IASB discusses next steps in implementation support for IFRS 17

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Oct 24, 2018

On October 24, 2018, the International Accounting Standards Board (the Board) released a summary of its meeting, where they discussed IFRS 17, "Insurance Contracts" to determine whether the various concerns regarding the standard that have been brought to their attention required any action.

Since IFRS 17 was issued in May 2017, the Board has been monitoring the implementation and has learned about concerns and implementation challenges. There were four papers discussed at the meeting.

The discussion focused on agenda paper 2C, which revealed the criteria the IASB® staff developed for the Board to use in assessing whether the concerns warrant considering an amendment:

  1. the amendment would not result in significant loss of useful information relative to that which would be provided by IFRS 17 for users of financial statements and
  2. the amendment would not unduly disrupt the implementation processes that are already under way or risk undue delays in the effective date of a standard that is needed to address many inadequacies in the existing wide range of insurance accounting practices.

In the paper, the staff also noted that even if the Board agrees that any potential amendment to IFRS 17 meets the criteria, it does not mean that all amendments meeting these criteria are justified. The staff also stressed that any changes would affect the effective date.

Here are some of the comments made by the Board:

  • amendments need to be necessary, not just to fulfill the criteria;
  • what's missing in the criteria is that changes should not compromise the criteria of IFRS 17;
  • the Board should deal with implementation issues only, not just anything that is connected with IFRS 17;
  • changes should be narrow in scope and should be able to be dealt with efficiently;
  • changes to IFRS 17, a final standard, would impact those who have already begun implementing it;
  • the Board needs to consider the interaction with IFRS 9;
  • do the issues identified relate to material new information or are they issues the Board has considered before?
  • investors are waiting for the new standard, there needs to be a high hurdle for changing it;
  • benefits of changes need to exceed the costs;
  • a lot of work went into the standard;
  • a lot of people are waiting for the standard to become effective.

Chairman Hans Hoogervorst concluded the discussion by stating that he had read the papers for the discussion with a heavy heart. He just hoped that the standard would get into place before the next financial crisis - as the markets are very nervous and there is too much debt in the market. He therefore concluded that changes to IFRS 17 should be fine-tuning only and legitimized by decreasing costs. He also added that the whole package of issues should be looked at and that 25 issues were too many.

Review the press release and meeting papers meeting papers on the Board's website and a more detailed summary on our Global IAS Plus website.

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