory guidelines. Equally important is the need to keep senior leaders aware of the evolving regulatory environment. Panelists said they believed their efforts elevated the role of compliance within their organizations and enabled them to demonstrate their value more broadly.
The session ended with reflections on the long-term impact of the pandemic on the life insurance business. All of the panelists agreed that COVID-19 has driven innovation within compliance and throughout their companies. The unusual environment has accelerated companies’ digital transformation and may prompt leaders to reassess how they approach remote workers and the impacts to their businesses.