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Ratings agency studies impact of IFRS 4 Insurance Contracts

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11 May 2004

Fitch Ratings – a leading global fixed income rating agency – has analysed the implications of IFRS 4 Insurance Contracts and has concluded that Fitch "does not expect any rating actions as a direct result of the move to IFRS.

However, Fitch cannot rule out the possibility that the additional disclosure and information contained in the accounts could lead to rating changes due to an improved perception of risk based on the enhanced information available." The special report Mind the GAAP: Fitch's View on Insurance IFRS provides an overview of IFRS 4 and the issues being addressed in Phase II of the IASB's insurance project; assesses the implications including increased volatility, greater use of discounting and fair values, changes to income recognition, and enhanced disclosures; and discusses how the changes affect ratings analysis. An excerpt:

Fitch welcomes the progress made by the IASB towards standards that will be more transparent and comparable across regions. The agency recognises the significant limitations of phase 1 but believes that the enhanced disclosure and greater consistency at phase 1 of the insurance accounting project (set out in IFRS 4) will aid in the analysis of insurers and is a useful stepping stone to the more valuable phase 2.

We are grateful to Fitch Ratings for allowing us to post their copyrighted report: Click to Download (PDF 209k).

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