28 April 2020

IFRS 17 Insurance Contracts—why annual cohorts?

Hans Hoogervorst

The requirement to use annual cohorts as part of the process of accounting for insurance contracts has been the cause of much debate since IFRS 17 was issued in May 2017. In their responses to the recent consultation on proposed amendments to IFRS 17, some stakeholders advocated the removal or amendment of the annual cohort requirement for some or all insurance contracts. However, the International Accounting Standards Board took the decision in February 2020 to confirm the requirements in IFRS 17 relating to annual cohorts.

The Board has decided annual cohorts are necessary to provide useful information about an insurance company’s financial performance, in particular about changes in profitability over time. Any exemption from the requirement, even if aimed at the very limited population of contracts for which the costs and benefits of the requirement might be open to question, risks losing important information.

In this article on annual cohorts, IASB Chair Hans Hoogervorst explains the reasons for the Board’s decision.

The Board is currently finalising its amendments to aid implementation of IFRS 17 and expects to issue them in June 2020.

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