Montana Code Annotated 2017



Part 2. Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Associations

Assessments -- Abatement -- Basis For Ratesetting

33-10-227. Assessments -- abatement -- basis for ratesetting. (1) For the purpose of providing the funds necessary to carry out the powers and duties of the association, the board of directors shall assess the member insurers, separately for each account, at the times and for the amounts as the board finds necessary.

(2) Assessments are due not less than 30 days after prior written notice to the member insurers. An unpaid assessment accrues interest at 10% a year on and after the due date. The association may also impose any charges on a late-paid assessment if the plan of operation provides for late-paid assessments.

(3) There are two classes of assessments:

(a) Class A assessments must be authorized and called for the purpose of meeting administrative and legal costs and other expenses. Class A assessments may be authorized and called whether or not related to a particular impaired or insolvent insurer.

(b) Class B assessments must be authorized and called to the extent necessary to carry out the powers and duties of the association under 33-10-205 with regard to an impaired or insolvent insurer.

(4) (a) The amount of any Class A assessment for each account must be determined by the board and may be authorized and called on a pro rata or non-pro rata basis. If pro rata, the board may provide that the amount be credited against future Class B assessments. The total of all non-pro rata assessments may not exceed $300 for each member insurer in any 1 calendar year. The amount of any Class B assessment must be allocated for assessment purposes among the accounts pursuant to an allocation formula that may be based on the premiums or reserves of the impaired or insolvent insurer or any other standard determined by the board in its sole discretion as being fair and reasonable under the circumstances.

(b) Class B assessments against member insurers for each account and subaccount must be in the proportion that the premiums received on business in this state by each assessed member insurer on policies or contracts covered by each account or subaccount bear to the premiums received on business in this state by all assessed member insurers. This ratio must be calculated from information that is available for the 3 most recent calendar years preceding the year in which the insurer became insolvent or, in the case of an assessment with respect to an impaired insurer, the 3 most recent calendar years for which information is available preceding the year in which the insurer became impaired.

(c) Assessments for funds to meet the requirements of the association with respect to an impaired or insolvent insurer may not be authorized and called until necessary to implement the purposes of this part. Classification of assessments under subsection (3) and computation of assessments under this subsection (4) must be made with a reasonable degree of accuracy, recognizing that exact determinations may not always be possible. The association shall notify each member insurer of its anticipated pro rata share of an authorized assessment not yet called within 180 days after the assessment is authorized.

(5) The association may abate or defer, in whole or in part, the assessment of a member insurer if, in the opinion of the board, payment of the assessment would endanger the ability of the member insurer to fulfill its contractual obligations.

 In the event an assessment against a member insurer is abated or deferred, in whole or in part, the amount by which the assessment is abated or deferred may be assessed against the other member insurers in a manner consistent with the basis for assessments set forth in this section. Once the conditions that caused a deferral have been removed or rectified, the member insurer shall pay all assessments that were deferred pursuant to a repayment plan approved by the association.

(6) (a) (i) Subject to the provisions of subsection (6)(a)(ii), the total of all assessments authorized by the association with respect to a member insurer for each subaccount of the life insurance and annuity account and for the health account may not in 1 calendar year exceed 2% of that member insurer's average annual premiums received in this state on the policies and contracts covered by the subaccount or account during the 3 calendar years preceding the year in which the insurer became an impaired or insolvent insurer.

(ii) If two or more assessments are authorized in 1 calendar year with respect to insurers that become impaired or insolvent in different calendar years, the average annual premiums for purposes of the aggregate assessment percentage limitation referenced in subsection (6)(a)(i) must be equal and limited to the higher of the 3-year average annual premiums for the applicable account or subaccount as calculated pursuant to this section.

(iii) If the maximum assessment, together with the other assets of the association in an account, does not provide in 1 year in either account an amount sufficient to carry out the responsibilities of the association, the necessary additional funds must be assessed as soon as permitted by this part.

(b) The board may provide in the plan of operation a method of allocating funds among claims, whether relating to one or more impaired or insolvent insurers, for use when the board determines that the maximum assessment is insufficient to cover anticipated claims.

(c) If the maximum assessment for a subaccount of the life insurance and annuity account in 1 year does not provide an amount sufficient to carry out the responsibilities of the association, then pursuant to subsection (4)(b), the board shall assess the other subaccounts of the life insurance and annuity account for the necessary additional amount, subject to the maximum assessment stated in subsection (6)(a).

(7) The board may, by an equitable method as established in the plan of operation, refund to member insurers, in proportion to the contribution of each insurer to that account, the amount by which the assets of the account exceed the amount the board finds is necessary to carry out during the coming year the obligations of the association with regard to that account, including assets accruing from assignment, subrogation, and net realized gains and income from investments. A reasonable amount may be retained in any account to provide funds for the continuing expenses of the association and for future losses.

(8) It is proper for any member insurer, in determining its premium rates and policyowner dividends as to any kind of insurance within the scope of this part, to consider the amount reasonably necessary to meet its assessment obligations under this part.

(9) The association shall issue to each insurer paying an assessment under this part a certificate of contribution, in a form prescribed by the commissioner, for the amount paid. All outstanding certificates must be of equal dignity and priority without reference to amounts or dates of issue. A certificate of contribution may be shown by the insurer in its financial statement as an asset in that form and for the amount, if any, and period of time that the commissioner may approve.

(10) (a) A member insurer that wishes to protest all or a part of an assessment shall pay when due the full amount of the assessment as set forth in the notice provided by the association. The payment must be available to meet association obligations during the pendency of the protest or any subsequent appeal. A written statement must accompany the payment and must indicate that the payment is made under protest and include a brief description of the grounds for the protest.

(b) Within 60 days after the payment of an assessment under protest by a member insurer, the association shall notify the member insurer in writing of its determination with respect to the protest unless the association notifies the member insurer that additional time is required to resolve the issue raised by the protest.

(c) Within 30 days after a final decision has been made, the association shall notify the protesting member insurer in writing of that final decision. Within 60 days of receipt of notice of the final decision, the protesting member insurer may appeal that final action to the commissioner.

(d) Instead of rendering a final decision with respect to a protest based on a question regarding the assessment base, the association may refer protests to the commissioner for a final decision, with or without a recommendation from the association.

(e) If the protest or appeal of the assessment is upheld, the amount paid in error or excess must be returned to the member insurer. Interest on a refund due to a protesting member insurer must be paid at the rate actually earned by the association.

(11) The association may request information of member insurers to aid in the exercise of its powers and duties under this section. Member insurers shall promptly comply with a request from the association.

History: En. 40-5809 by Sec. 9, Ch. 245, L. 1974; R.C.M. 1947, 40-5809; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 576, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 69, Ch. 596, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 19, Ch. 195, L. 2003; amd. Sec. 12, Ch. 27, L. 2011.