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Tag Archives: captive insurance

Warren Buffett, Small Captives and the IRS "Dirty Dozen"

What does Warren Buffett have to do with small captive insurance companies and the IRS “dirty dozen” list? Until this week, my answer would have been, “very little.” However, after addressing the IRS placing small captive insurance companies (CICs) on its “dirty dozen” list in last week’s edition of Captivating Thinking, the Oracle of Omaha, as Buffett is affectionately known, provided even more evidence in support of our already overwhelming arguments against the Service’s pronouncement.

Remember that the IRS has often attempted to argue that only “core insurance” or replacing third party commercial insurance constitutes real insurance. In their “dirty dozen” write-up, they suggested, insurance “policies [that] cover ordinary business risks or esoteric, implausible risks,” are not real insurance. As we noted last week, the esoteric and implausible threats they describe are often the existential threats that can completely wipe out small and mid-market companies (examples include cyber attacks, business interruption, terrorism, pandemic disease outbreaks, power grid failure, biological and nuclear attacks, etc.)

Last week, we noted the both the U.S. Tax Court and FEMA (Ready.Gov) disagree with the IRS on what constitutes real risk and real insurance. And, this brings us to Warren Buffett, the billionaire mega-investor who released his 31 page annual shareholder report this week. His report was summarized by Liz Claman of Fox Business Network, and she pointed out that while the report was characteristically optimistic about America and Berkshire Hathaway’s future, she was struck by Buffett’s biggest worry. In her words:

And those fears? It’s not all sweetness and light in Omaha. Buffett expressed his biggest worry in the letter: “There is, however, one clear, present and enduring danger to Berkshire against which Charlie and I are powerless. That threat to Berkshire is also the major threat our citizenry faces: a “successful” (as defined by the aggressor) cyber, biological, nuclear or chemical attack on the United States. That is a risk Berkshire shares with all of American business.”
Buffett may be an optimist but if he’s anything, he’s reasonable. And having covered him for years, I’m guessing Iran and ISIS have him up at night, drinking Cherry Coke and … thinking. Thinking more.

Notice what Liz says…”if he’s anything, he’s reasonable.” We agree. Ready.gov and the U.S. Tax Court agree as well. Perhaps Mr. Buffett would sleep better if he knew the IRS doesn’t consider his concerns to be real or insurable threats.


My Professional CFO, LLC, is a Business Management firm providing the highest level of service in three key areas of importance to Independent Contractor Physicians, Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs.

We specialize in Corporation filings and ongoing Compliance, Accounting and Payroll, and Investment Management. Our professionals will assist you in forming the appropriate type of company for your situation and work with you to make sure your company remains compliant. We provide ongoing Accounting and Payroll services to make certain all bills are paid and necessary tax forms and withholding payments are made in a timely manner, as well as the set up and management of your retirement accounts.

We are not simply a document filing service; we are here to help you with the part of the business that you have to do, so you can focus on what you love to do.

Alan Conner, MBA – President of My Professional CFO, LLC has nearly 2 decades of experience working with professionals and small business during both the start-up and ongoing management. He has written countless business plans and has managed assets for both institutions and high net worth clients.

Email us with any questions or call us at: 1-800-517-0CFO (1-800-517-0236)

For a Limited Time, get FREE Incorporation with our Accounting/Payroll Services! Submit your e-mail for more information, or schedule a quick phone call with me here.

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Legislative Changes to 831(b) are a Net Positive for Business Owners

In a flurry of legislative activity in mid-December of 2015, Congress passed and President Obama signed a so-called “Tax Extenders” bill titled H.R. 34. This created a stir in the captive insurance industry both before and after passage, as H.R. 34 included Section 262 titled, “MODIFICATIONS TO ALTERNATIVE TAX FOR CERTAIN SMALL INSURANCE COMPANIES.” These modifications impact small captive insurance companies (CICs) that make an 831(b) tax election.

These small captive insurance companies are often described as micro-captives or 831(b) captives. Both of these names are really a misnomer. “Small” captives are real insurance companies that usually serve small and mid-market companies in the same way that “large” captives serve larger companies. 831(b) is simply a tax election designed to encourage small and mid-size companies to improve their risk management posture by owning their own insurance company. Small captives are good for small business and good for America.

What Is A Captive Insurance Company?

Simply put, businesses or their owners can choose to OWN THEIR OWN INSURANCE COMPANY. A captive insurance company is a licensed, closely-held insurance company. Captives are formed to provide insurance protection to businesses and related entities. They are usually owned by the business, business owners or other related parties. Businesses pay premiums as an ordinary business expense to their captive insurance company(ies). The captive issues insurance policies to the company. Captive policies are priced by an actuary. When the business files an insured claim, the captive pays it.

Like commercial insurance companies, captives also accumulate loss reserves. Reserves can be invested in accordance with the captive’s Investment Policy Statement (IPS). The IPS is usually approved by the domicile that licenses the captive.

What Is An 831(b) Tax Election?

Small captive insurance companies, as define d in Section 831(b) of the Internal Revenue Code, may elect to pay no federal income taxes on their underwriting profits each year. Underwriting profit is simply calculated as premiums received less claims paid.
Prior to H.R. 34, “small” captives were defined as having premium revenues of less than $1.2 million annually. Starting in 2017, thanks to H.R.34, this increases to $2.2 million and adjusts for inflation each year thereafter.

What Has Changed With The Passage Of H.R. 34?

In addition to adding an additional reporting requirement for small captive insurance companies, H.R. 34 makes essentially two changes to the existing 831(b) election. First, it increases the maximum premium revenue that a CIC can receive and still be eligible to make an 831(b) election, a big “win” for taxpayers. Second, it adds a “diversification” requirement that impacts either ownership structure or risk distribution. To meet the “diversification” requirement to be eligible for an 831(b) election, a small captive must meet one of two new tests starting in 2017.

What Is The Specific Language Of H.R. 34 Regarding “Diversification” Requirements?

”(i) IN GENERAL.-An insurance company meets the requirements of this subparagraph if no more than 20 percent of the net written premiums (or, if greater, direct written premiums) of such company for the taxable year is attributable to any one policyholder.

”(ii) ALTERNATIVE DIVERSIFICATION REQUIREMENT.-

An insurance company meets the requirements of this subparagraph if-

”(I) such insurance company does not meet the requirement of clause (i),

”(II) no person who holds (directly or indirectly) an interest in such insurance company is a specified holder who holds (directly or indirectly) aggregate interests in such insurance company which constitute a percentage of the entire interests in such insurance company which is more than a de minimis percentage higher than the percentage of interests in the specified assets with respect to such insurance company held (directly or indirectly) by such specified holder.

What Does That Mean in Plain English?

Essentially, to be eligible to make an 831(b) election, a captive insurance company must meet one of two tests starting in 2017.

The second test is rather “clean” and straightforward. It simply means that the ownership of the captive insurance company (as a percentage) must closely mirror the ownership of the parent company (ies). Many captives managed by CIC Services, LLC meet this test already. Others may be able to meet this test with slight ownership adjustments to their captives or parent companies or insured companies.

The first test is a bit more complicated, as it states a captive may not receive more than 20% of net premiums from one policy holder. This language requires business owners to either share a common captive insurance company making an 831(b) election (also known as a “group” captive), or it will require more “cross-insurance” or re-insurance than most small captive structures currently employ. Our initial assessment (and the assessment of other industry experts) is that risk distribution or re-insurance pools utilized by small captive insurance companies can be modified to meet this second test, and this will likely be the preferred approach of most clients.

CIC Services, LLC is thoroughly scrutinizing this new legislation and be proactively contacting its clients to discuss beneficial ways of complying with the new rules. Again, the new rules do not take effect until 2017, so there is plenty of time to consider options and get things right.

What Is CIC Services, LLC’s Perspective On H.R. 34?

Unlike many of the nay-sayers in the industry who have wrung their hands and gnashed their teeth at the changes (CLICK HERE), we see H.R. 34 as a net positive for small captive insurance companies and the small and mid-size businesses they serve.

Consider the following analogy.

In the glory days of college basketball, Dean Smith’s Tar Heels would run the stall with a 2 point lead and 15 minutes left in the 2nd half. At the same time, massive centers like Ralph Samson, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Patrick Ewing would park near the basket and shield off defenders. These monster centers would take a pass down low and make an easy short jumper or shoot a close skyhook. The game was often slow and a bit cumbersome.

What happened? Basketball changed by making a few new rules. They added a shot clock and made the 3 second lane wider, forcing teams to adapt their style of play. However, they also added the 3 point line! These rule changes combined to open up the game, making it far more exciting for players and fans.

Congress essentially did the same thing for small CICs making an 831(b) election. The new rules on diversification are manageable. Yes, they will likely require adjusted risk sharing arrangements and possibly new ownership structures (in the worst cases), but the benefits far outweigh the costs. Basketball teams easily adapted to the new rules, and most small captives will also. In fact, many small captives comply with the new rules already and require no adjustment at all.

And everyone will directly or indirectly benefit from the higher 831(b) limits. Raising the maximum premium level from $1.2 million to $2.2 million for CICs making an 831(b) election (and indexing it to inflation) is like adding a 3 point line. For some clients, it’s more like adding a 4 point line!

What Additional Perspective Can CIC Services, LLC Provide On H.R. 34?

What is most striking about H.R. 34 is not what it says, but what it doesn’t say. In 2015, The I.R.S. and the Self Insurance Association of America (SIIA) specifically asked Congress to ban trust ownership of captives and to ban captives from investing in life insurance. However, after thoughtfully considering the issue, Congress declined both requests in favor of the new rules discussed above, which are much more reasonable. We can now say with confidence that both Congress and the Courts are skeptical of the IRS’s claims of rampant abuse of captive insurance structures.

When Does H.R. 34 Take Effect?

The amendments apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2016. This provides a full year for captives and their corresponding risk distribution pools to restructure to meet the new requirements. In the weeks ahead, CIC Services, LLC will be publishing additional perspective on H.R. 34 and providing guidance to captive owners and prospective captive owners on complying with the new legislation. In the meantime, readers can rest confident that the benefits of captive insurance companies to small and mid-market businesses are greater than ever and rest on even stronger legal footing.

My Professional CFO, LLC, is a Business Management firm providing the highest level of service in three key areas of importance to Independent Contractor Physicians, Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs.

We specialize in Corporation filings and ongoing Compliance, Accounting and Payroll, and Investment Management. Our professionals will assist you in forming the appropriate type of company for your situation and work with you to make sure your company remains compliant. We provide ongoing Accounting and Payroll services to make certain all bills are paid and necessary tax forms and withholding payments are made in a timely manner, as well as the set up and management of your retirement accounts.

We are not simply a document filing service; we are here to help you with the part of the business that you have to do, so you can focus on what you love to do.

Alan Conner, MBA – President of My Professional CFO, LLC has nearly 2 decades of experience working with professionals and small business during both the start-up and ongoing management. He has written countless business plans and has managed assets for both institutions and high net worth clients.

Email us with any questions or call us at: 1-800-517-0CFO (1-800-517-0236)

For a Limited Time, get FREE Incorporation with our Accounting/Payroll Services! Click here to submit your e-mail for more information.

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Urgent! Why Business Owners Should Act Now.

2015 CAPTIVE COUNT-DOWN
There are 12 Days remaining to start the process to form a captive and pay tax-deductible premiums in 2015!

Life is full of costs, and it seems like they are always going up. If you’re like me, you probably don’t like to think about costs. Sometimes, it’s easy to think, “I’ll worry about that later,” or “I’ll pay that later.” But, it’s early November, and there is a substantial cost that is urgent and looming. Successful business owners and their advisors have only a few weeks to address this very important cost: The Cost Of Waiting To Set-Up Their Own Captive Insurance Company (CIC) – (CLICK HERE to read What Is A CIC). This cost is usually in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and can total as much as $600,000 in lost tax savings.

This year, we have written about the many benefits of owning one or more captive insurance companies. Businesses with a captive insurance company are better positioned for long term survival (CLICK HERE to read more). Businesses that own a captive insurance company benefit from a vastly improved risk management posture. And, a captive insurance company forms the backbone or chassis for small / mid-size business Enterprise Risk Management (ERM). Captives also facilitate significant wealth accumulation by business owners (CLICK HERE to read more).

Why Is It Important Now?

It takes 6 weeks to form a captive insurance company. Businesses with a calendar year fiscal ending on 12-31 still have time to form a CIC and pay tax deductible premiums to their CIC in 2015. The deadline to start the process is November 15!

What Is The Cost Of Waiting?

The cost of waiting to form a CIC in 2015 is hundreds of thousands of dollars. Assuming a combined federal and state income tax rate of 50%, the cost of waiting can be as high as $600,000. A small captive insurance company can make an 831(b) tax election. Its underwriting profits are taxed at a rate of 0% (zero percent). To qualify as a small insurance company, the CIC must receive premiums of less than $1.2 million. Taxes paid to the IRS are gone forever, leaving businesses and their owners poorer, weaker and less prepared for risk and uncertainty.


My Professional CFO, LLC, is a Business Management firm providing the highest level of service in three key areas of importance to Independent Contractor Physicians, Attorneys and Information Technology Professionals. We specialize in Corporation and LLC filings and ongoing Compliance, Accounting and Payroll, and Investment Management. Our professionals will assist you in forming the appropriate type of company for your situation and work with you to make sure your company remains compliant. We provide ongoing Accounting and Payroll services to make certain all bills are paid and necessary tax forms and withholding payments are made in a timely manner, as well as the set up and management of your retirement accounts. We are not simply a document filing service, we are here to help you with the part of the business that you have to do, so you can focus on what you love to do. For more information visit our website www.myprofessionalcfo.com Alan Conner, MBA – President of My Professional CFO, LLC has nearly 2 decades of experience working with professionals and small business during both the start-up and ongoing management. He has written countless business plans and has managed assets for both institutions and high net worth clients. Email us with any questions. Call us at: 1 (800) 517-0CFO 1 or (800) 517-0236 Captive services powered by: image

The Most Efficient Approach For Businesses To Build Liquid Reserves

One of the greatest challenges that small and mid-market businesses face is building up sufficient liquid reserves. It has often been said that, “Cash Is King,” and liquid assets are key to the long term health and survival of an enterprise. Being in a strong cash position is particularly important if an unforeseen calamity strikes. Also, liquidity enables businesses to quickly adapt or pivot to address changes in the marketplace.

I recently talked with an insurance agent in the Mid-West who explained why many farmers were land and equipment rich but cash poor. During good years, many farms are quite profitable, creating strong cash flow. However, to avoid high taxes many farmers purchase brand new equipment, even if their current equipment is fairly new and in good working order.

Our experience in business has revealed two time-proven destroyers of liquid reserves:

Destroyer #1 – Uninsured Losses

Destroyer #2 – Taxes and/or Tax Incentives

As an example, consider taxes on “excess” retained earnings, known as the Accumulated Earnings Tax. This tax is deliberately designed to discourage business wealth and liquidity.The Accumulated Earnings Tax (AET) is a penalty tax, imposed on C corporations perceived as trying to avoid or defer shareholder income tax through an “unnecessary” accumulation of earnings. The AET threat is intended to encourage corporations to make timely payments of dividends, thus triggering the double taxation of C corporation earnings. Once an IRS agent asserts that there is an excess accumulation of earnings, the burden of proof shifts to the taxpayer to substantiate that the accumulations were for anticipated needs and were reasonable in nature.

Can Liquidity Destroyers 1 & 2 Be Meaningfully Addressed?

The great news for business owners is that Destroyers 1 and 2 outlined above can be addressed by one game-changing, risk management and financial strategy – Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) with a Captive Insurance Company (CIC). The chart below that visually depicts the powerful benefits of implementing an ERM approach with one or more CICs. Indeed, we know of no other risk management and financial vehicle that affords its owners the array and magnitude of benefits that captive insurance companies do. By choosing to own their own insurance company, a business owner or CFO is able to simultaneously have more insurance protection and more money.

The chart below compares the status quo on the left with ERM implementation and captive ownership on the right. This illustration covers a 10 year period and assumes a 4% rate of investment return for both scenarios. Both businesses have third party insurance coverage in place to insure core risks.

The business on the right which implemented ERM with a captive insurance company has more insurance coverage and more money. In fact, over a ten year period, the business on the right has almost 80% more wealth (or liquid reserves) than the business on the left.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 10.42.19 AM

Understanding Liquidity Destroyer 1

Today, small and mid-size business owners face far greater challenges than their predecessors faced. In fact, they are far more likely to face existential threats that can drain their limited cash reserves or completely wipe out their operations. For instance, cyber risk is a growing and wildly unpredictable threat. Terrorism and impact from international conflicts are very real threats to businesses and their operations (Even if a business isn’t directly targeted, how long can cash reserves last without power…without infrastructure…without key suppliers…without key customers?).

Spending a little time on Ready.Gov, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s business preparedness web-site, puts the threats listed above into perspective. The threats are real and their impact can be catastrophic.

Ready.Gov notes that “40% of businesses affected by a natural or human-caused disaster never reopen.”

The government site recognizes that low-frequency and high-impact risks are the ones that pose the greatest threats to small and mid-size businesses, largely because they can wipe out liquidity. Addressing small business disaster preparedness, Ready.Gov notes that:

* “Businesses can do much to prepare for the impact of the many hazards they face…including natural hazards like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and widespread serious illness such as the H1N1 flu virus pandemic.
* Human-caused hazards include accidents, acts of violence by people and acts of terrorism.
* Examples of technology-related hazards are the failure or malfunction of systems, equipment or software.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 10.42.25 AM
Illustration From Ready.Gov On Threats Facing Small Businesses

Consider “Human-caused hazards [like] terrorism.” Ready.Gov makes it clear that any business, large or small, in the U.S. could be impacted by terrorism. Businesses should have business interruption insurance for lost revenue caused by terrorism including chemical, biological or nuclear attack.

Businesses should also be insured for business interruption caused by failure of the power grid (due to natural disaster, terror attack or a solar storm). Also, businesses should have robust business interruption insurance to cover lost revenue in the event of a pandemic disease in the U.S. It is not inconceivable that the government would confine all non-essential workers to their homes for 30, 60 or 90 days to stem a national emergency.

In addition to the existential threats covered above which can quickly empty business coffers, small and mid-size business owners face risks posed by their own governments – local, state and federal. Government regulators wield more power than in bygone days. Overzealous government regulators often “shoot first and ask questions later.” They often have the power to shut down a business until a dispute can be resolved by the courts.

Finally, litigation is an ever-increasing threat to business owners and liquidity, and the dangers come from inside and outside of their businesses. Business owners and their staffs must navigate a complex maze of employment laws, healthcare laws, worker’s compensation laws, environmental laws, tax laws and many other laws that can result in costly lawsuits. Also, many commercial insurance liability policies will cover damages, but do not cover punitive damages awarded in a lawsuit. In many cases, punitive damages awarded to plaintiffs are 3 to 10 times higher than compensatory damages.

ERM with a CIC can address the liquidity threats outlined above by supplementing commercial insurance coverage with insurance coverage provided by the CIC.

Addressing Destroyer 1 – Enterprise Risk Management – Blending Third Party Insurance With Formal Self-Insurance

For many, a far more powerful approach to risk management is Enterprise Risk Management that results in a layered or blended approach. By combining third party insurance with a captive insurance company, a business owner can establish a far more comprehensive and thorough risk management approach. ERM is also a better forward looking approach, because the captive insurance company will accumulate additional reserves in years with low claims. These ERM reserves can provide more robust insurance coverage in the future and, when necessary, can be accessed by the owner (or CFO) as a war chest to address contingencies or unanticipated risks.

What Is A Captive Insurance Company?

Simply put, a captive insurance company is a closely-held insurance company that insures primarily thought not exclusively your business. It is a C corporation and is licensed and domiciled like any large insurance company. Captives also have their own reserves, policies, policyholders, and claims. Insurance policies are issued by the captive to its parent or related companies and are actuarially priced. Owning a captive insurance company is a sophisticated way to self-insure, and captives are generally formed to insure the risks of a business, group of businesses and related or affiliated third parties. A captive (or captives) form the chassis of a small / mid-size business ERM strategy.

Why Is ERM With A CIC A Powerful Approach To Address Destroyer 1

A CIC is one of the most powerful risk management and wealth accumulation tools that a business can access. When properly employed, there is nothing else that can do what a captive insurance company does. By operating their own insurance company as part of ERM, business owners and CFOs can:

Fill Third Party Gaps
A captive insurance company can issue insurance policies that address gaps not covered by third party insurers. Captives can also insure third party insurance deductibles, enabling the parent company to raise its deductible and lower its third party insurance costs. Also, a business can enjoy more broad business interruption coverage with ERM and a CIC when an adverse event occurs, particularly events where third party insurance doesn’t cover all damages or peripheral damages.

Utilize Customizable Coverage
Captive insurance companies can write customizable coverage for the businesses they insure. Many businesses face unique risks that may not be addressed by commercial insurers. Unique coverages can also be very expensive when covered by commercial insurers. This feature enables business owners and CFOs to say, “this has gone wrong in the past, let’s insure against it in the future,” or “other companies have experienced this adverse event, we can insure this via our captive.” The flexibility afforded by a ERM with a captive is extremely beneficial in a complex world.

Benefit From Few Or No Policy Exclusions
Captives can provide broad coverage without the exclusions that riddle typical commercial insurance policies. Insurance coverage is worthless if an exclusion prevents the insured from receiving a claims payment when it needs it most.

Avoid Sunk Cost Of Third Party Insurance
Premiums paid to a captive insurance company remain the property of the captive owners (usually the business or business owners). One of the reasons that most businesses are underinsured is that purchasing insurance is a bit like purchasing a lottery ticket. If you don’t win (or in the case of insurance, experience an adverse event resulting in a claim), your money is gone with nothing to show for it. With a captive, this simply isn’t the case. Profits in the captive, defined as premiums collected less claims paid, belong to the captive owners.

Addressing Liquidity Destroyer 2 – Taxes

Over time, businesses, owners and CFOs can build up a substantial war chest with ERM and a captive insurance company. This war chest is available to pay insurance claims the business may have. And, it can also be accessed should the owner or the business require liquid funds. Assets accumulated in a captive almost always outpace retained earnings or a business’ “rainy day fund.” Because the captive is a formal form of self-insurance, it benefits from insurance law and favorable tax treatment. Hence, it is able to accelerate asset accumulation for two main reasons.

First, premiums paid to the captive receive favorable tax treatment. Premiums paid to the captive are an expense to the parent company. This lowers the parent company’s taxable income. As, the captive takes in premiums, it is taxed as an insurance company on its underwriting profits (typically defined as premiums less reserves to pay future claims). For large insurance companies, underwriting profit is actuarially determined. However, small insurance companies can make an 831 (b) tax election, resulting in a tax rate of 0% (that’s zero percent) on their underwriting profit. A small insurance company is defined as receiving premiums of $1.2 million or less per year.

Second, the captive is able to invest and grow larger pool of assets. Large commercial insurers have entire staffs whose sole purpose is to invest reserves (that have not been taxed).
For these reasons, ERM with a well-run captive insurance company will typically double liquid capital. And, the same claims that would be paid by the captive would have to be covered out of retained earnings anyway if the captive weren’t in place.

The Long Term Benefit Of Defeating Destroyers 1 & 2

When business owners are ready to sell their business or retire, they keep the war chest. A successful captive amasses wealth for its owners that can be accessed and enjoyed in the future. This unique ability to improve risk management and simultaneously stockpile wealth makes ERM with a CIC The Most Efficient Approach For Businesses To Build Liquid Reserves.


My Professional CFO, LLC, is a Business Management firm providing the highest level of service in three key areas of importance to Independent Contractor Physicians, Attorneys and Information Technology Professionals. We specialize in Corporation and LLC filings and ongoing Compliance, Accounting and Payroll, and Investment Management. Our professionals will assist you in forming the appropriate type of company for your situation and work with you to make sure your company remains compliant. We provide ongoing Accounting and Payroll services to make certain all bills are paid and necessary tax forms and withholding payments are made in a timely manner, as well as the set up and management of your retirement accounts. We are not simply a document filing service, we are here to help you with the part of the business that you have to do, so you can focus on what you love to do. For more information visit our website www.myprofessionalcfo.com Alan Conner, MBA – President of My Professional CFO, LLC has nearly 2 decades of experience working with professionals and small business during both the start-up and ongoing management. He has written countless business plans and has managed assets for both institutions and high net worth clients. Email us with any questions. Call us at: 1 (800) 517-0CFO 1 or (800) 517-0236 Captive services powered by: image

Advanced Strategy To Transition From Creating A Successful Business To Creating Wealth

It is not uncommon to come across successful and profitable businesses that generate little meaningful wealth for their owners. For starters, businesses often face an array of expenses in addition to operating costs that sap revenue including administrative costs, leases and insurance. What profits remain are typically ravaged by taxes, weakening the business and hampering wealth accumulation by the owners.

Advanced strategies to outrun these challenges often include starting or acquiring a second business that serves their primary business. This is often described as vertical integration, and it is often effective because a supplier or service provider is already making a profit serving the parent company.

Consider a successful business owner that chooses to stop leasing a facility in favor of purchasing a facility inside a new company owned by the business owner. In this situation, the business owner can now earn a profit on two companies and can depreciate the real estate asset in the second business to reduce taxable income as well. This strategy enables the business owner to build meaningful wealth in real estate and equipment.

Or, consider a manufacturer that purchases or starts a business in its supply chain. This manufacturer is now able to earn profits on both businesses and gain better control of risk…specifically, the risk of a key supplier folding or choosing to sell to a competitor.

As Advanced As It Gets

For many successful businesses, there is a highly advanced strategy to form a second, profitable business that can facilitate significant wealth creation for its owners. The advanced strategy is to start its own insurance company, known as a captive insurance company.

What Is A Captive Insurance Company?

A captive is a unique insurance company. It includes its own corporation, insurance license, reserves, policies, policyholders, and claims. It is a sophisticated way to self-insure and is generally formed to insure the risks of its owners and related or affiliated third parties.

A captive insurance company can serve as the backbone of an Enterprise Risk Management strategy (ERM). ERM is a more sophisticated approach to risk management that holistically expands its risk management approach in 2 dimensions – time and space. In the time dimension, a company implementing ERM shifts from managing risk year-to-year to managing risk over a 10 to 50 year horizon. This is possible because an ERM strategy with one or more captive insurance companies in place will usually accumulate loss reserves, providing increased risk management flexibility in the future. In the space dimension, an ERM approach results in a wider risk management and insurance umbrella. This occurs because the business conducts a broad risk assessment of all threats the business faces. An ERM strategy is developed and includes broader (or more) lines of insurance coverage. Typically, this larger insurance umbrella includes a blend of third party commercial insurance coverage and insurance coverage provided by the captive insurance company.

How Does This Advanced Strategy Protect & Grow Wealth?

First, the parent company is now able to insure risks that were previously uninsured. The added insurance protection provided by the captive plugs gaps in commercial coverage and addresses operational and existential threats that can threaten the very survival of the business.

Second, Enterprise Risk Management with a captive can create wealth by reducing third party insurance costs. As the captive matures and builds up loss reserves, it can help lower commercial insurance costs by taking over a portion of the core risks faced by the business. One approach is to increase deductibles on commercial policies and purchase deductible insurance from the captive. As the business and captive develop a reliable loss history and the captive builds loss reserves, the captive can also be in a position to provide “first dollar” coverage to the business for core risk. In these cases, the captive will likely purchase reinsurance.

Third, the overall (or aggregate) wealth of one or more companies with a captive insurance company is higher than the overall (or aggregate) wealth of one or more companies without a captive insurance company. This occurs for two primary reasons. First, the parent company takes an expense as it pays its insurance premium to its captive. This lowers the parent companies taxable income. And, the captive may make an 831(b) tax election if it qualifies as a “small” insurance company, so that its underwriting profits are taxed at a rate of 0%. A “small” insurance company is defined as an insurer that receives less than $1.2 million in premiums annually. Second, the captive is able to earn a return on its reserve pool (or assets). And, the captive’s asset pool has been amassed with pre-tax dollars, enabling asset growth on a larger starting base.

How Does a Captive Insurance Company Increase Total Wealth?

A captive provides many benefits to its parent company or business owner including risk mitigation, asset protection, security from creditors and increased profits. As such, a captive can form the backbone of a comprehensive ERM approach as outlined above. A captive primarily insures its parent company or related companies. Hence, the parent company is able to purchase insurance from its captive. In the early years of owning a captive, a business can insure risks that third party insurers will not insure or risks where the cost to insure with a third party is prohibitive.

These are risks that many businesses regularly face and informally self-insure. Which means that if an event occurs, the business “bites the bullet,” often taking a loss, laying off workers and possibly facing partial or total closure. With ERM and a captive insurance company in place, businesses can formally insure risks not normally insured by third party insurers.

Premiums are paid from the parent company to the captive with pre-tax dollars (up to $1.2 million annually if the captive makes an 831 (b) tax election). Captive reserves can be translated into virtually any other type of asset (some domiciles have restrictions). Hence premiums paid to the captive are in effect a “transfer of wealth” and are protected from the parent company’s creditors and lawsuits. For this reason (tax savings and reserve accumulation), a captive insurance company is an advanced strategy that helps successful businesses transition into successful wealth engines.

The Window For Successful Businesses To Implement The Advanced Strategy Of Forming A Captive And Paying Premiums In 2015 Is Closing.

It takes 60 to 90 days to form a captive insurance company. Call us to discuss whether or not a captive insurance company or additional captive insurance company is the right move for your business.


My Professional CFO, LLC, is a Business Management firm providing the highest level of service in three key areas of importance to Independent Contractor Physicians, Attorneys and Information Technology Professionals. We specialize in Corporation and LLC filings and ongoing Compliance, Accounting and Payroll, and Investment Management. Our professionals will assist you in forming the appropriate type of company for your situation and work with you to make sure your company remains compliant. We provide ongoing Accounting and Payroll services to make certain all bills are paid and necessary tax forms and withholding payments are made in a timely manner, as well as the set up and management of your retirement accounts. We are not simply a document filing service, we are here to help you with the part of the business that you have to do, so you can focus on what you love to do. For more information visit our website www.myprofessionalcfo.com Alan Conner, MBA – President of My Professional CFO, LLC has nearly 2 decades of experience working with professionals and small business during both the start-up and ongoing management. He has written countless business plans and has managed assets for both institutions and high net worth clients. Email us with any questions. Call us at: 1 (800) 517-0CFO 1 or (800) 517-0236 Captive services powered by: image

Game Changing Business Strategy That Turns Sunk Costs Into Sunk Profits

2015 CAPTIVE COUNT-DOWN:

There are 31 Days remaining to start the process to form a captive and pay tax-deductible premiums in 2015!


 

Today’s economic climate is challenging and earning (and holding onto) profits is not easy, making wealth accumulation and long term business survivability more daunting tasks. For this reason, business owners, CFOs and advisors including CPAs, Property & Casualty Brokers, Wealth Managers and Attorneys owe it to themselves to be vigilant in pursuing strategies that will safeguard the viability and wealth of the business and its owners. The sort of vigilance in view often requires rethinking business paradigms to look for “both – and” versus “either – or” solutions. “Both – and” thinking seeks to avoid trade-offs, equivalent to “having your cake and eating it too.”

For example, an old paradigm in the automobile market was the assumption that large, heavier cars were inherently safer. Hence, moves to improve fuel efficiency would likely come at the expense (or trade-off) of safety. The automobile industry has rejected “either-or” thinking and produced innovative vehicles that make great strides in both safety and fuel efficiency. The development of lower weight, energy absorbing auto bodies, aerodynamic designs, air bags, computer controlled engines and hybrid electric engines have combined to produce “both-and” results.

“Both-And” Thinking For Mid-Size And Small Businesses

For small and medium sized business owners in a challenging economy, a particular area the demands “both-and” thinking is insurance. Insurance is often viewed through an “either-or” lens. A well- conceived risk management and insurance strategy is a necessity. However, insurance is almost always a sunk cost. It is certainly a necessity and often critical to the survival of a business, but it remains a sunk cost. Each year, precious dollars spent on insurance premiums are gone. It is a mere cost of doing business. And, while most businesses would benefit from purchasing a broader range of insurance coverages, many don’t, because more insurance coverage means less money in the business and less wealth at the disposal of the business owner or CFO.

The Power of “Both-And” Thinking = More Insurance Protection and Significantly More Wealth

The paradigm shift required to overcome this “either-or” scenario is for business owners to make the choice to own their own insurance company. Specifically, a business can set-up and operate what is known as a captive insurance company. Large corporations have been utilizing captive insurance companies for decades, and recent laws favoring “small” captives and competition among domiciles have made captive ownership a powerful and accessible risk management tool and financial vehicle for a growing number of small and mid-size businesses. Such a decision propels a business from “either-or” to “both-and” thinking because a business that owns its own insurance company can benefit from both more insurance coverage and more wealth at its disposal simultaneously.

“Both-And” Benefit: More Insurance Coverage

Most businesses are under-insured. If a business owner, CFO or risk manager were to take an hour or so and write down every threat to the business, it is likely the list would fill up several pages. And in most cases, businesses purchase third party commercial insurance for a fraction of the risks they face. The reality is that it’s not practical or remotely affordable to purchase third party insurance for many of the threats a business faces. However, by choosing to formally self-insure many of the risks facing a business through a captive insurance company, a business owner is able to provide a much broader umbrella of insurance coverage. This improved risk management approach does not require the business to replace existing third party commercial insurance policies, although a captive can be used to replace third party coverage if it is prudent and expedient to do so. For small and mid-size businesses, the best risk management approach is usually achieved by blending third party commercial insurance with broad lines of insurance coverage afforded by one or more captive insurance companies.

Captive insurance companies have the unique ability to write customizable insurance coverage. So, they can write policies that are specifically tailored for the specific needs and challenges faced by the parent company. It is often difficult and inefficient for third party commercial insurers to write customized policies. This reality often renders customizable coverage unaffordable or impossible to acquire. Another benefit of providing insurance coverage via a captive arrangement is that captive policies do not have to include the exclusions that characterize most commercial insurance policies. In this sense, policies issued by a captive can be “wide open,” which is particularly important when a business has a loss and needs the money. Also, claims approval and processing for captive claims is simpler, more timely and more certain. For these reasons, a captive insurance company is a powerful vehicle to:

– Provide blended insurance coverage with existing third party insurance coverage

– Fill gaps in existing third party insurance policies including covering exclusions

– Insure risks that were previously uninsured

“Both-And” Benefit: Significantly More Wealth

By choosing to own a captive insurance company, a business owner or CFO is also choosing to enjoy some of the benefits of insurance law and taxation. It’s no secret that most insurance companies are very profitable. The skylines of most major cities in America are dominated by stadiums, banks, and… you guessed it, insurance buildings. Large commercial insurance companies receive millions of dollars in premiums, and in return, issue policies promising to pay in the event an insured adverse event occurs. Large insurers use actuarial calculations to reserve a large portion of premiums collected for future obligations or claims. It is important to note that these reserves are not taxed. Insurance companies are taxed on their profits, essentially computed as premiums received plus investment income less reserves for future losses, less expenses. Expenses essentially include operational, administrative, marketing and sales costs of doing business. At their core, large insurers are a lot like banks. They have a large pool of untaxed assets to invest and grow.

Small captive insurance companies are quite similar to large insurance companies as described above. However, small captive insurance companies can benefit from an addition to the tax code that was added in 1986 by Congress and signed into law by President Reagan. Small captive insurance companies can make an 831 (b) tax election if they receive $1.2 million or less in annual premiums. When a small captive insurance company makes an 831(b) election, it is taxed at a rate of zero percent (0%) on its underwriting profits. Hence, premiums received less claims paid, less expenses result in underwriting profit which is taxed at zero percent. Similar to large insurance companies, small captives will almost always have a large pool of assets to invest and grow.

The parent company or companies deduct insurance premiums paid to the captive insurance company as a business expense. This lowers operating profit and reduces taxes paid by the parent company or business owner. Also, a captive insurance company may be owned by the business, the business owner, related parties, key employees or heirs. By complying with insurance law, a captive enables a business owner to achieve the “both-and” benefit of retaining and controlling more wealth.

Paradigm Shift: From Sunk Costs To Sunk Profits

“Both-and” thinking can transform a business’ total insurance portfolio from a “sunk cost” to a “sunk profit.” As an example, consider a profitable business that spends $250,000 per year on commercial insurance policies covering general liability, property and auto. In a year with no claims, the $250,000 spent on insurance premiums is a “sunk cost.” Now consider the same company with an improved risk management strategy and a captive insurance company in place. The business still pays $250,000 on commercial policies for general liability, property and auto.

However, the business also pays $1,000,000 in premiums to its captive insurance company to acquire a wide range of additional coverages including reputational risk, administrative actions, legal expenses, cyber breach and data loss, loss of key employee, loss of key account, supply chain, directors and officers, employment practices, terrorism and a large umbrella policy. Assuming a year with no claims, the business owner or business ends the year with $1,000,000 in his or her captive insurance company. The parent company deducted $1,000,000 in insurance premiums and reduced taxes paid by the owner by $500,000 assuming 50% combined state and federal income taxes. The $500,000 in tax savings less $250,000 in third party commercial insurance premiums nets $250,000 in additional wealth retained and controlled by the owner in the total insurance portfolio strategy for the business.

By choosing to own a captive insurance company and applying “both-and” thinking, a business owner can turn risk management into a profit center, transforming sunk costs of third party insurance into overall sunk profits in a captive owned and controlled by the business owner.


My Professional CFO, LLC, is a Business Management firm providing the highest level of service in three key areas of importance to Independent Contractor Physicians, Attorneys and Information Technology Professionals. We specialize in Corporation and LLC filings and ongoing Compliance, Accounting and Payroll, and Investment Management. Our professionals will assist you in forming the appropriate type of company for your situation and work with you to make sure your company remains compliant. We provide ongoing Accounting and Payroll services to make certain all bills are paid and necessary tax forms and withholding payments are made in a timely manner, as well as the set up and management of your retirement accounts. We are not simply a document filing service, we are here to help you with the part of the business that you have to do, so you can focus on what you love to do. For more information visit our website www.myprofessionalcfo.com Alan Conner, MBA – President of My Professional CFO, LLC has nearly 2 decades of experience working with professionals and small business during both the start-up and ongoing management. He has written countless business plans and has managed assets for both institutions and high net worth clients. Email us with any questions. Call us at: 1 (800) 517-0CFO 1 (800) 517-0236 Captive services powered by:

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Did You Or Your Business Just Write A Large Check To The IRS?

2015 CAPTIVE COUNT-DOWN

There are 60 Days remaining to start the process to form a captive and pay tax-deductible premiums in 2015.

A better question might be, “Did you just weaken your business by sending a large check to the IRS?”

And, if you answered, “yes” to that question, would you instead like to strengthen your business by sending far smaller checks to the IRS?

If you can affirmatively say, “yes” to the following statement, “I want to make my business stronger and more survivable by sending smaller checks to the IRS,” then this article is for you.

At the outset I want to be very clear that I am not advocating tax evasion. CLICK HERE to read Tax Avoidance Is Perfectly Legal, But Tax Evasion Is Against The Law.

I am advocating one of the most responsible strategies that small and mid-sized business owners can implement to ensure the long-term survival of their enterprise. This strategy has legitimate business purpose, provides significant tax savings, and is encouraged by Congress. CLICK HERE to read Congress Wants You To Own A Captive Insurance Company.

What is this responsible strategy that is also a financial game-changer? Well, I partially tipped my hand in the link provided above. This wealth-preserving, business survival strategy is Enterprise Risk Management Utilizing A Small Captive Insurance Company.

BACKGROUND: Congress And Small Captive Insurance Companies

Over time, taxes can take a heavy toll on a business and its owners. Year after year, profits are stripped away to pay taxes often resulting in a business that is less prepared for the challenges and risks it may face in the future. Congress doesn’t want small and mid-size businesses and business owners to be hollowed out by excessive taxation either.

In the mid-1980s, Congress passed legislation creating the 831 (b) “small” insurance company tax election. A small insurance company is defined as an insurance company that collects $1.2 million or less in premiums. In most captive insurance company arrangements, premiums are paid by the parent company to the captive insurance company. In return, the captive provides insurance policies to the parent company. The 831(b) tax election allows small insurance companies to be taxed at a zero percent (0%) tax rate on underwriting profit. Underwriting profit is simply defined as premiums collected less claims paid. Hence, a small business could pay up to $1.2 million in premiums to its captive insurance company and the captive would pay no taxes. The captive can be owned by the business, the business owner, business owners, heirs or other related parties. Depending on claims, a captive can save up to $600,000 per year in taxes.

It’s worth noting that “small” captive insurance company legislation was a bi-partisan effort passed by a Democratic controlled Congress and signed into law by Republican President, Ronald Reagan. This issue united both sides of the political aisle in America because small captive insurance companies are good for small businesses, good for long term business sustainability and good for America.

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How Is Enterprise Risk Management With A Captive Insurance Company A Game Changer?

The illustration below shows why captive ownership is so often good for businesses and good for business owners. A captive can serve as the backbone or chassis of an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) approach. ERM addresses risk holistically, expands insurance coverage to the business, takes a long-term approach to risk management, and simultaneously puts more wealth at the disposal of the business owner.

The illustration below compares the status quo on the left with ERM implementation and captive ownership on the right. This illustration covers a 10 year period and assumes a 4% rate of investment return for both scenarios. Both businesses have third party insurance coverage in place to insure core risks. The business on the right which implemented ERM with a captive insurance company has more insurance coverage and more money. In fact, over a ten year period, the business on the right has almost 80% more wealth than the business on the left.

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Clearly, the business that implemented ERM with a Captive Insurance Company is better prepared for the future. Remember, small insurance company legislation united both sides of the political aisle in America because small captive insurance companies are good for small businesses, good for long term business sustainability, good for employment, and good for America. Don’t just pay more taxes if your business would benefit from owning its own insurance company!

What Is Enterprise Risk Management (ERM)

ERM is the discipline by which an organization in any industry assesses, controls, exploits, finances and monitors risks from all sources for the purpose of increasing the organization’s short and long-term value to its stakeholders. Beginning in the mid-80s, many businesses continued down an entrepreneurial path and shifted their mindset from risk management simply as a form of cost containment to risk management as a profit center. Indeed, a more mature approach to risk management can be quite creative and entrepreneurial. Making a paradigm shift from viewing risk management purely as a cost center to viewing risk management as a profit center and strategic pillar of the business can be very rewarding from a financial standpoint.

ERM is the paradigm shift that transforms risk management from a cost center to a profit center. Large corporations have employed ERM for some time, and this mature approach to risk management can also be adopted by small and mid-size companies. The chassis of an ERM approach is a captive insurance company (or companies). Captive insurance companies give business owners or CFOs the ability to take an active versus a passive approach to risk management. ERM increases depth of coverage and is a forward-looking approach to risk management. Furthermore, as a company’s ERM strategy matures, risk management can transition from being a cost center to serving as an entrepreneurial profit center.

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Ownership of one or more captive insurance companies makes ERM possible, because a business is able to both:

– Increase depth of insurance coverage
– Increase the time horizon of its risk management approach

Increase Depth Of Insurance Coverage

When employing a mature ERM model, business owners can categorize risk as core risk, operational risk and strategic risk. Most businesses and individuals simply insure core risk and usually do so via third party commercial coverage. Utilizing an ERM approach, a captive insurance company, in its formative years, gives businesses depth of cover by addressing the second and third layers of risk management (operational risk and strategic risk). As the captive matures and amasses reserves, it can also play a role in addressing core risk. It’s worth noting that many non-core risks evolve into core risks. Examples include: cyber, supply-chain risk, extended warranties, administrative action, terrorism, receivables, key contracts, key employees and employment risk. Operational and strategic risks and the existential threat that can pose to small and mid-size business owners are outlined in detail at FEMA’s Ready.Gov web site (CLICK HERE to read more).

Increase The Time Horizon Of Risk Management

Another characteristic of a mature risk management approach is taking a forward looking stance. A short term approach to risk management typically buys insurance from year-to-year with the goal of keeping costs as low as possible. Each year, all premiums paid for third party commercial coverage are a “sunk cost.” At the end of the year, if there are no claims, the money is gone. Because a captive insurance company is owned by the business owner(s) or the parent company, premiums paid to the captive insurance company are retained after claims are paid. Wealth accumulates in the captive as insurance reserves and provides flexibility to the business in its risk management in future years. A captive facilitates an ERM strategy because it enables a multi-year approach to risk management.

Summary: Financial Impact Of ERM With A CIC

Adopting an ERM approach with a captive insurance company as the chassis can be a financial game changer for business owners. Because the business owner and/or company can reap additional profits from its captive insurance company, the organization will inevitably make risk management and risk mitigation a higher priority. Furthermore, as the CIC grows its reserves, it is in a position to help reduce total reliance on third party commercial cover for core risks. This can often be achieved by reinsuring deductibles and insuring additional potential losses not covered by commercial insurance (including losses above third party insurance policy limits). Finally, CIC ownership enables the business owner or owners to capitalize on the favorable tax treatment that insurance companies receive on their reserves set aside for future claims. As noted already, a well-structured ERM strategy with a CIC can save a business owner up to $600,000 per year in taxes.

Because a captive insurance company is owned by the business owner(s) or the parent company, premiums paid to the captive insurance company are retained after claims are paid. Wealth accumulates in the captive as insurance reserves and provides flexibility to the business in its risk management in future years. A captive facilitates an ERM strategy because it enables a multi-year approach to risk management.

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ERM with a captive insurance company is particularly powerful, because this approach enables a business or business owner to capitalize on insurance law. Fortune 500 companies and other large company CFOs have been capitalizing on insurance law and tax treatment since the 1950s. The exact same strategies are available to small and mid-size companies. As part of its ERM, a business can purchase insurance from its captive insurance company (ies). Premiums paid to the captive are a tax deductible expense to the parent company. The captive insurance company receives the premiums in a tax-favored manner as a large portion are set aside as reserves for future claims.

Reserves are not taxed, hence the insurance company is able to invest and grow a large pool of money. Insurance companies amass wealth by investing large amounts of pre-tax reserves. As already covered, if the insurance company qualifies as a “small” insurance company (defined as receiving annual premiums of $1.2 million or less), it can make an 831 (b) tax election and be taxed at a 0% (zero percent) rate on its underwriting profits. Hence, a well-structured ERM strategy with a CIC can save a business owner up to $600,000 per year in taxes. Most importantly, rather than being weakened by taxation, the business is strengthened and better prepared for long term survival.


My Professional CFO, LLC, is a Business Management firm providing the highest level of service in three key areas of importance to Independent Contractor Physicians, Attorneys and Information Technology Professionals. We specialize in Corporation and LLC filings and ongoing Compliance, Accounting and Payroll, and Investment Management. Our professionals will assist you in forming the appropriate type of company for your situation and work with you to make sure your company remains compliant. We provide ongoing Accounting and Payroll services to make certain all bills are paid and necessary tax forms and withholding payments are made in a timely manner, as well as the set up and management of your retirement accounts. We are not simply a document filing service, we are here to help you with the part of the business that you have to do, so you can focus on what you love to do. For more information visit our website www.myprofessionalcfo.com Alan Conner, MBA – President of My Professional CFO, LLC has nearly 2 decades of experience working with professionals and small business during both the start-up and ongoing management. He has written countless business plans and has managed assets for both institutions and high net worth clients. Email us with any questions. Call us at: 1 (800) 517-0CFO 1 (800) 517-0236 Captive services powered by: image

What type of Businesses Benefit from a Captive Insurance Company (“CIC”)?

What type of businesses could benefit from a captive insurance company (“CIC”)?

  • Businesses that are overpaying for third party insurance or with significant uninsured or underinsured risks

ExamplesContractors, developers, medical groups, family owned businesses, physicians, entertainers, professional athletes, high tech firms, professional service firms, real estate management companies, etc.  Upon reflection, almost every business has significant uninsured or underinsured risks.

  • Businesses with sufficient revenue and profits to afford the premium
    • – Over $1,000,000 in gross revenue.
    • – Over $200,000 in “excess” after-tax profits (i.e., money that doesn’t need to be directly reinvested into the business or paid out as compensation).

Tax savings versus informal self-insurance arrangements

Assuming that your captive insurance company (“CIC”) is a proper, licensed insurance company that writes appropriate, relevant insurance policies in exchange for independently-priced or market comparable premiums, then premiums paid to your CIC should be deductible to your business just as if they were paid to a third party insurer.   For instance, if you paid $1 million in premiums to your CIC this year for valid insurance, the resulting deduction would save you or your business $400,000 in taxes if you’re in a forty percent combined federal and state tax bracket.

In addition captive insurance companies receiving less than $1.2 million per year in premium income, can elect to have their underwriting profits taxed in a zero percent bracket under Code Section 831(b). For example a CIC which takes in premiums of less than $1.2 million per year with its premium income exceeding claims paid, may have those profits taxed in a zero percent bracket.  Assuming $1 million of CIC premiums and a forty percent tax bracket that represents $400,000/year of potential tax savings by formally self-insuring risks through a captive versus not insuring these risks at all as most businesses do.

Why do captives enjoy such a low tax bracket on underwriting profits?  Some hypothesize that Congress may have decided that third-party insurance arrangements should not be favored by the tax code over formal self-insurance arrangement like CICs.  Also, it seems that Congress may have intended to incentivize small businesses to begin setting aside reserves to insure risks they have failed to cover via third parties due to cost, lack of available coverages for certain risks, or other considerations.  Section 831(b) incentivizes small businesses to responsibly reserve for these risks through captive insurance arrangements.

Despite the obvious and frequently-noted tax advantages of a CIC, no business transaction should ever be completed simply or even primarily to achieve tax savings.  In some cases the IRS has authority to deny deductions that result from primarily tax-motivated transactions.   Thus, the decision to implement a CIC should be based upon the business owner’s careful considerations of the risks facing his/her business and the various means of mitigating them, and his/her decision-making process should be documented.  Unfortunately, it’s the rare business indeed that doesn’t have considerable exposure to innumerable uninsured risks, potentially bankrupting the business if left unaddressed, and which self-insuring via a captive can mitigate.  Your captive attorney and his or her insurance manager can assist you in recognizing and developing a plan to protect against such risks.

Why form a Captive Insurance Company (CIC)?

  • Reduce Insurance Costs: Conventional third party insurance policies insure a bundle of risks that may not be particularly relevant to you.  A standard package may include both relevant and comparatively irrelevant risks, and yet you pay for both.  In other words, you may be paying for coverage that you don’t need while “going naked” on coverage that you do.  Third party insurance premiums also include markups for things like marketing expenses and large underwriting departments, which may not benefit you at all.  These additional costs are reduced or eliminated with captive insurance.
  • Protect Your Business From Risk: The attorneys and insurance managers who assist you in forming your CIC are experts at identifying relevant but often over-looked risks.  Because CICs offer the ability to obtain tailor made insurance, your business should be better prepared to survive the unexpected
  • Improve Cash Flow: The potential savings realized by obtaining cheaper and more relevant types of insurance, combined with the tax savings that CIC’s provide, may result in significant improvements in your business’s after-tax cash flow.  There is also a decided advantage in being able to time the premium payments to the company’s natural cycle of cash flow.
  • Create Profit Center: Studies show that businesses which own a captive better manage their risk than 3rd party insurance companies, allowing CIC’s to have a much lower loss ratio. Captives are often therefore highly profitable. These profits can be invested in ways that which generate valuable investment income.  The result is often a new profit center for your business enterprises.
  • Increase Asset Protection: Properly formed and maintained, the profits of a captive are very well insulated from the creditors of both the business and the business owners.
  • Estate Planning: If your captive is owned by your children or a trust for the benefit of your children, then premiums paid to the captive each year are effectively removed from your taxable estate without gift taxes.

My Professional CFO, LLC, is a Business Management firm providing the highest level of service in three key areas of importance to Independent Contractor Physicians, Attorneys and Information Technology Professionals. We specialize in Corporation and LLC filings and ongoing Compliance, Accounting and Payroll, and Investment Management. Our professionals will assist you in forming the appropriate type of company for your situation and work with you to make sure your company remains compliant. We provide ongoing Accounting and Payroll services to make certain all bills are paid and necessary tax forms and withholding payments are made in a timely manner, as well as the set up and management of your retirement accounts. We are not simply a document filing service, we are here to help you with the part of the business that you have to do, so you can focus on what you love to do. For more information visit our website www.myprofessionalcfo.com Alan Conner, MBA – President of My Professional CFO, LLC has nearly 2 decades of experience working with professionals and small business during both the start-up and ongoing management. He has written countless business plans and has managed assets for both institutions and high net worth clients. Email us with any questions. Call us at: 1 (800) 517-0CFO 1 (800) 517-0236 Captive services powered by: image

Own Your Own Insurance Company- Free Webinar

Greetings!

You are cordially invited to attend a complimentary webinar about the tremendous benefits of owning your own captive insurance company.

Topic: Own Your Own Insurance Company – Enterprise Risk Management Utilizing a Captive Insurance Company for Small and Mid-Market Businesses

Date: Friday, August 28 at 10:00 AM ET

RSVP: Simply send me an e-mail, and I will send you a link to attend the webinar.


My Professional CFO, LLC, is a Business Management firm providing the highest level of service in three key areas of importance to Independent Contractor Physicians, Attorneys and Information Technology Professionals. We specialize in Corporation and LLC filings and ongoing Compliance, Accounting and Payroll, and Investment Management. Our professionals will assist you in forming the appropriate type of company for your situation and work with you to make sure your company remains compliant. We provide ongoing Accounting and Payroll services to make certain all bills are paid and necessary tax forms and withholding payments are made in a timely manner, as well as the set up and management of your retirement accounts. We are not simply a document filing service, we are here to help you with the part of the business that you have to do, so you can focus on what you love to do. For more information visit our website www.myprofessionalcfo.com Alan Conner, MBA – President of My Professional CFO, LLC has nearly 2 decades of experience working with professionals and small business during both the start-up and ongoing management. He has written countless business plans and has managed assets for both institutions and high net worth clients. Email us with any questions. Call us at: 1 (800) 517-0CFO 1 (800) 517-0236 Captive services powered by: image

Captivating Thinking- Game Changing Financial Vehicle For Mid-Size And Small Business Owners

The term “game changer” has often been used to describe people or entities that break from the established or expected norms.  A “game changer” often defies existing paradigms or creates new paradigms.  In sports, a “game changer” is often an athlete that is far superior to his or her contemporaries, is very versatile or seems to always deliver in high impact situations.

The same can be said of “game changers” in business.  However, in business, “game changing” behavior is often a matter of discovery or invention, unlike sports where “game changing” behavior is almost always the result of raw talent and hard work.

Our passion is discovery and invention.  Since our inception, we have been in the business of helping clients invent a superior risk management strategy and discover their own game changing financial vehicle.  Our superior risk management approach is Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) adapted for mid-size and small businesses.  While implementing ERM, clients discover the powerful financial advantages afforded to them by owning their own insurance company.  An insurance company is a powerful financial vehicle that can provide tremendous added value to businesses and business owners.  In this case, we are describing what is known as a captive insurance company or small casualty insurance company under the Internal Revenue Code section 831 (b).

First and foremost, a captive insurance company can provide more effective risk management and casualty insurance protection to a parent company or companies.  It forms the backbone or chassis of ERM for mid-size and small businesses.  To read more about ERM, CLICK HERE.  Not surprisingly, improved risk management is the primary purpose for creating a captive insurance company.

However, a captive insurance company also affords many ancillary benefits to the business, its owners and its CFO.  Owning one or more captive insurance companies enables business owners to solve for many other financial needs and wants.  We know of no other financial vehicle that delivers such a wide range of benefits.

Owning a captive insurance company as part of an ERM strategy can enable business owners and professionals to more effectively address the following wants and needs:

It is important to keep in mind, that while all the above ancillary benefits have significant value, when forming a captive insurance company, one CANNOT choose to do so primarily for the ancillary reasons above. The captive must be formed for the primary reason of enhanced risk management, insurance protection, and asset protection. An experienced attorney and captive management firm can ensure captives are set up properly with an operating plan and procedures that meet the requirements necessary to function as a licensed insurance company.

What Is A Captive Insurance Company?

A captive is a unique but REAL casualty insurance company.  It includes its own corporation, insurance license, reserves, policies, policyholders, and claims.  In addition to forming the backbone of an ERM strategy, it is a formal way for business owners to self-insure, and captives are generally formed to insure the risks of owners and related or affiliated third parties.

There are many risks that all businesses regularly face and informally self-insure.  It’s worth noting that businesses informally self-insure with after tax dollars, meaning that a business’ “rainy day fund” is usually comprised of retained earnings that have already been taxed.  With ERM and a captive in place, businesses can formally insure risks not normally insured by third party insurers.

Premiums are paid from the parent company to the captive with tax deductible or pre-tax dollars, and can accumulate tax-free as reserves of the captive (up to $1.2 million annually).  Reserves can be transferred into virtually any other type of asset (some domiciles have restrictions).  Hence premiums paid are in effect a “transfer of wealth” and are protected from the parent company’s creditors and lawsuits.

While ERM with a captive don’t fit all business situations, countless business owners are missing out on the game changing benefits that ERM with a captive insurance company can provide them.  Discovery is the first step.


My Professional CFO, LLC, is a Business Management firm providing the highest level of service in three key areas of importance to Independent Contractor Physicians, Attorneys and Information Technology Professionals. We specialize in Corporation and LLC filings and ongoing Compliance, Accounting and Payroll, and Investment Management. Our professionals will assist you in forming the appropriate type of company for your situation and work with you to make sure your company remains compliant. We provide ongoing Accounting and Payroll services to make certain all bills are paid and necessary tax forms and withholding payments are made in a timely manner, as well as the set up and management of your retirement accounts. We are not simply a document filing service, we are here to help you with the part of the business that you have to do, so you can focus on what you love to do. For more information visit our website www.myprofessionalcfo.com

Alan Conner, MBA – President of My Professional CFO, LLC has nearly 2 decades of experience working with professionals and small business during both the start-up and ongoing management. He has written countless business plans and has managed assets for both institutions and high net worth clients.

Email us with any questions

Call us at: 1 (800) 517-0CFO 1 (800) 517-0236

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