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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 was published in March 2004 and is effective from 1 January 2005. Withdrawn for periods starting on or after 1 January 2023 when IFRS 4 is superseded by IFRS 17 Insurance Contracts.

IFRS 4 summary and timeline

Looking for the synopsis? Our IFRS 4 summary and timeline are now on a separate page, featuring information on current proposals and a timeline of IASB updates.

Which version of the standard?

Financial Reporting Faculty members have unlimited online access to the consolidated edition of IFRS and amendments through the IASB's eIFRS service. Please log into eIFRS to access electronic versions of the standards. Or find out more about how to join the faculty.

The ICAEW Library & Information Service also holds print versions of the IFRS standards. Contact us by telephone on +44 (0)20 7920 8620, by web chat or by email at library@icaew.com

UK reduced disclosures

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

Amendments to the standard

Paragraph 4(a) of IFRS 4 states that entities shall not recognise liabilities for future claims if those claims arise under contracts that do not exist at a period end. This paragraph is amended to state that this is the case unless otherwise required by the regulatory framework applied to the entity, and that the presentation of any such liabilities should follow the requirements of Company Law.

Disclosure exemptions

There are no disclosure exemptions from IFRS 4.

ICAEW guidance and commentary

Annual factsheets

These exclusive factsheets, produced annually by the Financial Reporting Faculty for its members, highlight all new and modified requirements for preparers of IFRS accounts. Each annual edition focuses primarily on new requirements with mandatory application for preparers with periods beginning on or after 1 January of that year.

2021 IFRS accounts
Financial Reporting Faculty, 10 August 2021

2020 IFRS accounts
Financial Reporting Faculty, updated August 2021

2018 IFRS accounts
Financial Reporting Faculty, 6 August 2018

2017 IFRS Accounts
Financial Reporting Faculty, 30 April 2018
Provides more information on amendment 4 above, Applying IFRS 9 with IFRS 4.


Access to eBooks is only available to ICAEW members and ACA students – please log in to view these titles.

Insurance contracts (IFRS 4)
EY, International GAAP 2021 (2020)
The latest edition of this comprehensive guide offers a global perspective on complex technical accounting issues to help practitioners interpret and implement IFRS. It contains worked examples and illustrations from published financial reports of major listed companies from around the world. This chapter discusses IFRS 4.

If you have any difficulties using these eBooks, please see our Help and support advice or contact library@icaew.com.

Example accounts

IFRS model accounts and disclosure checklists
Online disclosure checklists, general IFRS illustrative statements and compliance questionnaires collected by the ICAEW Library.

Company Reporting (Croner-i)

The ICAEW Library can provide examples of real-life company reports to help keep you up-to-date with reporting practices and benchmark your financial reporting compliance. Company Reporting analyses current IFRS disclosures from public companies, organised by industry sector. It also provides detailed monthly Common Practice reports on specific issues.

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7920 8620, by web chat, or at library@icaew.com to get any documents from Company Reporting.

External resources

Some guides and comparisons that we link to may pre-date the latest amendments to this standard. While these resources contain useful information, please treat them with appropriate caution.

Facing the challenge: Business implications of IFRS 4, 9 and Solvency II for insurers
Report issued by Ernst & Young in January 2012 describing the impact of IFRS 4 Phase II, IFRS 9 and Solvency II implementation.

Seeing risk from the inside: The impact of IFRS 7 and revised IFRS 4 on insurers' financial reporting
Paper published by PwC in May 2007 focusing on the impact of IFRS on insurers and the users of their accounts.

Implementing IFRS in the Insurance Industry
Survey from KPMG conducted in 2006 looking at the views of 47 insurers on the process of converting to IFRS. Published in July 2006.

Further reading

Manuals and handbooks

The ICAEW Library stocks the latest IFRS handbooks and manuals. You can browse all our books on IFRS 4 and insurance accounting or request any of the following popular titles by contacting us on +44 (0)20 7920 8620, by web chat, or at library@icaew.com

Insights into IFRS 2020–21
KPMG, Sweet and Maxwell, 2020
Manual providing practical guidance with an emphasis on the real-life application of IFRS, with examples based on actual questions that have arisen in practice around the world.

Wiley IFRS 2020: Interpretation and application of IFRS standards
PKF, Wiley, 2020
Reference manual providing full coverage of the latest standards and thorough guidance for implementation, featuring practical tools and insight from a practitioner's perspective.

Manual of accounting: IFRS supplement 2020
PwC, LexisNexis, 2019
Practical guidance on the standards and the accounting requirements of UK law applicable to UK users of IFRS. 

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Ask ICAEW Technical Advisory Service

Get an opinion from the experts. Our experienced technical advisors can help you with your IFRS questions and offer practical advice. Call the advisory helpline on +44 (0)1908 248 250. 

Find out more about the Technical and ethics advisory helpline, including our opening hours.

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