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IFRS 4 Insurance contracts

IFRS 4 Insurance Contracts provides guidance on the accounting treatment of all insurance contracts except for specific contracts covered by other standards. The standard is withdrawn for periods starting on or after 1 January 2023 when IFRS 4 is superseded by IFRS 17 Insurance Contracts.

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IFRS 4 is not included in the 2023 Issued Standards because the replacement standard, IFRS 17, is included instead.


IFRS 4 applies to virtually all insurance and reinsurance contracts that an entity issues and to reinsurance contracts that it holds. An insurance contract is a contract under which the insurer accepts significant risk from the policyholder by agreeing to compensate them if a specified uncertain future event adversely affects the policyholder.


  • prohibits provisions for possible claims under contracts not in existence at the reporting date;
  • requires a test for the adequacy of recognised insurance liabilities;
  • requires an impairment test for reinsurance assets;
  • requires an insurer to keep insurance liabilities in its statement of financial position (balance sheet) until they are discharged, cancelled or expire;
  • prohibits the offsetting of insurance liabilities against related reinsurance assets.

The IFRS also prohibits the introduction of the following practices although allows their continued use where used previously:

  • measuring insurance liabilities on an undiscounted basis;
  • measuring contractual rights to future investment management fees at an amount that exceeds their fair value;
  • using non-uniform accounting policies for the insurance liabilities of subsidiaries.

A timeline of updates to IFRS 4, from its initial publication on 31 March 2004 to withdrawal of the standard on 1 January 2023, is available on the archived version of this page.

Recent amendments

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These resources are available exclusively to Corporate Reporting Faculty subscribers, ICAEW members and students.

UK reduced disclosures – FRS 101

UK qualifying parents and subsidiaries can take advantage of FRS 101 Reduced Disclosure Framework. Our FRS 101 page gives more information on which entities qualify and the criteria to be met.

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These resources are available exclusively to Corporate Reporting Faculty subscribers, ICAEW members and students.

ICAEW factsheets and guides

The Corporate Reporting Faculty's annual IFRS factsheets provide a more detailed discussion of recent IFRS amendments.

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