Thinking ‘outside the box’ key to regulation
Published: Aug 01, 2013
Name: Kimberly Rolle, CPA
Industry position: Manager, insurance supervision, Insurance Commission of The Bahamas
What attracted you to the sector?
The insurance industry was not an area that I was instantaneously attracted to. It was only after spending a number of years in the public accounting sector, providing services to insurance clients, that I developed an appreciation of what the business entailed. I was provided with an opportunity to join an independent body, created to regulate and supervise the industry, and I embraced this challenge.
How long have you been involved in financial services? What keeps you motivated?
I have been involved in financial services for approximately a decade. About half of my career in the financial services industry was spent as an internal and external auditor, with the remainder spent in my current role, regulating the domestic insurance industry.
My motivation is propelled by the progress that the organization has made since its inception in July 2009. Ensuring the protection of policyholders and providing a safe and sound insurance industry are the primary mandates of the Insurance Commission of The Bahamas (ICB). The enactment of the new insurance legislation has provided for a more robust and modern regulatory framework to provide for a more secure environment. This new legislation has raised the insurance standards of our jurisdiction to comply with the international standards established by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors.
Although there is still a laundry list of priorities to address over the next few years, the ICB has made tremendous strides in the regulation and supervision of the Bahamian insurance industry (This was also confirmed following the recent Financial Sector Assessment Program conducted by the International Monetary Fund). I am extremely proud to have been a part of this organization and hope to continue to assist with the progression of the industry in the future.
Why do you think you have been successful? Did mentoring play a part in your success?
I think that there are several key contributors to my success: a supportive family always makes life (and work life) a little bit easier. My husband provides words of encouragement when they are needed most. I also want to be a role model for my daughters and help them to recognize the importance of hard work and dedication.
My colleagues at the ICB have also played an integral role, as we all work together to contribute to the success of the entire organization. Our superintendent, head of supervision and board of commissioners (all past and present) have been mentors over the years, providing a wealth of knowledge and experience, from domestic and international perspectives.
The licensees (although some may not think so), contribute not only to the success of the organization, but to the success of the individuals within the organization. During my time at the Commission, I have had the pleasure to have met some exceptionally knowledgeable individuals within the industry, who have consistently and continuously provided useful insight and constructive feedback on various matters.
What qualifications do you feel are the most useful in helping you perform in the sector?
Although there are many professional and industry specific qualifications available within the insurance sector, as a regulator it is more important to be able to think “outside the box” and realize that the regulatory approach is not a “one size fits all” one. Obtaining qualifications will most certainly supplement the role; however, I think having superior analytical skills is what is valued the most as a regulator.
Why is it important to encourage our youth to think of careers within financial services?
The financial services sector is an essential and vital pillar of our economy. Pursuing a career in this sector affords an individual with opportunities in several areas, which provides for versatility and an expanded knowledge base. Additionally, it also allows for international exposure, which can assist when improving current standards of service or enhancing legislative or regulatory frameworks.
Are there specific suggestions they have for sustaining and/or growing the financial services sector?
The Bahamas’ domestic insurance industry is a large and vibrant one. From the regulator’s perspective, we have seen an increased interest in The Bahamas as a market for international insurance business. As regulators, we must be able to perform at a level that meets (and perhaps exceeds) those of our international counterparts. For the most part, I think we have come a long way in this regard and we are constantly looking for ways to improve and enhance what we do. Both industry professionals and the regulators must co-operate and work together in order to improve and preserve the sustainability of the sector.