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Google Gets Tentative OK to Fund Benefit Risks Through Hawaii Captive

January 17, 2012
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Google Inc. has received tentative U.S. Labor Department authorization to fund several benefit risks through its Hawaii captive insurance company.

The Mountain View, California-based search engine and technology giant wants to use Imi Assurance Inc. to reinsure life, accidental death and dismemberment, and long-term disability policies written by Prudential Insurance Co. of America. Imi was licensed by Hawaii regulators in December 2010 and is authorized to write property and casualty coverage.Google's application, which received tentative Labor Department approval last week, was filed by George O'Donnell, senior vice president with Aon Hewitt in Somerset, New Jersey.

Google's application comes amid a rise in activity in the captive benefits funding arena. For example, Microsoft Corp.received tentative Labor Department authorization last month to use the Vermont branch of its Bermuda captive—Orcas Ltd.—to reinsure life insurance and accident death and dismemberment policies, also written by Prudential. Microsoft already uses the Vermont branch to reinsure long-term disability coverage.

In late November, the Labor Department gave final authorization to Dow Corning Corp.to expand benefit risks written through its Washington-based captive. Under the arrangement, Midland, Michigan-based Dow Corning, a joint venture of Dow Chemical Corp. and Corning Inc., will use its captive, Devonshire Underwriters, to fund basic life insurance benefits. Minnesota Life Insurance Co. will reinsure the risk with Devonshire. In 2009, the Labor Department approved an arrangement in which Devonshire reinsured certain other types of life insurance coverage written by Minnesota Life, as well as long-term disability coverage written by Aetna Life Insurance Co.

Jerry Geisel writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email editors@workforce.com.

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