The Prudential Insurance Company was involved in the largest life insurance churning scam of the 1980s and early 1990s. At the time, Prudential had weak business controls, and its corporate culture was characterized as ineffective and loose. However, this scandal is rooted in something deeper than a poor control environment. Prudential was a company facing several risks; many company decisions allowed these risks to have a dramatic impact on the company. As a result, its weak control environment came to the forefront, allowing the churning scam to reach its record levels. This case demonstrates the value of identifying and assessing risks in an organization. Further, the case demonstrates how to build control solutions to match the risks. Learning how to manage risks is a valuable skill for business professionals. In fact, the AICPA's Special Committee on Assurance Services (AICPA 1997), also known as the Elliott Committee, identified risk assessment as one of the emerging assurance services offered by CPAs.
Developing Risk Skills: An Investigation of Business Risks and Controls at Prudential Insurance Company of America
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Paul L. Walker, William G. Shenkir, C. Stephen Hunn; Developing Risk Skills: An Investigation of Business Risks and Controls at Prudential Insurance Company of America. Issues in Accounting Education 1 May 2001; 16 (2): 291–313. https://doi.org/10.2308/iace.2001.16.2.291
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