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IFRS 17 Steering Committee – towards a smooth transition

This article originally appeared in the CIA (e)Bulletin.

By Cynthia Potts (FCIA) and Les Rehbeli (FCIA), Co-Chairs, IFRS 17 Steering Committee

The implementation of IFRS 17 will have a significant impact on the valuation of insurance contracts. Coordination among CIA entities is paramount to ensure proper management and implementation of the necessary changes related to IFRS 17 in Canada. The IFRS 17 Steering Committee coordinates these efforts, and updates members frequently about IFRS 17. Read the committee’s full mandate.

Proposed amendments to IFRS 17

In May 2019, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) issued an exposure draft with proposed amendments to IFRS 17 reflecting consideration of comments received from many parties (including the CIA) about the substance, timing, and transitional requirements under IFRS 17. The International Insurance Accounting Committee (IIAC) will review the exposure draft and will coordinate CIA/Actuarial Standards Board (ASB) comments in consultation with various CIA committees including the Committee on Property and Casualty Insurance Financial Reporting (PCFRC) and the Committee on Life Insurance Financial Reporting (CLIFR). Comments are to be provided to the IASB by September 25, 2019.

The proposed amendments include a deferral of the effective date for IFRS 17 from on or after January 1, 2021, to on or after January 1, 2022, as previously announced. You can view information about the remaining amendments on the IASB website. Highlights were included in a recent presentation at act19, the CIA’s annual conference, soon to be available in the Meeting Archives section of the CIA website (log in required).

CIA guidance on IFRS 17

Summarized below is the CIA’s approach to the development of IFRS 17 guidance:

  • Adopt international guidance as promulgated by the International Actuarial Association (IAA) as the main source of guidance.
    • ISAP 4 will be incorporated into CIA standards of practice.
    • IAN 100 will be adopted as a CIA educational note.
    • Other IANs previously adopted by the CIA will be reviewed.
  • Develop CIA guidance to supplement IAA guidance as needed.
    • To provide Canadian-specific content (as the IAA does not address jurisdictional issues).
    • To address perceived gaps in IAA guidance.
  • CIA guidance must not conflict with IAA guidance.

Several educational notes and research papers are being developed by CLIFR, PCFRC, and the Workers’ Compensation Committee (CWC). Due process for approval of educational notes includes review and comment by other relevant CIA committees, approval by the Standards and Guidance Council, and translation to French. Given the importance and time-sensitive nature of IFRS 17, every effort is being made to expedite this process.

The following tables summarize guidance being developed by CLIFR and PCFRC.

CLIFR Guidance
TopicKey Areas CoveredEst. Release
Risk adjustmentPfAD and other quantification methodsCalibration of confidence levelQ3 2019
Future cash flowsComparison to current practiceInvestment income tax (IIT) and other Canadian-specific topicsQ3 2019
Contractual service margin (CSM)Typical amortizations for various Canadian productsTo be updated regarding final IFRS 17 exposure draftQ4 2019
Discount ratesUltimate rates and liquidity premiumsTransition from observed to ultimateQ4 2019
Market consistent valuationCanadian-specific observable periodsUltimate parameters (e.g., implied volumes) + transitionQ4 2019
Par contractsApplicability of variable fee approach (VFA) methodDisclosure, otherTo supplement IIAC educational noteQ1 2020
PCFRC Guidance
TopicKey Areas CoveredEst. Release
Premium allocation approach (PAA) eligibilityAssessing eligibility for the simplified approach to the determination of liability for remaining coverage (LRC)Potential applicability to group insuranceQ3 2019
Expected loss ratio (ELR) for minimum capital test (MCT)Practical application of guidance for MCT calculation where PAA is used to determine LRCUltimately to be incorporated in LRC educational noteQ3 2019
DiscountingDetermination of discount rates (guidance being developed in conjunction with CLIFR)Practical application and illustrative examples relating to discounting and application to LICQ4 2019
Risk adjustmentGuidance in conjunction with CLIFRPractical application guidance and examples of quantile techniques, cost of capital, marginConfidence level disclosureQ4 2019
ReinsuranceContract boundary and PAA eligibility for risk-attaching treatiesAggregation, counterparty riskQ4 2019
Liability for remaining coverageTBDTBD

The CWC expects to issue a single comprehensive educational note, rather than single-topic notes.

IFRS 17 resources

The IFRS 17 blog (log in required) is an excellent resource for members to stay current with efforts to implement the standard. Here are some of the most recent posts to the blog:

  • Update and next steps on OSFI’s 2022 LICAT and MCT guidelines (June 27, 2019)
  • CIA comments on Exposure Draft of IAN 100 (May 23, 2019)
  • ISAP 4 Submission – Review and Comments (May 23, 2019)
  • “Transition from CALM to IFRS 17 Valuation of Canadian Participating Insurance Contracts” Draft Educational Note (March 29, 2019)
  • Q&A: Financial Risk, Reinsurance, and Coverage Units (March 29, 2019)
  • Q&A: Contract Boundary (March 19, 2019)
  • Other Q&As on various life insurance and P&C topics (January–March 2019)

Please note that the act19 IFRS 17 session presentations will be added to the blog once they are available.

Click on “Links and Resources” in the blog to find useful information, including documents issued by the IASB and IAA.

Cynthia Potts (FCIA) and Les Rehbeli (FCIA) are Co-Chairs of the IFRS 17 Steering Committee.

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