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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

IFRS 17 amendments approved

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has approved six changes to IFRS 17 following widespread pressure from the insurance industry.

New IFRS 17 accounting rules ©iStock
New IFRS 17 accounting rules ©iStock

The changes, originally proposed in an exposure draft earlier this year, include deferring some acquisition costs for renewal business.

The IASB also agreed to recognise gains on all reinsurance contracts – proportional and non-proportional – that cover groups of onerous underlying contracts.

This would allow losses on initial recognition of underlying contracts to be offset by the matching reinsurance, changing the calculation to one based on expected cash flows.

“This change would largely address insurers’ concerns about the consequences of the existing economic mismatch,” said Roger Gascoigne, senior director at Willis Towers Watson.

“Insurers should be aware that implementing these changes at this stage is likely to add significantly to the complexity of reflecting many current reinsurance or retrocession arrangements.

“It is imperative that both insurers and reinsurers analyse the specific impacts on their results, processes and overall implementation programmes.”

The IASB met on Wednesday 11 December to consider some of the changes proposed in the exposure draft earlier this year.

It decided to defer discussions on the effective date of IFRS 17 until after the extent and complexity of all the amendments has been determined, expected at the end of February 2020.

This comes after nine insurance organisations wrote a letter to the IASB last year warning of “serious operational constraints” on insures’ ability to meet the 2021 implementation date.

The group also highlighted a range of concerns they had with the standard, including accounting rules for reinsurance.

“The treatment of reinsurance under IFRS 17 has been deserving of greater attention for some time," said Brian Shea, managing director of strategic and financial analytics at Willis Re.

"These proposed amendments better reflect the role of reinsurance in mitigating risks. We continue to work with insurers and reinsurers to ensure that their reinsurance programmes are fit for IFRS 17.”

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