What is a Captive?
Captive Insurance Company
A captive insurance company (captive) is a real insurance company created by a business or its owners to primarily provide property and casualty insurance to affiliated businesses. Because captives are usually owned by the same economic interests that own the operating business, the captive can be considered a “formal” method of self-insuring various risks. Captives have been around for at least 70 years and have commonly been used by large businesses for decades. Because the cost and regulatory burden of operating a captive has declined considerably in recent years, smaller businesses can now benefit from them as well. To legally sell insurance, captives must be licensed by the state in which they operate or another appropriate jurisdiction.
Typically captives are used to do one or more of the following:
How Does Your Business Manage its Risks?
A Blended Approach is Best
A blended approach includes commercial insurance, captive insurance and risk mitigation strategies
Taxation of Captives
- Traditional Captive Insurance Companies: Premium income is offset by reserves for losses (claims); the resulting Underwriting Profits (along with any investment earnings of the captive) are taxed at ordinary tax rates.
- “Small” Captive Insurance Companies: Congress adopted section 831(b) of the Internal Revenue Code in 1986 to strengthen US small & mid-sized business. CICs electing to be taxed under section 831(b) are taxed at a 0% rate on underwriting profits, if premiums received are $2.2 million or less on an annual basis (adjusted for inflation). However, most investment earnings are taxed at ordinary rates.
Captive Insurance Timeline
Types of Captives
- Single Parent (“Pure”) Captives – formed primarily to insure the risks of its parents or affiliates.
- Association Captives – formed by a trade, industry or service organization to insure its members.
- Group Captives – formed to insure the risks of multiple companies, related or unrelated.
- Rent-a-Captive – formed to allow companies access to captive “benefits” who otherwise wouldn’t have access.
- Protected Cell (AKA Segregated Cell or Series) Captives – allow for the segregation of assets and liabilities among different cells and their parent. Each cell must, individually, meet the definition of an insurance company.
* CIC Services is experienced in designing and implementing all types of captives.