IFRS 17: Scope and Unit of Account
In 2017, the IASB issued the new comprehensive insurance accounting standard IFRS 17, amendments followed in 2020. It is to be applied in the EU from 1 January 2023 onwards, with the transition date on 1 January 2022. The first step of applying IFRS 17 is to identify the contract in the sense of IFRS 17, its unit of account, and to determine whether it is in the scope of IFRS 17.
As first step in applying IFRSs to contracts which potentially might qualify to be in the scope of IFRS 17, it is necessary to identify the potential unit of account under IFRS 17, as referred to as “contract” under IFRS 17, which is the basis of considering whether it is within the scope of IFRS 17. We will discuss the considerations to be made in identifying the unit of account, starting from the legal contract, the need to combine legal contracts or separate components of a legal contract to achieve a unit which is in line with substance over form. Further we will discuss the exclusion of non-substantive rights or obligations, i.e. cash flows outside the current contract boundary. On that basis, the scope definition of an insurance contract and other contracts within the scope of IFRS 17, as well the scope exclusions are applied.