The International Accounting Standards Board has published its preliminary views on accounting for insurance contracts in a discussion paper.

For the next six months, the board will be soliciting public comment on its views. The board plans to develop an exposure draft of new standards for publication toward the end of 2008. Allowing for further consultation and review, the IASB expects to have a new standard in place for 2010.

The preliminary views are the latest step in an effort launched back in 2004, when the board established its Insurance Working Group, comprised of senior representatives of the insurance industry and other interested parties.

In a statement, IASB member Warren McGregor said that for several years, users of insurers’ financial statements have complained that insurance accounting standards vary widely by country. While the disclosure requirements in the existing “Insurance Contracts” standard exposed some of those problems, the standard is only an interim one.

In mid-May, the full text of the discussion paper will be available on the IASB’s Web site,

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