IFRS 17: A year in review

20 December 2018

As a busy 2018 draws to a close, it seems only appropriate to reflect on the past 12 months and ask those key questions such as, what went well, what could’ve gone better and what lessons have we learned? In this short blog, I would like to revisit some of my personal highlights and take a look ahead into 2019 – and I would encourage you all to do the same!

Let’s start at the beginning. From October 2017 to March 2018, PwC hosted a series of IFRS 17 Tech Showcases in 12 different cities, which attracted over 1,000 clients and a variety of technology vendors. These showcases were successful in initiating conversations around technology solutions, and gave attendees some ‘food for thought’ in terms of how best to plan for shortages in IFRS 17 SME resources. I personally gained a lot from these trips as they greatly enhanced my understanding of Asia’s general state of readiness for IFRS 17 in comparison with Europe and the Americas.

A few months later in June, three expert panel members and I took to the airwaves as part of PwC’s Global IFRS 17 Webcast, to discuss how IFRS 17 was developing one year on from the official announcement. The webcast was listened to by over 1,600 people, and gave insight into key issues being faced by insurers across the world. It was fascinating to hear input from both PwC SMEs and Darrel Scott on behalf of IASB, and how different areas of businesses are dealing with different challenges relating to IFRS 17, and whether there was any chance of a delay – you can still listen to the full Webcast here.

More recently in October and November, we hosted two 3 day training sessions for EMEA and Asia in Malta and Malaysia respectively. Over 350 PwC professionals attended these sessions in total out of the 1400+ that have been involved in IFRS17 projects globally. These sessions surfaced some potential concerns around the pace of advancement in smaller territories, and reinforced the importance of engaging with regulators from an early stage. A key challenge for us is sharing our knowledge from our various projects, and sometimes doing this face to face is the best way. I came away suntanned and energised - not a bad combination!

Last week the IASB board met to discuss amendments to the standard and to confirm the one year delay – we first heard rumours of this delay back in December 2017, and one full year on these have at last been made concrete. It is fair to say that the vast majority of insurers see this extension as an opportunity to focus effort on effective implementation, cost efficiency and digital transformation. However, it is also worth noting that this extension does not and should not equate to a reduced pace of work towards IFRS 17 – it will be interesting to see if any insurers fall into this trap in 2019. At the moment, we are seeing an element of re-opening the strategic discussions around IFRS17, but no let up in pace.

Finally, something to look forward to in the New Year, PwC will be broadcasting another Global IFRS 17 Webcast on the latest IFRS 17 developments on Thursday 17th January 2019 at 11:00 GMT – if you’re interested in watching, please register using this link.

I’ve been surprised at how well these blogs are being received and at the level of interest in IFRS17. I am honoured to have such an exciting role at PwC, and to lead our efforts on the standard globally. The best bit - getting to know many of our clients and teams around the world, and I look forward to a number of client meetings in Japan, UK, Canada, Austria and the Middle East in the first couple of months of 2019.

Happy Christmas everyone and my best wishes for a prosperous and healthy 2019.

Alex Bertolotti

Alex Bertolotti | Partner
Profile | Email | +44 (0)7525 298694

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