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2000 Minnesota Statutes

This is a historical version of this statute section. Also view the most recent published version.

61B.19 Purpose; scope; limitation of coverage; limitation of benefits; construction.

Subdivision 1. Purpose. (a) The purpose of sections 61B.18 to 61B.32 is to protect, subject to certain limitations, the persons specified in subdivision 2 against failure in the performance of contractual obligations, under life insurance policies, health insurance policies, annuity contracts, and supplemental contracts specified in subdivision 2, because of the impairment or insolvency of the member insurer that issued the policies or contracts.

(b) To provide this protection, an association of insurers has been created and exists to pay benefits and to continue coverages, as limited in sections 61B.18 to 61B.32. Members of the association are subject to assessment to provide funds to carry out the purpose of sections 61B.18 to 61B.32.

Subd. 2. Scope. (a) Sections 61B.18 to 61B.32 provide coverage for the policies and contracts specified in paragraph (b) to:

(1) persons who are owners of or certificate holders under these policies or contracts, or, in the case of unallocated annuity contracts, to the persons who are the contract holders or participants in a covered retirement plan, and who:

(i) are residents; or

(ii) are not residents, but only under all of the following conditions: the insurers that issued the policies or contracts are domiciled in the state of Minnesota; those insurers never held a license or certificate of authority in the states in which those persons reside; those states have associations similar to the association created by sections 61B.18 to 61B.32; and those persons are not eligible for coverage by those associations; and

(2) persons who, regardless of where they reside, except for nonresident certificate holders under group policies or contracts, are the beneficiaries, assignees, or payees of the persons covered under clause (1).

(b) Sections 61B.18 to 61B.32 provide coverage to the persons specified in paragraph (a) for direct, nongroup life, health, annuity, and supplemental policies or contracts, for subscriber contracts issued by a nonprofit health service plan corporation operating under chapter 62C, for certificates under direct group policies and contracts, and for unallocated annuity contracts issued by member insurers, except as limited by sections 61B.18 to 61B.32. Except as expressly excluded under subdivision 3, 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 agreements, lottery contracts, and any immediate or deferred annuity contracts. Covered unallocated annuity contracts include those that fund a qualified defined contribution retirement plan under sections 401, 403(b), and 457 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended through December 31, 1992.

Subd. 3. Limitation of coverage. Sections 61B.18 to 61B.32 do not provide coverage for:

(1) a portion of a policy or contract under which the investment risk is borne by the policy or contract holder;

(2) a policy or contract of reinsurance, unless assumption certificates have been issued and the insured has consented to the assumption as provided under section 60A.09, subdivision 4a;

(3) a policy or contract issued by an assessment benefit association operating under section 61A.39, or a fraternal benefit society operating under chapter 64B;

(4) any obligation to nonresident participants of a covered retirement plan or to the plan sponsor, employer, trustee, or other party who owns the contract; in these cases, the association is obligated under this chapter only to participants in a covered plan who are residents of the state of Minnesota on the date of impairment or insolvency;

(5) an annuity contract issued in connection with and for the purpose of funding a structured settlement of a liability claim, where the liability insurer remains liable;

(6) a portion of an unallocated annuity contract which is not issued to or in connection with a specific employee, union, or association of natural persons benefit plan or a governmental lottery, including but not limited to, a contract issued to, or purchased at the direction of, any governmental bonding authority, such as a municipal guaranteed investment contract;

(7) a plan or program of an employer, association, or similar entity to provide life, health, or annuity benefits to its employees or members to the extent that the plan or program is self-funded or uninsured, including benefits payable by an employer, association, or similar entity under:

(i) a multiple employer welfare arrangement as defined in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, United States Code, title 29, section 1002(40)(A), as amended;

(ii) a minimum premium group insurance plan;

(iii) a stop-loss group insurance plan; or

(iv) an administrative services only contract;

(8) any policy or contract issued by an 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;

(9) an unallocated annuity contract issued to an employee benefit plan protected under the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation;

(10) a portion of a policy or contract to the extent that it provides dividends or experience rating credits except to the extent the dividends or experience rating credits have actually become due and payable or have been credited to the policy or contract before the date of impairment or insolvency, or provides that a fee or allowance be paid to a person, including the policy or contract holder, in connection with the service to, or administration of, the policy or contract; and

(11) 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.

Subd. 4. Limitation of benefits. The benefits for which the association may become liable shall in no event exceed the lesser of:

(1) the contractual obligations for which the insurer is liable or would have been liable if it were not an impaired or insolvent insurer; or

(2) subject to the limitation in clause (4), with respect to any one life, regardless of the number of policies or contracts:

(i) $300,000 in life insurance death benefits, but not more than $100,000 in net cash surrender and net cash withdrawal values for life insurance;

(ii) $300,000 in health insurance benefits, including any net cash surrender and net cash withdrawal values;

(iii) $100,000 in annuity net cash surrender and net cash withdrawal values;

(iv) $300,000 in present value of annuity benefits for annuities which are part of a structured settlement or for annuities in regard to which periodic annuity benefits, for a period of not less than the annuitant's lifetime or for a period certain of not less than ten years, have begun to be paid, on or before the date of impairment or insolvency; or

(3) subject to the limitations in clauses (5) and (6), with respect to each individual resident participating in a retirement plan, except a defined benefit plan, established under section 401, 403(b), or 457 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended through December 31, 1992, covered by an unallocated annuity contract, or the beneficiaries of each such individual if deceased, in the aggregate, $100,000 in net cash surrender and net cash withdrawal values;

(4) where no coverage limit has been specified for a covered policy or benefit, the coverage limit shall be $300,000 in present value;

(5) in no event shall the association be liable to expend more than $300,000 in the aggregate with respect to any one life under clause (2), items (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), and clause (4), and any one individual under clause (3);

(6) in no event shall the association be liable to expend more than $7,500,000 with respect to all unallocated annuities of a retirement plan, except a defined benefit plan, established under section 401, 403(b), or 457 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended through December 31, 1992. If total claims from a plan exceed $7,500,000, the $7,500,000 shall be prorated among the claimants;

(7) for purposes of applying clause (2)(ii), with respect only to health insurance benefits, the term "any one life" applies to each individual covered by a health insurance policy;

(8) where covered contractual obligations are equal to or less than the limits stated in this subdivision, the association will pay the difference between the covered contractual obligations and the amount credited by the estate of the insolvent or impaired insurer, if that amount has been determined or, if it has not, the covered contractual limit, subject to the association's right of subrogation;

(9) where covered contractual obligations exceed the limits stated in this subdivision, the amount payable by the association will be determined as though the covered contractual obligations were equal to those limits. In making the determination, the estate shall be deemed to have credited the covered person the same amount as the estate would credit a covered person with contractual obligations equal to those limits; or

(10) the following illustrates how the principles stated in clauses (8) and (9) apply. The example illustrated concerns hypothetical claims subject to the limit stated in clause (2)(iii). The principles stated in clauses (8) and (9), and illustrated in this clause, apply to claims subject to any limits stated in this subdivision.

CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS OF:

$50,000 Guaranty Estate Association 0% recovery $ 0 $ 50,000 from estate 25% recovery $ 12,500 $ 37,500 from estate 50% recovery $ 25,000 $ 25,000 from estate 75% recovery $ 37,500 $ 12,500 from estate $100,000 Guaranty Estate Association 0% recovery $ 0 $100,000 from estate 25% recovery $ 25,000 $ 75,000 from estate 50% recovery $ 50,000 $ 50,000 from estate 75% recovery $ 75,000 $ 25,000 from estate $200,000 Guaranty Estate Association 0% recovery $ 0 $100,000 from estate 25% recovery $ 50,000 $ 75,000 from estate 50% recovery $100,000 $ 50,000 from estate 75% recovery $150,000 $ 25,000 from estate

For purposes of this subdivision, the commissioner shall determine the discount rate to be used in determining the present value of annuity benefits.

Subd. 5. Limited liability. The liability of the association is strictly limited by the express terms of the covered policies and contracts and by the provisions of sections 61B.18 to 61B.32 and is not affected by the contents of any brochures, illustrations, advertisements, or oral statements by agents, brokers, or others used or made in connection with their sale. This limitation on liability does not prevent an insured from proving liability that is greater than the express terms of the covered policy or contract. The insured must bring an action to claim the greater liability no later than one year after entry of an order of rehabilitation, conservation, or liquidation. The association is not liable for any extra-contractual, exemplary, or punitive damages. The association is not liable for attorney fees or interest other than as provided for by the terms of the policies or contracts, subject to the other limits of sections 61B.18 to 61B.32.

Subd. 6. Adjustment of liability limits. The dollar amounts stated in subdivision 4 shall be adjusted for inflation based upon the implicit price deflator for the gross domestic product compiled by the United States Department of Commerce and hereafter referred to as the index. The dollar amounts stated in subdivision 4 are based upon the value of the index for the fourth quarter of 1992, which is the reference base index for purposes of this subdivision. The dollar amounts in subdivision 4 shall change on October 1 of each year after 1993 based upon the percentage difference between the index for the fourth quarter of the preceding year and the reference base index, calculated to the nearest whole percentage point. The commissioner shall announce and publish, on or before April 30 of each year, the changes in the dollar amounts required by this subdivision to take effect on October 1 of that year. The commissioner shall use the most recent revision of the relevant gross domestic product implicit price deflators available as of April 1. If the United States Department of Commerce changes the base year for the gross domestic product implicit price deflator, the commissioner shall make the calculations necessary to convert from the old to the new base year. Changes must be in increments of $10,000. No adjustment may be made until the change in the index results in at least a $10,000 increase.

Subd. 7. Construction. (a) Sections 61B.18 to 61B.32 shall be liberally construed to effect the purpose of sections 61B.18 to 61B.32. Subdivision 1 is an aid and guide to interpretation.

(b) Participants in an employer-sponsored plan, which is funded in whole or in part by a covered policy, as specified in subdivision 4, clause (3), shall only be required to verify their status as residents and the amount of money in the unallocated annuity that represents their funds. Both these matters may be verified by the employer sponsoring the plan from plan records. Payments made to a plan shall be deemed to be made on behalf of the resident participant and are not the funds of the plan, the plan trustee, or any nonresident plan participant, and to the extent of such payments, discharge the association's obligation.

HIST: 1993 c 319 s 4; 1994 c 426 s 11; 1999 c 177 s 36

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