26 CFR § 1.79-0 - Group-term life insurance - definitions of certain terms.

§ 1.79-0 Group-term life insurance - definitions of certain terms.

The following definitions apply for purposes of section 79, this section, and §§ 1.79-1, 1.79-2, and 1.79-3.

Carried directly or indirectly. A policy of life insurance is “carried directly or indirectly” by an employer if -

(a) The employer pays any part of the cost of the life insurance directly or through another person; or

(b) The employer or two or more employers arrange for payment of the cost of the life insurance by their employees and charge at least one employee less than the cost of his or her insurance, as determined under Table I of § 1.79-3(d)(2), and at least one other employee more than the cost of his or her insurance, determined in the same way.

Employee. An “employee” is -

(a) A person who performs services if his or her relationship to the person for whom services are performed is the legal relationship of employer and employee described in § 31.3401(c)-1; or

(b) A full-time life insurance salesperson described in section 7701(a)(20); or

(c) A person who formerly performed services as an employee.

A person who formerly performed services as an employee and currently performs services for the same employer as an independent contractor is considered an employee only with respect to insurance provided because of the person's former services as an employee.

Group of employees. A “group of employees” is all employees of an employer, or less than all employees if membership in the group is determined solely on the basis of age, marital status, or factors related to employment. Examples of factors related to employment are membership in a union some or all of whose members are employed by the employer, duties performed, compensation received, and length of service. Ordinarily the purchase of something other than group-term life insurance is not a factor related to employment. For example, if an employer provides credit life insurance to all employees who purchase automobiles, these employees are not a “group of employees” because membership is not determined solely on the basis of age, marital status, or factors related to employment. On the other hand, participation in an employer's pension, profit-sharing or accident and health plan is considered a factor related to employment even if employees are required to contribute to the cost of the plan. Ownership of stock in the employer corporation is not a factor related to employment. However, participation in an employer's stock bonus plan may be a factor related to employment and a “group of employees” may include employees who own stock in the employer corporation.

Permanent benefit. A “permanent benefit” is an economic value extending beyond one policy year (for example, a paid-up or cash surrender value) that is provided under a life insurance policy. However, the following features are not permanent benefits:

(a) A right to convert (or continue) life insurance after group life insurance coverage terminates;

(b) Any other feature that provides no economic benefit (other than current insurance protection) to the employee; or

(c) A feature under which term life insurance is provided at a level premium for a period of five years or less.

Policy. The term “policy” includes two or more obligations of an insurer (or its affiliates) that are sold in conjunction. Obligations that are offered or available to members of a group of employees are sold in conjunction if they are offered or available because of the employment relationship. The actuarial sufficiency of the premium charged for each obligation is not taken into account in determining whether the obligations are sold in conjunction. In addition, obligations may be sold in conjunction even if the obligations are contained in separate documents, each document is filed with and approved by the applicable state insurance commission, or each obligation is independent of any other obligation. Thus, a group of individual contracts under which life insurance is provided to a group of employees may be a policy. Similarly, two benefits provided to a group of employees, one term life insurance and the other a permanent benefit, may be a policy, even if one of the benefits is provided only to employees who decline the other benefit. However, an employer may elect to treat two or more obligations each of which provides no permanent benefits as separate policies if the premiums are properly allocated among such policies. An employer also may elect to treat an obligation which provides permanent benefits as a separate policy if -

(a) The insurer sells the obligation directly to the employee who pays the full cost thereof;

(b) The participation of the employer with respect to sales of the obligation to employees is limited to selection of the insurer and the type of coverage and to sales assistance activities such as providing employee lists to the insurer, permitting the insurer to use the employer's premises for solicitation, and collecting premiums through payroll deduction;

(c) The insurer sells the obligation on the same terms and in substantial amounts to individuals who do not purchase (and whose employers do not purchase) any other obligation from the insurer; and

(d) No employer-provided benefit is conditioned on purchase of the obligation.

[T.D. 7623, 44 FR 28797, May 17, 1979, as amended by T.D. 7917, 48 FR 45762, Oct. 7, 1983]