Tennessee Readies Itself for Captive Growth

NU Online News Service, Feb. 7, 1:00 p.m. EST

Tennessee is adding staff to its captive insurance department and actively promoting itself as a domicile, which is paying off with registrations and building interest, according to the state’s captive director.

“We’ve gone from two active captives to four—so your straight math is, we went up 100 percent,” jokes Michael A. Corbett, director of captive insurance since October 2011. With all seriousness, he adds that interest in new captive formations has been strong in 2012. There has been much interest and a new formation since the first of the year, bringing the total to five.

In June 2011 Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed legislation to expand captive law. In addition to standard single-owner and group captives, the law now allows for incorporated cell captives, branch captives, special purpose financial captives, employee benefits captives, and medical stop-loss captives.

The law also permits Tennessee-based companies that qualify as workers’ compensation self-insurers to fund this risk through a captive.

Corbett tells NU Online News Service that the captives formed are mostly pure captives with one protected cell.

“We got off to a find-your-footing start in 2011,” he says, meaning that the department had only a short period to add new captives until year-end.

“What we were so delighted with,” he notes, “is that the Tennessee Captive Insurance Association did their conference in early December and we had a lot of very good feedback.”

He says a number of companies showed interested in having a conversation in January. “So those phone calls are already coming in and we’re getting pretty excited about it.”

Some of the companies are Tennessee-based and some are from Cayman and Bermuda, looking to form branch captives, he says.

Corbett notes that there are pieces of the state’s captive legislation that make it more attractive for a Tennessee-based company to domicile in the state.

“We’re going to have our own particular niche that looks after Tennessee-based companies first and foremost, in a desire to improve and increase white collar employment in the state as well as attract premium tax income to the state coffers,” he explains.

In preparation, the captive department will be adding staff, with six to eight positions approved, he says, adding that “We’re well staffed right now through at least the next quarter.”

Corbett says Nashville has a vibrant and growing healthcare industry where he sees “unique opportunities to put together captives that can be very helpful to the healthcare arena—ones that will be easily replicated by other healthcare providers.”

The healthcare industry has a number of areas for coverage in a captive, he says, including property, liability, workers’ comp, medical malpractice and directors & officers liability to name a few.

As for the music business—a well-known Nashville industry, he says there are several large music associations and major publishing houses that could benefit from forming captives. “We’re open, we’re listening and we’re eager to find opportunities to make us a long-term player in this marketplace,” Corbett concludes.

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