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In the dynamic landscape of insurance, professionals must continually adapt to regulatory changes, including those that shape financial reporting standards.

Two significant frameworks that have garnered attention are the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) 17 and IFRS 4. The differences between these standards is crucial for insurance professionals exploring P&C insurance software solutions.

WaterStreet Company is here to help insurers with digital-first strategies.

IFRS 4 – The Legacy Standard

IFRS 4, established in 2004, was a response to the need for an interim standard to address the diverse accounting practices prevalent in the insurance industry. Its primary objective was to provide guidance until a comprehensive standard for insurance contracts could be developed. IFRS 4 allowed companies to continue using existing local accounting practices, leading to inconsistencies and challenges in comparing financial statements across different jurisdictions.

Challenges with IFRS 4

While IFRS 4 served its purpose as a temporary solution, it presented challenges. The lack of uniformity in accounting practices hindered comparability and transparency. This prompted the need for a more robust and comprehensive standard that could better address the complexities of insurance contracts.

IFRS 17 – A Paradigm Shift

IFRS 17, issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) in 2017, represents a paradigm shift in the accounting for insurance contracts. Unlike IFRS 4, IFRS 17 is a comprehensive standard that aims to provide a consistent and transparent approach to insurance contract accounting. The standard introduces a principles-based model, moving away from the previous rule-based approach.

IFRS 17 vs IFRS 4

1. Measurement of Liabilities

IFRS 4 allowed various measurement approaches, including the use of local accounting methods. IFRS 17 introduces a more uniform and transparent approach, emphasizing the use of current values and risk adjustments to determine insurance contract liabilities.

2. Contractual Service Margin (CSM):

IFRS 4 lacked a consistent method for recognizing profits over the duration of the insurance contract. IFRS 17 introduces the CSM, a key component in recognizing profit over time, promoting a more systematic and consistent approach to revenue recognition.

3. Presentation of Financial Statements

IFRS 4 lacked specific requirements for the presentation of insurance contract revenues and expenses. IFRS 17 establishes clear guidelines for the presentation of financial statements, enhancing comparability and transparency.

Implications for P&C Insurance Software

As insurance professionals explore P&C insurance software solutions, it becomes essential to consider the implications of these accounting standards. Policy Administration Software (PAS) should be equipped to handle the complexities introduced by IFRS 17, ensuring accurate and compliant financial reporting.

WaterStreet & IFRS 17

The transition from IFRS 4 to IFRS 17 signifies a significant step towards harmonizing accounting practices in the insurance industry. Choosing software that aligns with the principles of IFRS 17 ensures not only compliance but also a more transparent and standardized approach to financial reporting in the dynamic world of P&C insurance.

WaterStreet Company supports P&C insurers with next-generation Policy Administration Software.

Reach out to WaterStreet Company today to request a consultation and demo.

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