The formation of HIH can be traced to 1968 however, the operation began in 1998. The operation of the business was not similar to the other insurance company. It was the chief reason why HIH failed. The company was vulnerable to many risks that made the business under the scanner. This was the main reason; Winterthur Insurance Company withdrew the shares from HHI Winterthur Company. there appeared a merger between Winterthur and the CE Health International but the activities pertaining to past led to the end of the merger. The insurance company needs to have a strong grasp on the business because the money of the public is endowed with the company. an adverse situation can end the smooth run of the business.
The major drawback that was witnessed with HIH and exposed it to a high level of risk is the mindset of the company in the acquisition of various companies and attempting to rule various business such as aviation, marine, etc. Further, no evaluation of the business was done and the plan was done at random (Baldwin, 2010). It is imperative for the company that before going ahead with the merger it is essential to have a sound knowledge of the political scenario and due diligence must be conducted. However, the company ignored all such steps that ultimately attracted huge risks. On the other hand, the financial planning, as well as working method was feeble that ultimately led to a defective strategy of the investment (Parker et. al, 2011). The provision that the company maintained for a natural disaster was weird in nature and overall fault in the system was the major loophole.
HIH Insurance Ltd appeared to be an organization that contained many loopholes and this did not happen after the FAI takeover, rather the condition was present from a very long time. The company was in deep trouble from a prolong time and this added to the takeover pressure of FAI Insurance. Since the takeover step was done without any due diligence, it enhanced the level of risk. Moreover, it added losses to the kitty of the company. It was not the only takeover that was counted in the risk factor. There were several other factors that led to the downfall. The company terminated the industrial practice for the sustenance of the prudential standards. Prudential standard is of vital importance because it protects the company from any risk of contingent nature and natural disaster. However, discontinuance led to a massive jerk for the company. Apart from this, another risk element that was included in the company was the adoption of the policy of reinsurance that ultimately enhanced the risk level.
Huge sums of money were spent without any fruitful motive such as provision for consultation and various other services. It incurred a huge sum for consultancy and various other services (Gilbert et. al, 2012). This creates a huge concern in the mind of the people because, after payment of such a hefty fee, the company was struggling to ensure a strong position.
The case of the law of Equitable Life Assurance Society -v- Bowley, and others can be referred by Anderson. In this case, the directors assessed the bonuses in such a manner that was deemed as a contrast to the normal scenario. The House of Lords came up with a decision that Articles of Association contained a term of implicit nature and the directors in no way can assert their supremacy and suppress the GAR policyholder’s expectations. This led to the end of the society and the UK government initiated a policy of compensation for the benefit of the policyholders. This case law can be referred and it can be concluded that the insurance company was unfair in its practice and for ascertaining a partnership, Anderson can refer to this case.
The case of Therapy Partners of America Inc v. Health Providers Inc can be referred when it comes to partners responsible to the creditors. The presence of declaratory judgment must be ascertained if any controversy is present between the parties and if it relates to a justifiable nature. This case can be referred by Anderson that will help to gain a better view of the scenario.
Negligence can be defined as an act when the proper measure cannot be taken over something. However, it can fall into the category of intentional or unintentional or even both. But, the point of consideration is that ignorance cannot be claimed to get rid of penal or legal actions. Some of the matter that contributes to negligence is unfaithful claims, details that are not appropriate and other misleading concepts. Negligence can lead to legal actions against the one who has defaulted (Kaplan & Williams, 2013). Therefore, if any act has the power to harm others then it is punishable under law, importantly the companies that carry good public faith and money. Such companies need to assure a proper due diligence and fewer chances of errors. The presence of negligence can be spotted through two activities. There must be an accomplishment of the duty and a breach of the duty must occur.
When there is a contravention of any duty that is owed to a plaintiff then the defendant is liable for the negligence act. The contravention happens when there is a failure on his part to accomplish the target. This is determined with the help of a jury where the contravention has happened and duty is fulfilled or not. It is entirely upon the personal part of the plaintiff to provide justification to the fact that any harm or loss has happened due to defendant negligence (Heeler, 2009). HIH insurance paid a hefty sum for consultation and services pertaining to audit and even considering this, it failed to trace the deficiencies that existed in the system. This symbolizes that Anderson was even involved in fraudulent activities with the company. As it was an insurance company, it was damaging the money of the public and the auditors were unable to trace the happening. This is a strong indication that
Arthur Anderson was acting as an auditor of HIH Insurance and was involved with the company by fraudulent means. As per the audit standards, it is essential for the auditor to provide a correct direction to the company, however, in the case of HIH the auditor was himself engaged in fraud. This risked the entire company at risk and loss of reputation (Hoffelder, 2012).
Auditing and consulting services provides a major boost to the business as it helps to trace the deficiencies and provides genuine judgment. Auditing and consultancy both sounds similar but have their own function and role. Auditors are responsible for evaluating the activities of the company while consultants are present to look into the affairs of the company and provide relief in terms of decision making. Both differ but the presence of both will lead to better functioning of the company. it can be defined as a process that happens step by step (Vause, 2009). Consultants evaluate the scenario and provide remedial action so that the business does not suffer. On the contrary, the role of an auditor is to provide an independent decision and stop any deficiencies to crop up.
Going by the rules and regulations governing the audit body, the appointment of the auditor and consultant as the same person is allowable. If it contravenes any law then any action will become unethical in nature. When it comes to HIH Insurance Ltd, the appointment of auditors was done to assist the company for the betterment however they acted against the normal scenario (Wood, 2011). The auditors assisted the company in fraudulent activities that led to the downfall. Such a case is a violation of the ethical standards because auditors should help the business to reflect a true and view (Christensen, 2011). If any advantage is taken by the auditor it violates and breaches the code of conduct.
When it comes to the insurance industry, the example of HIH Insurance is always referred because of the loopholes and the failure to adjust to the international pressure. Further, it failed to combat the contingent events and it disturbed the company. Moreover, the standards were not taken seriously by the company. As per the CLERP and Ramsay report, various regulations were given that was needed to be adhered by the insurance companies. Various alternations were made in the standard that was needed to be followed. Therefore, it reflects the fact that audit is compulsory in companies because it leads to authenticity and helps in giving an accurate scenario which can be depended upon by various related parties (Mock et. al, 2013). Negligence that is unintentional can be accepted however those deliberate are punishable under the law. New standards and techniques will provide better exposure and enhance the performance (Cappelleto, 2010). The new standards rank high in due diligence, an effective audit that is some of the benefits that can be availed. It will help the companies to function in an effective manner and independent view can be obtained.
Baldwin, S 2010, Doing a content audit or inventory, Pearson Press.
Cappelleto, G. 2010, Challenges Facing Accounting Education in Australia, AFAANZ, Melbourne
Christensen, J. 2011, ‘Good analytical research,’ European Accounting Review, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 41-51
Gilbert, W. Joseph J & Terry J. E 2005, ‘The Use of Control Self-Assessment by Independent Auditors’, The CPA Journal, vol.3, pp. 66-92
Heeler, D 2009, Audit Principles, Risk Assessment & Effective Reporting, Pearson Press
Hoffelder, K 2012, New Audit Standard Encourages More Talking, Harvard Press.
Kaplan, S & Williams, D 2013, ‘Do going concern audit reports protect auditors from litigation?’ A simultaneous equations approach, The Accounting Review, vol. 88, no. 1, pp. 199-232.
Mock, T. J, Bedard, J, Coram, P, Davis, S, Espahbodi, R & Warne, R 2013, ‘The audit reporting model: Current research synthesis and implications’, Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory. 32, 323-351.
Parker, L, Guthrie, J & Linacre, S 2011, ‘The relationship between academic accounting research and professional practice’, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 5-14.
Vause, B 2009, Guide to Analysing Companies, Bloomberg Press
Wood, D A 2011, ‘The Effect of Using the Internal Audit Function as a Management Training Ground on the External Auditor's Reliance Decision,’ The Accounting Review, vol. 86. No. 6, pp. 34-56
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