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Jan 9, 2008

IFRS 4 Insurance Contracts

(Edited by freelance Chinese translator li – English to Chinese translation or Chinese to English translation services- financial translation)

The objective of this IFRS is to specify the financial reporting for insurance contracts (保险合同)by any entity that issues such contracts (described in this IFRS as an insurer) until the Board completes the second phase of its project on insurance contracts. In particular, this IFRS requires:

(a) limited improvements to accounting by insurers(保险公司) for insurance contracts.

(b) disclosure that identifies and explains the amounts in an insurer’s financial statements arising from insurance contracts and helps users of those financial statements understand the amount, timing and uncertainty of future cash flows(未来现金流量) from insurance contracts.

An insurance contract is a contract under which one party (the insurer) accepts significant insurance risk from another party (the policyholder) by agreeing to compensate the policyholder(保险客户;被保险人) if a specified uncertain future event (the insured event) adversely affects the policyholder.

The IFRS applies to all insurance contracts (including reinsurance contracts) that an entity issues and to reinsurance contracts(再保险合同) that it holds, except for specified contracts covered by other IFRSs. It does not apply to other assets and liabilities of an insurer, such as financial assets(金融资产) and financial liabilities(金融债务) within the scope of IAS 39 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement. Furthermore, it does not address accounting by policyholders.

The IFRS exempts an insurer temporarily from some requirements of other IFRSs, including the requirement to consider the Framework in selecting accounting policies for insurance contracts. However, the IFRS:

(a) prohibits provisions(准备金) for possible claims under contracts that are not in existence at the reporting date (such as catastrophe and equalisation provisions).

(b) requires a test for the adequacy of recognised insurance liabilities(保险责任) and an impairment test for reinsurance assets(再保险资产).

(c) requires an insurer to keep insurance liabilities in its balance sheet until they are discharged or cancelled, or expire, and to present insurance liabilities without offsetting(抵消) them against related reinsurance assets.

The IFRS permits an insurer to change its accounting policies(会计政策) for insurance contracts only if, as a result, its financial statements present information that is more relevant and no less reliable, or more reliable and no less relevant. In particular, an insurer cannot introduce any of the following practices, although it may continue using accounting policies that involve them:

(a) measuring insurance liabilities on an undiscounted basis.

(b) measuring contractual rights to future investment management fees at an amount that exceeds their fair value as implied by a comparison with current fees charged by other market participants for similar services.

(c) using non-uniform(不统一;不一致) accounting policies for the insurance liabilities of subsidiaries.

The IFRS permits the introduction of an accounting policy that involves remeasuring designated insurance liabilities consistently in each period to reflect current market interest rates (and, if the insurer so elects, other current estimates and assumptions). Without this permission, an insurer would have been required to apply the change in accounting policies consistently to all similar liabilities.

The IFRS requires disclosure to help users understand:

(a) the amounts in the insurer’s financial statements that arise from insurance contracts.

(b) the amount, timing and uncertainty of future cash flows from insurance contracts.

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