Category Archives:Risk Management

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

How To Turn Risk Management Into A True Profit Center

Here is a captivating question.  How can a small or medium-sized business turn its risk management into a true profit center?

It sounds impossible – turning risk management into a profit center.  Risk management pays insurance premiums, develops workplace safety guidelines and implements loss control programs.  How could it possibly be a profit center?

Furthermore, this is not simply a question about cost containment or even cost reduction.  To succeed, the business’ risk management strategy must give the business’ owners access to more money than they would have had otherwise, including completely offsetting the cost of commercial insurance and loss control programs. Clearly, a question this challenging requires some captivating thinking.

Consider the example below of a hypothetical small manufacturing business.  This is merely an example.  The captivating risk management approach I will outline could apply to many types of profitable small and mid-size businesses in a variety of circumstances.  As the first table below illustrates, risk management is a cost center, and the business pays $210,000 in annual commercial insurance premiums and $40,000 annually is loss control and safety programs.

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It’s time for some captivating thinking.  The table below illustrates the exact same business with an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) strategy in place.  ERM is a discipline, whereby a business assesses all the threats it faces and develops a comprehensive risk management plan.  To read more about ERM for small and mid-size businesses, CLICK HERE.

As part of its ERM approach, the business implements steps to reduce risk and mitigate risk.  Keep in mind that insurance is a financial risk mitigation approach.  As part of its ERM strategy the business owners set-up, operate and own their own insurance company, known as a Captive Insurance Company (CIC).  The CIC forms the backbone of the ERM strategy.  The CIC significantly increases the business’ insurance coverage, addressing many of the risks identified in the comprehensive risk assessment.  To read more about Captive Insurance Companies, CLICK HERE.

The CIC is owned by the business’ owners. So the owners and the business effectively retain the profits in the captive insurance company.  Because this CIC takes in annual premiums of less than $1.2 million, it can make an 831(b) tax election and be taxed at a rate of zero percent (0%) on its underwriting profit.  In the illustration below, this results in $460,600 in annual tax savings.  This assumes a combined federal and state tax rate of 47%.

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Finally, the table below illustrates how ERM with a CIC turns risk management into a true profit center that – in effect – pays the business’ owners or increases the total wealth of the owners.  The ERM Program results in $460,600 in tax savings.  The tax savings generates an estimated $13,818 in investment income (assumes 5% return and 3% after tax return).  The CIC pays $75,000 to operate, renew its actuarial pricing of policies, issue policies, renew its insurance license, conduct an annual audit and purchase reinsurance for its policies.  As we have already established, the business spends $210,000 on commercial insurance.  As part of its ERM strategy, the business is investing $40,000 in loss control and safety programs.

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As can be seen, ERM with a CIC produces a dramatic result.  This business’ risk management strategy was a drain on the business, costing it $250,000 annually.  With ERM in place, the business’ risk management program created $149,418 incremental wealth to the business owners after offsetting: the cost to operate the CIC, the cost to reinsure the CIC, the total cost of commercial insurance, and the cost of implementing a loss control program.  Captivating Thinking enables successful business owners to convert risk management from a cost center into a powerful profit center.


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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How To Significantly Grow Wealth By Starting Another Business

As a business grows and matures, its owners may look for additional means to grow revenue and boost business wealth.  A common approach is to start or acquire an additional business that serves the core 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.  Also, the parent company is “staying close to home,” and usually not straying too far from its core competencies.

As an example, a manufacturer may choose to purchases or start a business within its own supply chain.  Not only does this give the manufacturer greater control of its supply chain, it also enables the manufacturer to earn additional profits.  Another benefit is that the business owner may gain better control of his or her risks, including the risk of a key supplier folding or choosing to sell to a competitor.

Clearly, this business move is not without risk.  In some cases, the manufacturer may be ill-prepared to run another company.  The owners may not understand the pitfalls that their supplier has already overcome.  Their supplier may have expertise or sourcing advantages that the manufacturer is unable to replicate.  And, choosing to compete with a supplier may embolden them to “pull out all stops” to support a business’ competitor.  A lot can go wrong.

Is There A Low Risk AND Low Effort Way To Set Up Another Profitable Business?

Actually, there is.  A successful business can turn its risk management into a separate business.  Furthermore, a well-run risk management business can function as an additional profit center.  To achieve this break-through result, the business owner implements Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) and sets up and owns an insurance company, specifically, a captive insurance company (CIC).  Captive insurance companies are a separate company, and the form the backbone or chassis of ERM for small and mid-size businesses.

Low Risk

Implementing ERM with a CIC can be a low risk endeavor because the business can choose to keep existing third party insurance coverage intact and utilize the captive to cover gaps in its existing risk profile.  ERM for small and mid-size businesses is most effective when it blends third party commercial insurance coverage with insurance coverage provided by the CIC.  In this manner, a business owner is able to enjoy a comprehensive blanket of protection.

Low Effort

Also, by working with an experienced and proven captive manager, a business does not need expertise in operating its own insurance company.  The captive manager oversees and coordinates most all of the work.  The business owner is able to own his or her own risk management business, while capable hands carry-out set up and operations on the owner’s behalf.

What Is A Captive Insurance Company?

Simply put, a captive insurance company is an insurance company.  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.  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.

What Are The Benefits Of Enterprise Risk Management With A Captive Insurance Company? 

First, the parent company is able to benefit from a far more robust, holistic approach to risk management.  Specifically, the parent company or companies can now formally insure risks that may have previously been uninsured or under-insured.  The parent company can also insure deductibles where it has third party commercial insurance in place.

Second, the overall (or aggregate) wealth of one or more businesses with ERM and a CIC in place is almost always higher – significantly higher– than the overall wealth of companies without ERM and a CIC.  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 can make an 831(b) election and be taxed at a zero percent (0%) rate on its underwriting profits, provided the premiums it receives are less than $1.2 million 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 Can Starting Another Business Significantly Grow Wealth? 

Adverse events are going to occur whether or not a business has ERM in place.  Businesses with a captive have a much larger pool of funds to address adverse events (typically 80% to 100% more) because captive assets are comprised of pre-tax dollars.  Hence, the captive effectively acts as a legal tax shelter for the premiums received from its insured.

Premiums are paid from the parent company to the captive with pre-tax dollars, and accumulate tax-free as reserves of the captive (up to $1.2 million annually).  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), ERM with a CIC is quite often a successful and profitable “second business.”  Over time, ERM with a well- structured captive can often double the wealth accumulation of its owners.


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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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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