FASB ISSUES PROPOSED CHANGES TO ACCOUNTING GUIDANCE FOR LONG-DURATION CONTRACTS ISSUED BY INSURANCE COMPANIES
Norwalk, CT, September 29, 2016—The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) today issued a proposed Accounting Standards Update (ASU) intended to improve financial reporting for insurance companies that issue long-duration contracts, such as life insurance, disability income, long-term care, and annuities. Stakeholders are encouraged to review and provide comments on the proposed ASU by December 15, 2016.
“During outreach on our project to consider potential improvements to the insurance accounting model, stakeholders identified specific areas of financial reporting related to long-duration contracts that could be improved,” stated FASB Chairman Russell G. Golden. “Based on that feedback, the Board developed the proposed ASU, which sets forth recommended, targeted improvements to enhance the quality of information provided to investors about these contracts.”
The Exposure Draft contains proposals for improving insurance accounting by:
- Improving the timeliness of recognizing changes in the liability for future policy benefits by requiring that updated assumptions be used to measure the liability
- Eliminating the usage of an asset rate (that is, an insurance company’s expected investment yield) to discount liability cash flows, and instead requiring that cash flows be discounted at a high-quality fixed-income instrument yield
- Simplifying and improving the accounting for certain options or guarantees in variable products (such as guaranteed minimum death, accumulation, income, and withdrawal benefits) by requiring those benefits to be measured at fair value instead of using two different measurement models.
- Simplifying the amortization of deferred acquisition costs, and
- Increasing transparency by improving the effectiveness of disclosures.
The Board will determine an effective date for the ASU after redeliberating comments received during the comment period and from the public roundtable meetings.
More information about the proposed ASU—including a FASB in Focus overview—is available at www.fasb.org.
About the Financial Accounting Standards Board
Established in 1973, the FASB is the independent, private-sector, not-for-profit organization based in Norwalk, Connecticut, that establishes financial accounting and reporting standards for public and private companies and not-for-profit organizations that follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The FASB is recognized by the Securities and Exchange Commission as the designated accounting standard setter for public companies. FASB standards are recognized as authoritative by many other organizations, including state Boards of Accountancy and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). The FASB develops and issues financial accounting standards through a transparent and inclusive process intended to promote financial reporting that provides useful information to investors and others who use financial reports. The Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) supports and oversees the FASB. For more information, visit www.fasb.org.