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The Bruce Column — Comparability is the goal of the new insurance standard

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May 18, 2017

It has been years in the making, but a new insurance standard is now published. And resident columnist Robert Bruce explains it should shed light on the financial results of a sector which was previously hard to understand.

The world of insurance has always been a difficult one for financial reporting. People talked of patchwork quilts and of black boxes. No one could quite see the proper picture, and comparability was difficult. All this dated back to the dawn of time, or at least twenty years ago. Everything had been stitched together or grandfathered into what was IFRS 4. Now we have IFRS 17. And as from accounting periods starting from January 1, 2021 that is what the industry, and investors, will have to deal with. Insurers will put old practices aside and apply the same rules and so this should be an aid to comparability. Whereas the old system was most definitely an obstacle to comparability.

It will be a big change to implement. But early planning for what is to come will make life easier in the long-term. Rather like insurance.

Review the entire column on our Global IAS Plus website.

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