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An Inspiring idea from Paul Boyle and James Turner, former Aviva and Prudential Plc CAEs

All along my career, I have met, exchanged, or worked with remarkable leaders, either colleagues in EY or Allianz, or peers from other organizations. I always learned from all these interactions. In this series I will share one idea, lesson or experience I learned and that I translated into my own work.

Paul Boyle (former Aviva CAE), and James Turner (former Prudential Plc CAE): “a forum of global insurance chief auditors is useful in increasing general knowledge and stimulating professional debate”.

In January 2015, a few days after starting my second mandate as Allianz Group CAE, I received an interesting mail from James Turner, at the time CAE of Prudential Plc.

The CAEs of Aviva, Prudential, MetLife, AIG and Prudential Financial had a conversation that led them to launch a group of Global Heads of Internal Audit of the G-SII insurers.

Purpose of the group

A forum of global insurance chief auditors is useful in increasing general knowledge and stimulating professional debate. The objectives are to increase knowledge of the group in the following areas in respect of the global organizations in the sector:

–       Audit structure, approaches etc.

–       Emerging/leading audit practices,

–       Industry challenges and emerging issues,

–       Regulatory developments and audit responses.


The invited participants to the initial meetings were the G-SII insurers:

–       Solvency II (SII) is a comprehensive and risk-based framework for the European Insurance sector. This supervisory regime came into force in full on January 1st, 2016.

–       Systemic risk in the financial system arises from the danger that some part of the system will become unable to perform its key economic functions and thereby impar the real economy. In insurance, “G” (globally) firms can contribute to systemic risk through the possibility that an individual firm will fail, with systemic consequences.

There were 9 global insurance organizations at the time that would possibly be defined as G-SIIs, an objective selection criterion. With primary insurance peers sufficiently comparable in size and global footprint, the intention was to keep the circle small (below 10) to have quality in the dialogues.

In addition to Aviva, Prudential, MetLife, AIG and Prudential Financial, the initial meetings would include Axa, Generali and Allianz, as well as Ping An.

Operating Principles

–       No internal issues or problems can be discussed: the focus is to benchmark on what works and can transversally improve the internal audit activities, to the benefit of all stakeholders of each individual insurance group,

–       Confidentiality,

–       Walk before we run,

–       Independence of firms and institutes.

General structure and content

–       Preference for agenda and structure rather than free form,

–       Normally a day and a half minimum,

–       A social element for networking (e.g. dinner the night before),

–       Content to fit the objectives above, e.g.

–       Introduction to participant’s audit departments (size, location, structure, resourcing, approaches),

–       Culture and Governance,

–       IA tools,

–       Prudential regulation,

–       Cyber risk…

–       External and members’ company speakers welcome subject to agreement on appropriate subject

And it worked. In April 2015, we met for the first time in London at Aviva offices and in the Caledonian Club (Paul Boyle is a proud Scott!). This Group became the G9 and, as far as I know, it continues to meet regularly, even if none of the original participants in 2015 are around anymore! But myself, even retired from the CAE job, I keep in touch with many of my good colleagues!

Thank you, Paul and James, you showed me how much exchanging with my peers was important to make us collectively better!