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The IFRS Interpretations Committee (Committee) discussed the following matter and tentatively decided not to add a standard-setting project to the work plan. The Committee will reconsider this tentative decision, including the reasons for not adding a standard-setting project, at a future meeting. The Committee invites comments on the tentative agenda decision. All comments will be on the public record and posted on our website unless a respondent requests confidentiality and we grant that request. We do not normally grant such requests unless they are supported by good reason, for example, commercial confidence.

Tentative Agenda Decision

The Committee received a request about a group of annuity contracts. The request asked how an entity determines the amount of the contractual service margin to recognise in profit or loss in a period because of the transfer of insurance coverage for survival in that period.

Fact pattern

The request described a group of annuity contracts under which the policyholder of each contract:

  1. pays the premium upfront and has no right to cancel the contract or seek a refund;
  2. receives a periodic payment from the start of the annuity period for as long as the policyholder survives (for example, a fixed amount of CU100 for each year that the policyholder survives); and
  3. receives no other services under the contract (for example, no other types of insurance coverage or investment-return service).

The fact pattern referred to groups of contracts for which the annuity period starts immediately after contract inception ('immediate annuity') and also those for which the annuity period starts on a specified date after contract inception ('deferred annuity')—for example, a contract entered into in 2022 for which the annuity period starts in 2042.

Applicable requirements in IFRS 17

Paragraph 44(e) of IFRS 17 requires an entity to adjust the carrying amount of the contractual service margin for the amount recognised as insurance revenue because of the transfer of insurance contract services in the period, determined by allocating the contractual service margin over the current and remaining coverage period applying paragraph B119 of IFRS 17.

Paragraph B119 of IFRS 17 states that an entity recognises in profit or loss in each period an amount of the contractual service margin to reflect the insurance contract services provided under the group of insurance contracts in that period. The amount is determined by:

  1. identifying the coverage units in the group. The number of coverage units in a group is the quantity of insurance contract services provided by the contracts in the group, determined by considering for each contract the quantity of the benefits provided under a contract and its expected coverage period.
  2. allocating the contractual service margin at the end of the period equally to each coverage unit provided in the current period and expected to be provided in the future.
  3. recognising in profit or loss the amount allocated to coverage units provided in the period.

Methods for applying the requirements to the fact pattern

The request sets out two methods of determining, for each contract in the group, the quantity of the benefits of insurance coverage provided in the current period and expected to be provided in the future.

Method 1

Current period Expected to be provided in the future
Determined based on the annuity payment the policyholder is able to validly claim in the current period. Determined based on the present value of the annuity payments the policyholder is expected to be able to validly claim in the future until the end of the coverage period (the balance of the expected future annuity payments as at the end of the current period).


Method 2

Current period Expected to be provided in the future
Determined based on the total of: i. the annuity payment the policyholder is able to validly claim in the current period, and ii. the present value of the annuity payments the policyholder is expected to be able to validly claim in the future until the end of the coverage period (the balance of the expected future annuity payments as at the end of the current period).  Determined based on the present value of the balances of the expected future annuity payments as at the beginning of each future period, until the end of the coverage period.


Applying paragraph B119 of IFRS 17

Applying paragraph B119(a) of IFRS 17, an entity:

  1. identifies the insurance contract services to be provided under the group of contracts. In the fact pattern described in the request, insurance coverage for survival is the only insurance contract service provided under the group of contracts.
  2. considers the expected coverage period for each contract in the group. In the fact pattern described in the request, the expected coverage period would reflect the entity’s expectations of how long the policyholder will survive.
  3. considers the quantity of the benefits provided under each contract in the group.

IFRS 17 does not prescribe a method for determining the quantity of the benefits provided under a contract. Instead, an entity is required to use a method that meets the principle in paragraph B119 of reflecting the insurance contract services provided in each period. Different methods may achieve that principle depending on the facts and circumstances.

The definitions of the liability for incurred claims and the liability for remaining coverage in Appendix A to IFRS 17 describe insurance coverage as ‘an entity’s obligation to investigate and pay valid claims for insured events’. In addition, paragraphs BC140 and BC141 of the Basis for Conclusions on IFRS 17 explain that an entity can accept insurance risk before it is obliged to perform the insurance coverage service. Therefore, in determining the quantity of the benefits of insurance coverage provided under a contract, an entity considers (a) the periods in which it has an obligation to pay a valid claim if an insured event occurs; and (b) the amount of the claim if a valid claim is made.

The Committee observed that, under the contractual terms of the annuity contracts described in the request, an entity is obliged to pay a periodic amount (CU100 in the example) from the start of the annuity period for each year of the policyholder’s survival (the insured event). Survival in one year does not oblige the entity to pay amounts that compensate the policyholder for surviving in future years; that is, claim amounts payable to the policyholder in future years are contingent on the policyholder surviving in those future years.

The Committee’s conclusion

The Committee concluded that, in applying IFRS 17 to determine the quantity of the benefits of insurance coverage for survival provided under each annuity contract, a method based on:

  1. the amount of the annuity payment the policyholder is able to validly claim (Method 1) meets the principle in paragraph B119 of IFRS 17 of reflecting the insurance coverage provided in each period by:
    1. assigning a quantity of the benefits only to periods for which the entity has an obligation to investigate and pay valid claims for the insured event (survival of the policyholder); and
    2. aligning the quantity of the benefits provided in a period with the amount the policyholder is able to validly claim in each period.
  2. the present value of expected future annuity payments (Method 2) does not meet the principle in paragraph B119 of IFRS 17 of reflecting the insurance coverage provided in each period because it would:
    1. assign a quantity of the benefits to periods for which the entity has no obligation to investigate and pay valid claims for the insured event (for example, to the deferral period of a deferred annuity contract); and
    2. misrepresent the quantity of the benefits provided in a period by considering amounts the policyholder is able to claim and benefit from only in future periods.

The request asked only about the recognition of the contractual service margin in profit or loss. For the annuity contracts described in the request, the entity accepts insurance risk related to the uncertainty about how long the policyholder will survive. The Committee noted that the entity would apply other requirements in IFRS 17 to recognise in profit or loss—separately from the contractual service margin—the risk adjustment for non-financial risk, representing the entity’s compensation for bearing insurance risk and other non-financial risks. The Committee did not discuss these other requirements.

Under a group of annuity contracts, an entity could provide other insurance contract services to policyholders in addition to insurance coverage for survival—for example, insurance coverage for death in a deferral period or an investment-return service. The conclusion in this [draft] agenda decision applies to insurance coverage for survival, regardless of other services provided. If the contracts provide other insurance contract services, the entity would also need to consider the pattern of transfer of those services to the policyholder.

The Committee concluded that the principles and requirements in IFRS Accounting Standards provide an adequate basis for an issuer of a group of annuity contracts as described in the request to determine the amount of the contractual service margin to recognise in profit or loss in a period because of the transfer of insurance coverage for survival in that period. Consequently, the Committee [decided] not to add a standard-setting project to the work plan.

The deadline for commenting on the tentative agenda decision is 23 May 2022. The Committee will consider all comments received in writing by that date; agenda papers analysing comments received will include analysis only of comments received by that date.