IFRS 17: a year in review

Blog Snapshot

  • Noteworthy events of 2017
  • Reaction of the industry
  • Scepticism vs. Acceptance

It’s amazing the difference a year can make. At the start of 2017, it was unknown whether IFRS 17 would even materialise as a new standard; and if it did so, what form this new standard would take. Now, as 2018 kicks off, insurers across the globe are taking the first steps to prepare for the launch of IFRS 17 in 2021 and it’s a good time to take a quick look back on the highlights of 2017, and the lessons we can take forward.

Amongst the fanfare surrounding the official issue of IFRS 17 on May 18, the IASB made the point of demonstrating how they had listened to the thoughts and concerns of the industry over areas such as the unit of account.

Since this unveiling, the scale of the challenge insurers face over the next four years has started to dawn on the industry. In response, impact assessments have been initiated, software developers have stepped on the accelerator, specialised IFRS 17 teams have been formed, and CFOs have taken initial budgets to their boards.

As is to be expected, not all companies have embraced the standard straight off the mark – some have balked at the cost of implementation vs. the perceived benefit, and the first mutterings of 'delay' have been heard across some parts of the industry; but on the flip side, many companies are firmly grasping the nettle and are using this catalyst as an opportunity to invest in historically underinvested systems and architecture.

The interaction between the data requirements of IFRS 17 and the digital journey companies have embarked upon should also not be ignored. Those focussing on creating value from the work that will have to be done are definitely finding a more welcome reception from those in charge.

I’m excited to see what surprises 2018 will bring. Keep an eye out for my next blog, in which I will share some more predictions of what is to come in the IFRS 17 journey.

Alex Bertolotti | Partner
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