44-2708. Assessments against member insurers; procedure; effect; protest or appeal.

(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 such times and for such amounts as the board finds necessary. The board shall collect the assessments after thirty days' written notice to the member insurers before payment is due, and the assessments shall accrue interest at the rate calculated pursuant to section 45-103 on and after the due date.

(2) There shall be two classes of assessments as follows:

(a) Class A assessments shall be authorized and called for the purpose of meeting administrative costs and other general expenses, including expenses for examinations conducted under the authority of subdivision (3) of section 44-2711. Class A assessments may be made whether or not related to a particular impaired or insolvent insurer; and

(b) Class B assessments shall be authorized and called to the extent necessary to carry out the powers and duties of the association under section 44-2707 with regard to an impaired or insolvent domestic insurer.

(3)(a) The amount of any Class A assessment for each account shall 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 it be credited against future Class B assessments. The amount of any Class B assessment, except for assessments related to long-term care insurance, shall be allocated for assessment purposes among the accounts pursuant to an allocation formula which may be based on the premiums or reserves of the impaired or insolvent insurer or any other standard deemed by the board in its sole discretion as being fair and reasonable under the circumstances. The amount of any Class B assessment for long-term care insurance written by the impaired or insolvent insurer shall be allocated according to a methodology included in the plan of operation and approved by the director. The methodology shall provide for fifty percent of the assessment to be allocated to accident and health member insurers and fifty percent to be allocated to life and annuity member insurers.

(b) Class B assessments against member insurers for each account shall 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 bears, for the three most recent calendar years for which information is available preceding the year in which the insurer became insolvent or, in the case of an assessment with respect to an impaired insurer, the three most recent calendar years for which information is available preceding the year in which the insurer became impaired, to such premiums received on business in this state for such calendar years by all assessed member insurers.

(c) Assessments for funds to meet the requirements of the association with respect to an impaired or insolvent insurer shall not be authorized or called until necessary to implement the purposes of the Nebraska Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association Act. Classification of assessments under subsection (2) of this section and computation of assessments under this subsection shall 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 one hundred eighty days after the assessment is authorized.

(4) 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. If an assessment against a member insurer is abated or deferred, in whole or in part, because of the limitations set forth pursuant to this subsection, the amount by which such assessment is abated or deferred shall 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.

(5)(a) Subject to the provisions of subdivision (b) of this subsection, the total of all assessments authorized by the association with respect to a member insurer for the life insurance account, the annuity account, and the health account shall not in one calendar year exceed two percent of that member insurer's average annual premiums received in this state on the policies and contracts covered by the account during the three calendar years preceding the year in which the insurer became an impaired or insolvent insurer.

(b) If two or more assessments are authorized in one 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 subdivision (a) of this subsection shall be equal and limited to the higher of the three-year average annual premiums for the applicable account as calculated pursuant to this section.

(c) If the maximum assessment, together with the other assets of the association in an account, does not provide in any one year in an account an amount sufficient to carry out the responsibilities of the association, the necessary additional funds shall be assessed as soon thereafter as permitted by the act.

(d) The board may provide in the plan of operation a method of allocating funds among other claims, whether relating to one or more impaired or insolvent insurers, when the maximum assessment will be insufficient to cover anticipated claims.

(e) If the maximum assessment for an account in one year does not provide an amount sufficient to carry out the responsibilities of the association, then the board shall access the other accounts for the necessary additional amount, subject to the provisions of subdivision (5)(a) of this section.

(6) 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 amount, including assets accruing from assignment, subrogation, 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 if refunds are impractical.

(7) It shall be proper for any member insurer, in determining its premium rates and policyowner dividends as to any kind of insurance or health maintenance organization business within the scope of the act, to consider the amount reasonably necessary to meet its assessment obligations under the act.

(8) The association shall issue to each insurer paying a Class B assessment under the act a certificate of contribution in a form prescribed by the director for the amount so paid. All outstanding certificates shall be of equal dignity and priority without reference to amounts or dates of issue. A certificate of contribution may be shown by the member insurer in its financial statement as an asset in such form and for such amount, if any, and period of time as the director may approve.

(9)(a) A member insurer that wishes to protest all or 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 shall be available to meet association obligations during the pendency of the protest or any subsequent appeal. A statement in writing that the payment is made under protest and setting forth a brief statement of the grounds for the protest shall accompany the payment.

(b) Within sixty days following 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 issues raised by the protest.

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

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

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

(10) The association may request information of member insurers in order to aid in the exercise of its power under this section, and member insurers shall promptly comply with a request.

Source:Laws 1975, LB 217, § 8; Laws 1986, LB 593, § 8; Laws 2000, LB 930, § 7; Laws 2001, LB 360, § 17; Laws 2019, LB159, § 5.