We have a Responsibility to Report Accurately and Clearly to our Stakeholders

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1. Let me begin by congratulating you and your team in CIC for winning the Insurance Category Financial Reporting Excellence Award, the FiRe Award, in 2023.

Thank you, I wish to also thank my team and our shareholders for believing in us to churn out award winning products for their benefits.

2. Is your team working at producing a winner for this year’s award? I am sure they are, but are you able to reveal some “secrets” so that your competitors can do better?

Certainly, we are working towards producing a winner, and even receiving more awards in other categories. Winning is a painstaking process that involves formation of effective institutional structures backed by people-centric policies that ensure better customer service delivery.

I will not reveal all our secrets because I would like to maintain a competitive edge against other organizations, but what I can say is that it is important for organizations to maintain transparency and comprehensiveness when it comes to financial reporting. 

This, coupled with total accuracy and integrity, amplifies our level of governance and accountability within the landscape of any sector. 

It is also important that your clients and stakeholders trust the services that you provide for them so that they continue to invest in you, and recommend you to potential clients.

Making use of innovative technologies also ensures that the company is up to par with the ever-evolving industry and market dynamics.

3. The fact that CIC won the award in 2023 must mean that the Group devotes resources to the reporting process. Do you find that you obtain a return on this expenditure? Could you give a retrospect of your reporting process to our readers so that they see some of these benefits and  improve the quality of their reporting?

As a business we have a responsibility to report accurately and clearly to our stakeholders and as such this forms the greatest drive behind our reporting process. The reporting process as you have rightly put it,requires investment of resources in terms of people, time and finances. We have put together a team from various functions and sections of the business which ensures that the content prepared is comprehensive. As a business we have adopted the concept of integrated thinking and reporting which means that we aim to not only report on financial disclosures but also non-financial disclosures. The report goes through a comprehensive review and assurance process to ensure that we comply with the applicable financial reporting frameworks and other disclosures on environmental, social and governance reporting. 

4. Insurance accounting has become noticeably more complicated after the publishing of IFRS 17. In your view, was IFRS 17 really necessary? IASB claimed that the previous reporting by insurance companies was “defective” but one meets many accountants who state that this was not the case. Do you have any views on this matter?

The new standard IFRS 17, which supersedes IFRS 4 introduces new guidelines on reporting insurance contracts that requires a company to measure insurance contracts using updated estimates and assumptions that reflect the timing of cash flows and any uncertainty relating to insurance contracts. IFRS 17 is the first truly international, comprehensive accounting standard for insurance.

Thanks to IFRS 17, investors, shareholders and other consumers of insurance services are now benefiting from enriched financial information enabling them to assess the impact and ability of insurance companies to meet their needs. 

IFRS 17 provides consistent accounting for all insurance contracts and increases the transparency in financial information reported by insurance companies. Obviously, there are a myriad of challenges with the implementation of the standard, which is very complex and this being the first year of implementation, which might explain the view of the many accountants.

5. The “annual report” is becoming a more and more complicated document and is becoming bulkier and bulkier. The Institute of Chartered of Scotland has argued that the constant increase has to stop. What is your view on this?

Our focus as CIC Group is to ensure that we are clear on our material topics which form the basis of our disclosures. We then limit our reporting to matters that are important to our business but also more critically to our stakeholders. We must strike the delicate balance of ensuring that we report on all important aspects of the business without over loading the consumer of the report with too much information.  

6. Are you of the opinion that we want to adopt the very latest “requirements” in accounting and reporting in order to appear “global” or do you think there is real value in adopting Integrated Reporting and ESG Disclosure as laid down by the NSE?

There is value in adopting integrating reporting as it helps the businesses incorporate aspects on non-financial disclosures in reporting. Investors are interested in how the capital invested in the businesses has been applied to create value for various stakeholders. Non-financial disclosures help entities build trust to the public and other stakeholders. Additionally, adopting sustainable business practices is critical for the long-term existence of the business entity. 

7. The accounting and reporting function in companies is an expensive process. The insurance business in Kenya is cut-throat. Can insurance companies continue to spend this money? Is there hope in digitizing more and more of this accounting work?

There are opportunities for digitization not only for reporting but also for core processes to enable insurance businesses deliver value to the ever-evolving demands from our stakeholders.

8. If you were to give advice to a young man or a young woman who wanted to go into the insurance industry, what route would you advise them to follow?

There are great opportunities within the insurance space seeing as the insurance penetration is still one of the lowest in Africa and globally. There are opportunities to innovate and advance insurance solutions that serve to cushion the vulnerable in the society. 

9. What would you like to tell those who do not participate? 

The FiRe awards present a great opportunity for organisations to put their best practices on ‘trial’. They are not only recognised for their efforts in various categories but get a chance to learn more on how to make their processes better. 

This certification boosts your reputation and provides stakeholders with adequate information that is then used to make informed choices when they are making their economic decisions. 

Receiving an award not only improves the morale of employees, but motivates them to continue improving and consequently ensures better customer delivery, which paves the way to receive even more recognition and awards in the future.


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