The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) say they might wait until the first half of 2012 to complete work on a new insurance contract accounting standard.

IASB, London, a group that sets international accounting standards, once hoped to have an insurance accounting standard ready by June.

But FASB, Norwalk, Conn., the group in charge of the U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), now has agreed to try to work toward developing a U.S. standard that wouldEarth be similar to, or even identical to, the IASB standard, and now the groups need more time to complete a draft and give interested parties in the United States a chance to comment on the draft, officials say.

IASB and FASB note that they have completed work on 5 major accounting projects, including a post-employment benefits project, since November 2010, and that they soon will be issuing fair value measurement requirements.

The boards now are focusing on the insurance standard project, a financial instruments accounting project, and a leasing and revenue recognition project.

The financial instruments project and the leasing project could be completed by the end of the year, officials say.

FASB Chairman Leslie Seidman says a new progress report released by IASB and FASB highlights

areas in which the groups already have improved standards and brought the U.S. and international standards closer together.

“We have also clarified our plan to continue to engage stakeholders in the remaining steps of the process, and give them an opportunity to review the draft standards before they are finalized,” Seidman says.

Earlier this year, U.S. insurers had suggested that the IASB and FASB insurance standards completion schedule had given them too little time to get a fair hearing for their views on standards proposals.

IASB and FASB have been conducting a survey to ask financial data users how they think the standards boards should go about setting standards project priorities.

In related news, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) staff says it will present a public accounting standards round table discussion July 7.

Participants will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating new IASB International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) into the financial reporting system for U.S. securities issuers.

The SEC event will feature panel of investors, a panel of executives from small public companies, and a panel of regulators.

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