An explicit, unbiased and probability-weighted estimate (ie expected value) of the present value of the future cash outflows minus the present value of the future cash inflows that will arise as the entity fulfils insurance contracts, including a risk adjustment for non-financial risk.
Cash flows within the boundary of an insurance contract are those that relate directly to the fulfilment of the contract, including those for which the entity has discretion over the amount or timing. IFRS 17 provides the following examples of such cash flows [IFRS 17 B65]:
- Premiums and related cash flows
- Claims and benefits, including reported claims not yet paid, incurred claims not yet reported and expected future claims within the contract boundary
- Payments to policyholders (or on behalf of policyholders) that vary depending on underlying items
- Payments to policyholders resulting from embedded derivatives, for example, options and guarantees
- An allocation of insurance acquisition cash flows attributable to the portfolio to which the contract belongs
- Claims handling costs
- Contractual benefit costs paid in kind
- Policy administration and maintenance costs, including recurring commissions that are expected to be paid to intermediaries
- Transaction-based taxes and levies (such as premium taxes)
- Payments by the insurer in a fiduciary capacity to meet tax obligations incurred by the policyholder, and related receipts
- Claim recoveries, such as salvage and subrogation (to the extent they are not recognised as separate assets)
- An allocation of fixed and variable overheads directly attributable to fulfilling insurance contracts. (Such overheads are allocated to groups of contracts using methods that are systematic and rational, and are consistently applied to all costs that have similar characteristics)
Any other costs that may be charged specifically to the policyholder under the terms of the contract
- Insurance acquisition cash flows are those arising from the cost of selling, underwriting and starting a group of insurance contracts that are directly attributable to the portfolio of insurance contracts to which the group belongs. Such cash flows include cash flows that are not directly attributable to individual contracts or groups of insurance contracts within the portfolio ([IFRS 17 Appendix A] – See IFRS Jargon).
- There is no restriction of insurance acquisition cash flows to only those resulting from successful efforts. Therefore, the directly attributable costs of an underwriter of a portfolio of motor insurance contracts, for example, need not be apportioned between costs for contracts issued and the cost of efforts that did not result in the issuance of a contract.
- IFRS 17 provides a list of cash flows that should not be included in cash flows that arise as an entity fulfils an existing insurance contract, these include, for example [IFRS 17 B66]:
- Investment returns (accounted for separately under applicable IFRSs)
- Cash flows (payments or receipts) that arise under reinsurance contracts held (accounted for separately)
- Cash flows that may arise from future insurance contracts, i.e., cash flows outside the boundary of existing contracts
- Cash flows relating to costs that cannot be directly attributed to the portfolio of insurance contracts that contain the contract, such as some product development and training costs; these are recognised in profit or loss when incurred
- Cash flows that arise from abnormal amounts of wasted labour or other resources that are used to fulfil the contract; such costs are recognised in profit or loss when incurred
- Income tax payments and receipts the insurer does not pay or receive in a fiduciary capacity
- Cash flows between different components of the reporting entity, such as policyholder and shareholder funds, if these cash flows do not change the amounts paid to policyholders
- Cash flows arising from components separated from the insurance contract and accounted for using other applicable IFRSs
An entity estimates future cash flows separately from other estimates, e.g., the risk adjustment for non-financial risk or the adjustment to reflect the time value of money and financial risks. There is an exception if the entity uses the fair value of a replicating portfolio of assets to measure some of the cash flows that arise from insurance contracts. This will combine the cash flows and the adjustment to reflect the time value of money and financial risks. The fair value of a replicating portfolio of assets reflects both the expected present value of cash flows from the portfolio of assets and the associated risk.
|Note: Change in practice
Some existing accounting practices incorporate implicit margins for risk in a best estimate liability. For example, determining the liability for incurred claims based on an undiscounted management best estimate, which often incorporates conservatism or implicit prudence. IFRS 17 appears to require a change to this practice such that incurred claims liabilities must be measured at the discounted probability-weighted expected present value of the cash flows, plus an explicit risk adjustment. Entities will need to be more transparent in providing information about how liabilities related to insurance contracts are made up.