3 years ago


We examine the relation between reserve management and a set of audit committee characteristics of property–liability insurers, using reserve errors as a proxy for reserve management. We find that insurers with three audit committee characteristics have more conservative loss reserve estimations: larger audit committee size and more members with accounting expertise, and more audit committee meetings. Our results also find that three recommendations of the 1999 Blue Ribbon Committee can make corporate audit committees more effective: a minimum audit committee size, a minimum level of accounting expertise, and a minimum number of audit committee meetings. These results were obtained when we controlled for board of director characteristics, firm‐specific characteristics, and Sarbanes–Oxley. Some board composition variables (e.g., director ownership) also have an impact on reserve management during our study period. The evidence overall suggests that the audit committee and some board characteristics have an impact on reserve management (earnings management) even in a regulated environment such as the insurance industry.
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