26 CFR § 1.801-1 - Definitions.
(a) Life insurance company. The term life insurance company as used in subtitle A of the Code is defined in section 801. For the purpose of determining whether a company is a “life insurance company” within the meaning of that term as used in section 801, it must first be determined whether the company is taxable as an insurance company under the Code. For the definition of an “insurance company”, see paragraph (b) of this section. In determining whether an insurance company is a life insurance company, the life insurance reserves (as defined in section 803(b)) plus any unearned premiums and unpaid losses on noncancellable life, health, or accident policies, not included in “life insurance reserves” must comprise more than 50 percent of its total reserves (as defined in section 801). An insurance company writing only noncancellable life, health, or accident policies and having no “life insurance reserves” may qualify as a life insurance company if its unearned premiums and unpaid losses on such policies comprise more than 50 percent of its total reserves. A noncancellable insurance policy means a contract which the insurance company is under an obligation to renew or continue at a specified premium and with respect to which a reserve in addition to the unearned premium must be carried to cover that obligation. For the purpose of the preceding sentence, the term “unearned premium” means the amount which will cover the cost of carrying the insurance risk for the period for which the premium has been paid in advance. A burial or funeral benefit insurance company qualifying as a life insurance company engaged directly in the manufacture of funeral supplies or the performance of funeral services will be taxable under section 821 or section 831 as an insurance company other than life.
(b) Insurance companies.
(1) Insurance companies include both stock and mutual companies, as well as mutual benefit insurance companies. A voluntary unincorporated association of employees formed for the purpose of relieving sick and aged members and the dependents of deceased members is an insurance company, whether the fund for such purpose is created wholly by membership dues or partly by contributions from the employer. A corporation which merely sets aside a fund for the insurance of its employees is not required to file a separate return for such fund, but the income therefrom shall be included in the return of the corporation.
(2) Though its name, charter powers, and subjection to State insurance laws are significant in determining the business which a corporation is authorized and intends to carry on, the character of the business actually done in the taxable year determines whether it is taxable as an insurance company under the Code. For example, during the year 1954 the M Corporation, incorporated under the insurance laws of the State of R, carried on the business of lending money in addition to guaranteeing the payment of principal and interest of mortgage loans. Of its total income for the year, one-third was derived from its insurance business of guaranteeing the payment of principal and interest of mortgage loans and two-thirds was derived from its noninsurance business of lending money. The M Corporation is not an insurance company for the year 1954 within the meaning of the Code and the regulations thereunder.