26 CFR § 1.801-3 - Definitions.
For purposes of part I, subchapter L, chapter 1 of the Code, this section defines the following terms, which are to be used in determining if a taxpayer is a life insurance company (as defined in section 801(a) and paragraph (b) of this section):
(a) Insurance company.
(1) The term insurance company means a company whose primary and predominant business activity during the taxable year is the issuing of insurance or annuity contracts or the reinsuring of risks underwritten by insurance companies. Thus, though its name, charter powers, and subjection to State insurance laws are significant in determining the business which a company is authorized and intends to carry on, it is the character of the business actually done in the taxable year which determines whether a company is taxable as an insurance company under the Internal Revenue Code.
(2) Insurance companies include both stock and mutual companies, as well as mutual benefit insurance companies. For taxable years beginning before January 1, 1970, a voluntary unincorporated association of employees, including an association fulfilling the requirements of section 801(b)(2)(B) (as in effect for such years), 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 an insurance company, and the income from such fund shall be included in the return of the corporation.
(b) Life insurance company.
(1) The term life insurance company, as used in subtitle A of the Code, is defined in section 801(a). For the purpose of determining whether a company is a “life insurance company” within the meaning of that term as used in section 801(a), it must first be determined whether the company is taxable as an insurance company (as defined in paragraph (a) of this section). An insurance company shall be taxed as a life insurance company if it is engaged in the business of issuing life insurance and annuity contracts (either separately or combined with health and accident insurance), or noncancellable contracts of health and accident insurance, and its life insurance reserves (as defined in section 801(b) and § 1.801-4), plus unearned premiums, and unpaid losses (whether or not ascertained), on noncancellable life, health, or accident policies not included in life insurance reserves, comprise more than 50 percent of its total reserves (as defined in section 801(c) and § 1.801-5). For purposes of determining whether it satisfies the percentage requirements of the preceding sentence, a company shall first make any adjustments to life insurance reserves and total reserves required by section 806(a) (relating to adjustments for certain changes in reserves and assets) and then as required by section 801(d) (relating to adjustments in reserves for policy loans). For examples of the adjustments required under section 806(a), see paragraph (b)(4) of § 1.806-3. For an example of the adjustments required under section 801(d), see paragraph (c) of § 1.801-6. Furthermore, if an insurance company which computes its life insurance reserves on a preliminary term basis elects to revalue such reserves on a net level premium basis under section 818(c), such revalued basis shall be disregarded for purposes of section 801.
(2) 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 (whether or not ascertained), on such policies comprise more than 50 percent of its total reserves.
(3) Section 801(f) provides that a burial or funeral benefit insurance company engaged directly in the manufacture of funeral supplies or the performance of funeral services shall not be taxable under section 802 but shall be taxable under section 821 or section 831 as an insurance company other than life.
(c) Noncancellable life, health, or accident insurance policy. The term noncancellable life, health, or accident insurance policy means a health and accident contract, or a health and accident contract combined with a life insurance or annuity 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 premiums (as defined in paragraph (e) of this section) must be carried to cover that obligation. Such a health and accident contract shall be considered noncancellable even though it states a termination date at a stipulated age, if, with respect to the health and accident contract, such age termination date is 60 or over. Such a contract, however, shall not be considered to be noncancellable after the age termination date stipulated in the contract has passed. However, if the age termination date stipulated in the contract occurs during the period covered by a premium received by the life insurance company prior to such date, and the company cannot cancel or modify the contract during such period, the age termination date shall be deemed to occur at the expiration of the period for which the premium has been received.
(d) Guaranteed renewable life, health, and accident insurance policy. The term guaranteed renewable life, health, and accident insurance policy means a health and accident contract, or a health and accident contract combined with a life insurance or annuity contract, which is not cancellable by the company but under which the company reserves the right to adjust premium rates by classes in accordance with its experience under the type of policy involved, and with respect to which a reserve in addition to the unearned premiums (as defined in paragraph (e) of this section) must be carried to cover that obligation. Section 801(e) provides that such policies shall be treated in the same manner as noncancellable life, health, and accident insurance policies. For example, the age termination date requirements applicable to noncancellable health and accident insurance policies shall also apply to guaranteed renewable life, health, and accident insurance policies. See paragraph (c) of this section.
(e) Unearned premiums. The term unearned premiums means those amounts which shall cover the cost of carrying the insurance risk for the period for which the premiums have been paid in advance. Such term includes all unearned premiums, whether or not required by law.
(g) Unpaid losses (whether or not ascertained). The term unpaid losses (whether or not ascertained) means a reasonable estimate of the amount of the losses (based upon the facts in each case and the company's experience with similar cases):
(i) Amount of reserves. For purposes of subsections (a), (b), and (c) of section 801 and this section, section 801(b)(5) provides that the amount of any reserve (or portion thereof) for any taxable year shall be the mean of such reserve (or portion thereof) at the beginning and end of the taxable year.