April 24, 2023
Partner Perspective: An Interview on Life Insurance and ACLI Forum 500 Retreat
In our latest interview, Scott Hall takes time to speak about his upcoming trip to the ACLI Forum 500 Leadership Retreat and the unique value that Johnson Lambert brings to serving the life industry!
What are you looking forward to at the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) Forum 500 Leadership Retreat 2023 this year?
I originally heard about the conference from a client, and they knew our firm was the perfect size for serving Forum 500 organizations that are involved with ACLI. Our ability to serve these organizations, and serve them well is tremendous, and this conference is a resource that strengthens our opportunity to connect.
I attended for the first time last year and the agenda that ACLI leadership puts together is filled with quality speakers. They do a great job covering topics that are relevant to the professionals in the room. Most of the attendees are the presidents and the CEOs of Life organizations, and they’re interested in discussing the current challenges and opportunities in the industry in a room of their peers. Being a part of the conversation is truly invaluable.
How do you stay current with evolving trends in the life insurance space?
Our team regularly attends NAIC meetings to learn about changes in the regulatory environment and we have partner representation on the AICPA’s Insurance Expert Panel that addresses emerging issues. These and other industry events such as the ACLI’s Forum 500 Leadership Retreat keep us informed and at the forefront of industry trends.
One area of focus for us right now is impairment testing over investments and we are really laser focused on looking at clients’ investment portfolios and making sure that we’re comfortable with the way they’ve completed their impairment reviews and challenging their conclusions, when necessary.
We are also monitoring NAIC discussions specific to life insurance companies around negative interest maintenance reserves (IMRs) and how the current nonadmission requirement for these assets is under review.
At Johnson Lambert, we have a deep knowledge base of the insurance industry, and life insurance specifically. We train our staff from day one to fully understand what an insurance company is, and teach them the right questions to ask.
We consider ourselves a business partner to our clients and want to ensure we are keeping them informed in a way that is proactive. Our complimentary webinars and newsletters are centered around the strategic matters that we know will impact the insurance industry, whether it’s auditing standard changes, accounting standard changes, or sharing industry best practices for corporate governance.
How do you approach knowledge sharing and best practice advising with your clients to ensure a tailored and communicative approach?
With current clients, one of the things I think is critical is having monthly recurring conversations outside of the audit season just to fully understand our clients’ strategic priorities and major changes in operations and personnel.
Whether it’s an impact that is one year or five years out, maybe we need to discuss how that is going to affect their financial statements and upcoming audits. And as I previously mentioned, we do our best to produce webinars on topics that we think will be truly relevant to professionals in the life insurance space, and make sure we are putting that information in their hands.
Another aspect of sharing knowledge is our process for reviewing and sharing the regulatory changes made by the NAIC. We help our clients understand who at the organization the changes will impact and what are the accounting and tax implications. One of our goals is establishing a communication channel that operates in both directions throughout the year, so that our clients are comfortable reaching out to us with questions as issues arise.
In what ways has your involvement with key industry groups like IASA and the ACLI benefited your clients? How does Johnson Lambert add unique value to life insurance clients?
All of these conferences, whether it’s ACLI, IASA, or other local events, are another great avenue for myself and our team at Johnson Lambert to gain and share knowledge about the industry, the life insurance space, and what’s impacting clients right now. We are able to sit down with prospects or clients and discuss what we’re hearing and seeing. Getting a group of professionals together in the same industry space, like life insurance with this ACLI group and just discussing what they’re hearing and seeing, really benefits everybody at the table. I think it’s a tremendous asset to be involved.
What activities do you enjoy outside of work, and how do they help you build relationships with potential clients?
When I’m not traveling for business or in Raleigh at the office, I love being on the coast. I like to spend time with my family on the water, fishing, and being out on the boat together. I also like revisiting the cities that I get to travel to for work and experiencing them with my family. D.C. is one of the places I’ve been to before, and I look forward to being back.
Our team thoroughly enjoys networking and getting to know people on a personal level, just like we did at the conference last year. We talk about our shared interests like boating, fishing, and our love for good food. This personal connection is something that sets us apart from other accounting firms and shows our commitment to building relationships with our clients.
We know the value of personal connections and great experiences. We believe that business should be conducted with integrity and respect for our clients, which is why we’re committed to providing excellent service at every turn. We understand the financial industry and have the expertise to help life insurance companies navigate complex challenges with ease.