West Virginia Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association

Contact Information

West Virginia Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association
PO Box 816
Huntington, WV 25712
(p) 304.733.6904 (f) 304.733.6905
Association Web site: http://www.wvlifega.org
State Insurance Department: http://www.wvinsurance.gov

Law Summaries Report

[ Current as of January 01, 2020 ] ]

Coverages

Covered Contracts

§33-26A-3(b)(1). This article shall provide coverage to the persons specified in §33-26A-3(a) of this code for policies or contracts of direct, nongroup life insurance, health insurance (which for the purposes of this article includes health maintenance organization subscriber contracts and certificates), or annuities, and supplemental contracts to any of these, for certificates under direct group policies and contracts, and for unallocated annuity contracts issued by member insurers, except as limited by this article. Annuity contracts and certificates under group annuity contracts include, but are not limited to, guaranteed investment contracts, deposit administration contracts, unallocated funding agreements, allocated funding agreements, structured settlement annuities, annuities issued in connection with government lotteries, and any immediate or deferred annuity contracts

Non-Covered Contracts

§33-26A-3(b)(2). Except as otherwise provided in §33-26A-3(b)(3) of this code, this article shall not provide coverage for: (A) A portion of a policy or contract not guaranteed by the member insurer, or under which the risk is borne by the policy or contract owner; (B) A policy or contract of reinsurance, unless assumption certificates have been issued pursuant to the reinsurance policy or contract; (C) A portion of a policy or contract to the extent that the rate of interest on which it is based, or the interest rate, crediting rate, or similar factor determined by use of an index or other external reference stated in the policy or contract employed in calculating returns or changes in value: (i) Averaged over the period of four years prior to the date on which the member insurer becomes an impaired or insolvent insurer under this article, whichever is earlier, exceeds the rate of interest determined by subtracting two percentage points from Moody’s Corporate Bond Yield Average averaged for that same four-year period or for such lesser period if the policy or contract was issued less than four years before the member insurer becomes an impaired or insolvent insurer under this article, whichever is earlier; and (ii) On and after the date on which the member insurer becomes an impaired or insolvent insurer under this article, whichever is earlier, exceeds the rate of interest determined by subtracting three percentage points from Moody’s Corporate Bond Yield Average as most recently available; (D) A portion of a policy or contract issued to a plan or program of an employer, association, or other person to provide life, health, or annuity benefits to its employees, members, or others, to the extent that the plan or program is self-funded or uninsured including, but not limited to, benefits payable by an employer, association, or other person under: (i) A multiple employer welfare arrangement as defined in section 514 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. §1144, as amended; (ii) A minimum premium group insurance plan; (iii) A stop-loss group insurance plan; or (iv) An administrative services only contract; (E) A portion of a policy or contract to the extent that it provides for: (i) Dividends or experience rating credits; (ii) Voting rights; or (iii) Payment of any fees or allowances to any person, including the policy or contract owner, in connection with the service to or administration of the policy or contract; (F) A policy or contract issued in this state by a member insurer at a time when it was not licensed or did not have a certificate of authority to issue the policy or contract in this state; (G) An unallocated annuity contract issued to or in connection with a benefit plan protected under the federal pension benefit guaranty corporation, regardless of whether the federal pension benefit guaranty corporation has yet become liable to make any payments with respect to the benefit plan; (H) A portion of any unallocated annuity contract that is not issued to or in connection with a specific employee, union, or association of natural persons benefit plan or a government lottery; (I) A portion of a policy or contract to the extent that the assessments required by §33-26A-9 of this code with respect to the policy or contract are preempted by federal or state law; (J) An obligation that does not arise under the express written terms of the policy or contract issued by the member insurer to the enrollee, certificate holder, contract owner, or policy owner, including without limitation: (i) Claims based on marketing materials; (ii) Claims based on side letters, riders, or other documents that were issued by the member insurer without meeting applicable policy or contract form filing or approval requirements; (iii) Misrepresentations of or regarding policy or contract benefits; (iv) Extra-contractual claims; or (v) A claim for penalties or consequential or incidental damages; (K) A contractual agreement that establishes the member insurer’s obligations to provide a book value accounting guaranty for defined contribution benefit plan participants by reference to a portfolio of assets that is owned by the benefit plan or its trustee, which in each case is not an affiliate of the member insurer; (L) A portion of a policy or contract to the extent it provides for interest or other changes in value to be determined by the use of an index or other external reference stated in the policy or contract, but which have not been credited to the policy or contract, or as to which the policy or contract owner’s rights are subject to forfeiture, as of the date the member insurer becomes an impaired or insolvent insurer under this article, whichever is earlier. If a policy’s or contract’s interest or changes in value are credited less frequently than annually, then for purposes of determining the values that have been credited and are not subject to forfeiture, the interest or change in value determined by using the procedures defined in the policy or contract will be credited as if the contractual date of crediting interest or changing values was the date of impairment or insolvency, whichever is earlier, and will not be subject to forfeiture; (M) A policy or contract providing any hospital, medical, prescription drug, or other health care benefits pursuant to Part C or Part D of Subchapter XVIII, Chapter 7 of Title 42 of the United States Code (commonly known as Medicare Part C & D), or Subchapter XIX, Chapter 7 of Title 42 of the United States Code (commonly known as Medicaid), or any regulations issued pursuant thereto; or (N) Structured settlement annuity benefits to which a payee (or beneficiary) has transferred his or her rights in a structured settlement factoring transaction as defined in 26 U.S.C. § 5891, regardless of whether the transaction occurred before or after that section became effective.

Non-Resident Coverage

§33-26A-3(a)(2)(B). Yes. Covers nonresidents, but only under all of the following conditions: (i) The member insurer that issued the policies or contracts is domiciled in this state; (ii) The states in which the persons reside have associations similar to the association created by this article; and (iii) The persons are not eligible for coverage by an association in any other state because the insurer or the health maintenance organization was not licensed in the state at the time specified in the state’s guaranty association law.

Benefit Limits

§33-26A-3(c)The benefits that the association may become liable for shall in no event exceed the lesser of: (1) The contractual obligations for which the member insurer is liable or would have been liable if it were not an impaired or insolvent insurer; or (2) (A) With respect to one life, regardless of the number of policies or contracts: (i) $300,000 in life insurance death benefits, but no more than $100,000 in net cash surrender and net cash withdrawal values for life insurance; (ii) For health insurance benefits: (I) $100,000 for coverages not defined as disability income insurance or health benefit plans or long-term care insurance as defined in §33-15A-4 of this code, including any net cash surrender and net cash withdrawal values; (II) $300,000 for disability income insurance, and $300,000 for long-term care insurance as defined in §33-15A-4 of this code; (III) $500,000 for health benefit plans; (iii) $250,000 in the present value of annuity benefits, including net cash surrender and net cash withdrawal values; or (B) With respect to each individual participating in a governmental retirement plan established under section 401, 403(b), or 457 of the United States Internal Revenue Code covered by an unallocated annuity contract or the beneficiaries of each such individual if deceased, in the aggregate, $250,000 in present value annuity benefits, including net cash surrender and net cash withdrawal values; (C) With respect to each payee of a structured settlement annuity, or beneficiary or beneficiaries of the payee if deceased, $250,000 in present value annuity benefits, in the aggregate, including net cash surrender and net cash withdrawal values, if any; (D) However, in no event shall the association be obligated to cover more than: (i) An aggregate of $300,000 in benefits with respect to any one life under §33-26A-3(c)(2)(A), §33-26A-3(c)(2)(B), or §33-26A-3(c)(2)(C) of this code except with respect to benefits for health benefit plans under §33-26A-3(c)(2)(A)(ii) of this code, in which case the aggregate liability of the association shall not exceed $500,000 with respect to any one individual; or (ii) With respect to one owner of multiple nongroup policies of life insurance, whether the policy or contract owner is an individual, firm, corporation, or other person, and whether the persons insured are officers, managers, employees, or other persons, more than $5 million in benefits, regardless of the number of policies and contracts held by the owner. (E) With respect to either one contract owner provided coverage under §33-26A-3(a)(3)(B) of this code, or one plan sponsor whose plans own directly or in trust one or more unallocated annuity contracts not included in §33-26A-3(c)(2)(B) of this code, $5 million in benefits, irrespective of the number of contracts with respect to the contract owner or plan sponsor. However, in the case where one or more unallocated annuity contracts are covered contracts under this article and are owned by a trust or other entity for the benefit of two or more plan sponsors, coverage shall be afforded by the association if the largest interest in the trust or entity owning the contract or contracts is held by a plan sponsor whose principal place of business is in this state. In no event shall the association be obligated to cover more than $5 million in benefits with respect to all of these unallocated contracts.

Triggers

Discretionary Triggers

§33-26A-8(a). If a member insurer is an impaired insurer. (Amended effective 7.10.09).

Mandatory Triggers

§33-26A-8(b). If a member insurer is an insolvent insurer. (Amended effective 7.10.09).

Foreign Triggers

No separate provision.

"Impaired Insurer"

§33-26A-5(11). “Impaired insurer” means a member insurer which, after the effective date of this article, is not an insolvent insurer, and (1) is deemed by the commissioner to be potentially unable to fulfill its contractual obligations or (2) is placed under an order of rehabilitation or conservation by a court of competent jurisdiction. (Amended effective 7.10.09).

"Insolvent Insurer"

§33-26A-5(12) “Insolvent insurer” means a member insurer which, after the effective date of this article, is placed under an order of liquidation by a court of competent jurisdiction with a finding of insolvency. (Amended effective 7.10.09).

"Member Insurer"

§33-26A-5(13) “Member insurer” means any insurer or health maintenance organization licensed or which holds a certificate of authority to transact in this state any kind of insurance or health maintenance organization business for which coverage is provided under §33-26A-3 of this code, and includes an insurer or health maintenance organization whose license or certificate of authority in this state may have been suspended, revoked, not renewed, or voluntarily withdrawn, and includes nonprofit service corporations as defined in §33-24-1 et seq. of this code and health care corporations as defined in §33-25-1 et seq. of this code, but does not include: (A) A fraternal benefit society; (B) A mandatory state pooling plan; (C) A mutual assessment company or any entity that operates on an assessment basis; (D) An insurance exchange; (E) An organization which has a certificate or license limited to the issuance of charitable gift annuities under §33-13B-1 et seq. of this code; or (F) Any entity similar to any of the above.

Account Structure

§33-26A-6(a). For purposes of administration and assessment, the association shall maintain the following two accounts: (1) The life insurance and annuity account which includes the following subaccounts: (A) Life insurance account; (B) Annuity account which shall include annuity contracts owned by a governmental retirement plan or its trustee established under section 401, 403(b), or 457 of the United States Internal Revenue Code, but shall otherwise exclude unallocated annuities; and (C) Unallocated annuity account which shall exclude contracts owned by a governmental retirement plan or its trustee established under section 401, 403(b), or 457 of the United States Internal Revenue Code. (2) The health account.

Assessments

Assessment Limits

§33-26A-9(e)(1). (A) Subject to the provisions of §33-26A-9(e)(1)(B) of this code, the total of all assessments authorized by the association with respect to a member insurer for each subaccount of the life and annuity account and for the health account shall not in any one calendar year exceed two percent of such insurer’s average annual premiums received in this state on the policies and contracts covered by the subaccount or account during the three calendar years preceding the year in which the member insurer became an impaired or insolvent insurer.

Assessment Classes

§33-26A-9(b). There shall be two classes of assessments, as follows: (1) Class A assessments shall 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. (2) Class B assessments shall be authorized and called to the extent necessary to carry out the powers and duties of the association under §33-26A-8 of this code with regard to an impaired or insolvent insurer.

Interest Rate Adjustments

§33-26A-3(b)(2)(C) Guaranty Association excludes from coverage: A portion of a policy or contract to the extent that the rate of interest on which it is based, or the interest rate, crediting rate, or similar factor determined by use of an index or other external reference stated in the policy or contract employed in calculating returns or changes in value: (i) Averaged over the period of four years prior to the date on which the member insurer becomes an impaired or insolvent insurer under this article, whichever is earlier, exceeds the rate of interest determined by subtracting two percentage points from Moody’s Corporate Bond Yield Average averaged for that same four-year period or for such lesser period if the policy or contract was issued less than four years before the member insurer becomes an impaired or insolvent insurer under this article, whichever is earlier; and (ii) On and after the date on which the member insurer becomes an impaired or insolvent insurer under this article, whichever is earlier, exceeds the rate of interest determined by subtracting three percentage points from Moody’s Corporate Bond Yield Average as most recently available;

Tax Offsets

No provision.

Definition of Premium

§ 33-26A-5 (18) “Premiums” means amounts or considerations (by whatever name called) received on covered policies or contracts less premiums, considerations, and deposits, and less dividends and experience credits thereon. “Premiums” does not include amounts or considerations received for policies or contracts or for the portions of policies or contracts for which coverage is not provided under §33-26A-3(b) of this code, except that assessable premium shall not be reduced on account of §33-26A-3(b)(2)(C) of this code relating to interest limitations and §33-26A-3(c)(2) of this code relating to limitations with respect to any one individual, one participant, and one policy or contract owner. Premiums shall not include: (A) Premiums in excess of $5 million on any unallocated annuity contract not issued under a government retirement plan or its trustee established under sections 401, 403(b), or 457 of the United States Internal Revenue Code; or (B) With respect to multiple nongroup policies of life insurance owned by one owner, whether the policy or contract owner is an individual, firm, corporation, or other person, and whether the persons insured are officers, managers, employees, or other persons, premiums in excess of $5 million with respect to these policies or contracts, regardless of the number of policies or contracts held by the owner.

Advertising Prohibition

§ 33-26A-19. Prohibited advertisement of insurance guaranty association act in insurance sales; notice to policyholders (a) A person, including a member insurer, agent, or affiliate of a member insurer, shall not make, publish, disseminate, circulate, or place before the public, or cause directly or indirectly, to be made, published, disseminated, circulated, or placed before the public, in any newspaper, magazine, or other publication, or in the form of a notice, circular, pamphlet, letter or poster, or over any radio station or television station, or in any other way, any advertisement, announcement, or statement, written or oral, which uses the existence of the insurance guaranty association of this state for the purpose of sales, solicitation, or inducement to purchase any form of insurance or other coverage covered by the West Virginia Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association Act: Provided, That this section shall not apply to the association or any other entity which does not sell or solicit insurance or coverage by a health maintenance organization.

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