Insurers meeting IFRS disclosure challenge

The accounts of major global insurers – filed under International Financial
Reporting Standards – are now considerably longer and provide valuable new
information for users, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

But the Big Four firm’s survey also found that financial statements tended to
be less clear and harder to follow than before as a result of the
experimentation in implementing some of the changes and the different approaches
taken with regards to presentation.

Alex Finn, partner at PwC, said: ‘The huge increase in the length of the new
accounts is testament to the amount of extra work involved. And yet, there is a
great deal more work to come, given that IFRS is still only at an interim stage
for insurers and a harmonised standard for the valuation of liabilities has yet
to be finalised.

Finn said the PwC survey emphasised ‘how important it is for insurers to work
together to enhance the clarity, consistency and usability of their financial
statements, especially in areas where the new regime leaves insurers
substantially free to choose the nature or format of presentation’.

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Fiona Westwood of Smith and Williamson.