Insurers are now recruiting for a rare breed of accountants

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Are insurance firms asking for the impossible? Solvency II expertise is still a rare enough skill-set, but they’re now starting to recruit for roles where knowledge of this regulation and IFRS is required.

By now, the challenges of hitting the deadline for Solvency II implementation should be painfully obvious to any working in the insurance sector. Most companies – on both the life and general insurance side – have been paying inflated salaries to actuaries and risk professionals to ensure that they have the right infrastructure in place.

The next challenge for insurers, though, is making sure they’ve adopted new IFRS 4 (phase II) accounting standards that demand more a more transparent and consistent way of accounting for liabilities, and that they are aligned with their Solvency II infrastructure.

“‘IFRS-proofing’ Solvency II infrastructure is a key activity for 2012 that far-sighted companies have just started and that aims at mitigating the risk of re-opening the complex Solvency II infrastructure shortly after it is released to BAU,” said Francesco Nagari, global IFRS insurance lead partner at Deloitte.

In particular, he adds, firms are attempting to “maximise implementation synergies from a cost and knowledge resources standpoint”.  In other words, it pays to know both IFRS and Solvency II.

“Insurers are starting to recruit actuaries and accountants with knowledge of both IFRS and Solvency II,” says Paul Walsh, CEO of insurance focused recruiters Acumen Resources. “Largely, this recruitment is for accountants, who can carry out the higher level work which doesn’t require actuarial skills.”

Hence, a raft of new roles for IFRS reporting managers, which are also asking for a knowledge of Solvency II.

It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a qualified accountant with a detailed knowledge of IFRS reporting can couple this with expertise around Solvency II, but recruiters suggest this is still a rare skill-set and is a challenge to recruit for. Salaries are relatively generous – at around £60-100k, depending on experience.

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