Volatile equity markets and interest rates have dramatically affected the value of assets and liabilities for Canadian life insurance companies, more so than a move to new accounting practices.

In a special report, A.M. Best Co. concluded that the sharp decline in income and consequent drop in regulatory capital reported by some Canadian companies was a result of mark-to-market accounting already in place rather than conversion to Canadian International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS-C).

The Canadian Accounting Standards Board (AcSB) requires IFRS-C reporting for interim and annual financial statements relating to annual periods beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2011, according to A.M. Best. However, Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (CGAAP) continues to be acceptable for investment companies or segregated accounts of Canadian life insurers.

The goal of IFRS-C establish consistent, comparable reporting standards that align across all accounting regimes globally, the release says, which could offer an improved basis for decision making for businesses, investors, regulators and rating agencies.

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