26 CFR § 1.817-5 - Diversification requirements for variable annuity, endowment, and life insurance contracts.

§ 1.817-5 Diversification requirements for variable annuity, endowment, and life insurance contracts.

(a) Consequences of nondiversification—(1) In general. Except as provided in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, for purposes of subchapter L, section 72, and section 7702(a), a variable contract (as defined in section 817(d)), other than a pension plan contract (as defined in section 818(a)), which is based on one or more segregated asset accounts shall not be treated as an annuity, endowment, or life insurance contract for any calendar quarter period for which the investments of any such account are not adequately diversified. For this purpose, a variable contract shall be treated as based on a segregated asset account for a calendar quarter period if amounts received under the contract (or earnings thereon) are allocated to the segregated asset account at any time during the period. In addition, a variable contract that is not treated as an annuity, endowment, or life insurance contract for any period by reason of this paragraph (a)(1) shall not be treated as an annuity, endowment, or life insurance contract for any subsequent period even if the investments are adequately diversified for such subsequent period. If a variable contract which is a life insurance or endowment contract under other applicable (e.g., State or foreign) law is not treated as a life insurance or endowment contract under section 7702(a), the income on the contract for any taxable year of the policyholder is treated as ordinary income received or accrued by the policyholder during such year in accordance with section 7702 (g) and (h). Likewise, if a variable contract is not treated as an annuity contract under section 72, the income on the contract for any taxable year of the policyholder shall be treated as ordinary income received or accrued by the policyholder during such year in the same manner as a life insurance or endowment contract under section 7702 (g) and (h).

(2) Inadvertent failure to diversify. The investments of a segregated asset account shall be treated as satisfying the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section for one or more periods, provided the following conditions are satisfied—

(i) The issuer or holder must show the Commissioner that the failure of the investments to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section for such period or periods was inadvertent,

(ii) The investments of the account must satisfy the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section within a reasonable time after the discovery of such failure, and

(iii) The issuer or holder of the variable contract must agree to make such adjustments or pay such amounts as may be required by the Commissioner with respect to the period or periods during which the investments of the account did not satisfy the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) Diversification of investments—(1) In general.

(i) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph and paragraph (c) of this section, the investments of a segregated asset account shall be considered adequately diversified for purposes of this section and section 817(h) only if—

(A) No more than 55% of the value of the total assets of the account is represented by any one investment;

(B) No more than 70% of the value of the total assets of the account is represented by any two investments;

(C) No more than 80% of the value of the total assets of the account is represented by any three investments; and

(D) No more than 90% of the value of the total assets of the account is represented by any four investments.

(ii) For purposes of this section—

(A) All securities of the same issuer, all interests in the same real property project, and all interests in the same commodity are each treated as a single investment; and

(B) In the case of government securities, each government agency or instrumentality shall be treated as a separate issuer.

(iii) See paragraph (f) of this section for circumstances in which a segregated asset account is treated as the owner of assets held indirectly through certain pass-through entities and corporations taxed under subchapter M, chapter 1 of the Code.

(2) Safe harbor. A segregated asset account will be considered adequately diversified for purposes of this section and section 817(h) if—

(i) The account meets the requirements of section 851 (b)(4) and the regulations thereunder; and

(ii) No more than 55% of the value of the total assets of the account is attributable to cash, cash items (including receivables), government securities, and securities of other regulated investment companies.

(3) Alternative diversification requirements for variable life insurance contracts.

(i) A segregated asset account with respect to variable life insurance contracts will be considered adequately diversified for purposes of this section and section 817(h) if the requirements of paragraph (b)(1) or (b)(2) of this section are satisfied or if the assets of such account, other than Treasury securities, satisfy the percentage limitations prescribed in paragraph (b)(1) of this section increased by the product of (A) .5 and (B) the percentage of the value of the total assets of the account that is represented by Treasury securities. In determining whether the assets of an account, other than Treasury securities, satisfy the increased percentage limitations, such limitations are applied as if the Treasury securities were not included in the account (i.e., the increased percentage limitations are not applied to Treasury securities and the value of the total assets of the account is reduced by the value of the Treasury securities).

(ii) The provisions of this paragraph (b)(3) may be illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1.
On the last day of a quarter of a calendar year, a segregated asset account with respect to variable life insurance contracts holds assets having a total value of $100,000. The assets of the account are represented by Treasury securities having a total value of $90,000 and securities of Corporation A having a total value of $10,000. The 55% limit described in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section would be increased by 45% (0.5 × 90%) to 100%, and would then be applied to the assets of the account other than Treasury securities. Because no more than 100% of the value of the assets other than Treasury securities is represented by securities of Corporation A, the investments of the account will be considered adequately diversified.
Example 2.
On the last day of a quarter of a calendar year, a segregated asset account with respect to variable life insurance contracts holds assets having a total value of $100,000. The assets of the account are represented by Treasury securities having a total value of $60,000, securities of Corporation A having a total value of $30,000, and securities of Corporation B having a total value of $10,000. The 55% and 70% limits described in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section would be increased by 30% (0.5 × 60%) to 85% and 100%, respectively, and would then be applied to the assets of the account other than Treasury securities. Securities of Corporation A represent 75%, and securities of Corporation B represent 25%, of the value of the assets of the account other than Treasury securities. Because no more than 85% of the value of the assets other than Treasury securities is represented by securities of Corporation A or B and no more than 100% of the value of the assets other than Treasury securities is represented by securities of Corporations A and B, the investments of the account will be considered adequately diversified.

(c) Periods for which an account is adequately diversified—(1) In general. A segregated asset account that satisfies the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section on the last day of a quarter of a calendar year (i.e., March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31) or within 30 days after such last day shall be considered adequately diversified for such quarter.

(2) Start-up period.

(i) Except as provided in paragraph (c)(2)(iv) of this section, a segregated asset account that is not a real property account on its first anniversary shall be considered adequately diversified until such first anniversary.

(ii) Except as provided in paragraph (c)(2)(iv) of this section, a segregated asset account that is a real property account on its first anniversary shall be considered adequately diversified until the earlier of its fifth anniversary or the anniversary on which the account ceases to be a real property account.

(iii) For purposes of paragraph (c)(2) (i) and (ii) of this section, the anniversary of a segregated asset account is the anniversary of the date on which any amount received under a life insurance or annuity contract, other than a pension plan contract (as defined in section 818 (a)), is first allocated to the account.

(iv) If more than 30 percent of the amount allocated to a segregated asset account as of the last day of a calendar quarter is attributable to contracts entered into more than one year before such date, paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section shall not apply to the segregated asset account for any period after such date. Similarly, if more than 30 percent of the amount allocated to a segregated asset account as of the last day of a calendar quarter is attributable to contracts entered into more than 5 years before such date, paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this section shall not apply to the segregated asset account for any period after such date. For purposes of this paragraph (c)(2), amounts transferred to the account from a diversified account (determined without regard to this paragraph (c)(2)) or as a result of an exchange pursuant to section 1035 in which the issuer of the contract received in the exchange is not related in a manner specified in section 267(b) to the issuer of the contract transferred in the exchange are not treated as—

(A) Amounts attributable to contracts entered into more than one year before such date, in the case of accounts subject to paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section, or

(B) Amounts attributable to contracts entered into more than five years before such date, in the case of accounts subject to paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this section.

(3) Liquidation period. A segregated asset account that satisfies the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section on the date a plan of liquidation is adopted shall be considered adequately diversified for—

(i) The one-year period beginning on the date the plan of liquidation is adopted if the account is not a real property account on such date; or

(ii) The two-year period beginning on the date the plan of liquidation is adopted if the account is a real property account on such date.

(d) Market fluctuations. A segregated asset account that satisfies the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section at the end of any calendar quarter (or within 30 days after the end of such calendar quarter) shall not be considered nondiversified in a subsequent quarter because of a discrepancy between the value of its assets and the diversification requirements unless such discrepancy exists immediately after the acquisition of any asset and such discrepancy is wholly or partly the result of such acquisition.

(e) Segregated asset account. For purposes of section 817(h) and this section, a segregated asset account shall consist of all assets the investment return and market value of each of which must be allocated in an identical manner to any variable contract invested in any of such assets. See paragraph (g) for examples illustrating the application of this paragraph (e).

(f) Look-through rule for assets held through certain investment companies, partnerships, or trusts—(1) In general. If this paragraph (f) applies, a beneficial interest in a regulated investment company, a real estate investment trust, a partnership, or a trust that is treated under sections 671 through 679 as owned by the grantor or another person (“investment company, partnership, or trust”) shall not be treated as a single investment of a segregated asset account. Instead, a pro rata portion of each asset of the investment company, partnership, or trust shall be treated, for purposes of this section, as an asset of the segregated asset account. For purposes of this section, the ratable interest of a partner in a partnership's assets shall be determined in accordance with the partner's capital interest in the partnership.

(2) Applicability—(i) Certain investment companies, partnerships, and trusts. This paragraph (f) shall apply to an investment company, partnership, or trust if—

(A) All the beneficial interests in the investment company, partnership, or trust (other than those described in paragraph (f)(3) of this section) are held by one or more segregated asset accounts of one or more insurance companies; and

(B) Public access to such investment company, partnership, or trust is available exclusively (except as otherwise permitted in paragraph (f)(3) of this section) through the purchase of a variable contract. Solely for this purpose, the status of a contract as a variable contract will be determined without regard to section 817(h) and this section.

(ii) Trusts holding Treasury securities. This paragraph (f) shall also apply to a trust that is treated under section 671 through 679 as owned by the grantor or another person if substantially all of the assets of the trust are represented by Treasury securities.

(3) Interests not held by segregated asset accounts. Satisfaction of the requirements of paragraph (f)(2)(i) of this section shall not be prevented by reason of beneficial interests in the investment company, partnership, or trust that are—

(i) Held by the general account of a life insurance company or a corporation related in a manner specified in section 267(b) to a life insurance company, but only if the return on such interests is computed in the same manner as the return on an interest held by a segregated asset account is computed (determined without regard to expenses attributable to variable contracts), there is no intent to sell such interests to the public, and a segregated asset account of such life insurance company also holds or will hold a beneficial interest in the investment company, partnership, or trust;

(ii) Held by the manager, or a corporation related in a manner specified in section 267(b) to the manager, of the investment company, partnership, or trust, but only if the holding of the interests is in connection with the creation or management of the investment company, partnership, or trust, the return on such interest is computed in the same manner as the return on an interest held by a segregated asset account is computed (determined without regard to expenses attributable to variable contracts), and there is no intent to sell such interests to the public;

(iii) Held by the trustee of a qualified pension or retirement plan;

(iv) Held by a qualified tuition program as defined in section 529;

(v) Held by the trustee of a pension plan established and maintained outside of the United States, as defined in section 7701(a)(9), primarily for the benefit of individuals substantially all of whom are nonresident aliens, as defined in section 7701(b)(1)(B);

(vi) Held by an account which, pursuant to Puerto Rican law or regulation, is segregated from the general asset accounts of the life insurance company that owns the account, provided the requirements of section 817(d) and (h) are satisfied. Solely for purposes of this paragraph (f)(3)(vi), the requirement under section 817(d)(1) that the account be segregated pursuant to State law or regulation shall be disregarded and § 1.817–5(f)(1) shall be applied without regard to the Puerto Rican segregated asset account; or

(vii) Held by the public, or treated as owned by policyholders pursuant to Rev. Rul. 81–225, 1981–2 C.B. 12, but only if (A) the investment company, partnership, or trust was closed to the public in accordance with Rev. Rul. 82–55, 1982–1 C.B. 12, or (B) all the assets of the segregated asset account are attributable to premium payments made by policyholders prior to September 26, 1981, to premium payments made in connection with a qualified pension or retirement plan, or to any combination of such premium payments.

(g) Examples. The provisions of paragraphs (e) and (f) of this section may be illustrated by the following examples.

Example 1.
(i) The assets underlying variable contracts issued by a life insurance company consist of two groups of assets: (a) a diversified portfolio of debt securities and (b) interests in P, a partnership. All of the beneficial interests in P are held by one or more segregated asset accounts of one or more insurance companies and public access to P is available exclusively through the purchase of a variable contract. The variable contracts provide that policyholders may specify which portion of each premium is to be invested in the debt securities and which portion is to be invested in P interests. The portfolio of debt securities and the assets of P, considered separately, each satisfy the diversification requirements of paragraph (b) of this section.

(ii) As a result of the ability of policyholders to allocate premiums among the two groups of assets, the investment return and market value of the interests in P and the debt securities may be allocated to different variable contracts in a non-identical manner. Accordingly, under paragraph (e) of this section, the interests in P are treated as part of a single segregated asset account (“Account 1”) and the debt securities are treated as part of a different segregated asset account (“Account 2”).

(iii) Since P is described in paragraph (f)(2)(i) of this section, interests in P will not be treated as a single investment of Account 1. Rather, Account 1 is treated as owning a pro rata portion of the assets of P.

(iv) Since Account 1 and Account 2 each satisfy the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section, variable contracts that are based on either or both accounts are treated as annuity, endowment, or life insurance contracts.

Example 2.
The facts are the same as in example 1 except that some of the beneficial interests in P are held by persons not described in paragraph (f)(3) of this section. Since P is not described in paragraph (f)(2) of this section, interests in P will be treated as a single investment of Account 1. As a result, Account 1 does not satisfy the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section. Variable contracts based in whole or in part on Account 1 are not treated as annuity, endowment, or life insurance contracts. Variable contracts that are not based on Account 1 at any time during the period in which such account fails to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section (i.e., contracts based entirely on Account 2), are treated as annuity, endowment, or life insurance contracts. See paragraph (a)(1).
Example 3.
The facts are the same as in example 2 except that the variable contracts do not permit policyholders to allocate premiums between or among the debt securities and interests in P. Thus, the investment return and market value of the interests in P and the debt securities must be allocated to the same variable contracts and in an identical manner. Under paragraph (e) of this section, the interests in P and the debt securities are treated as part of a single segregated asset account. If the interests in P and the debt securities, considered together, satisfy the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section, contracts based on this segregated asset account will be treated as annuity, endowment, or life insurance contracts.

(h) Definitions. The terms defined below shall, for purposes of this section, have the meanings set forth in such definitions:

(1) Government security—(i) General rule. The term government security shall mean any security issued or guaranteed or insured by the United States or an instrumentality of the United States; or any certificate of deposit for any of the foregoing. Any security or certificate or deposit insured or guaranteed only in part by the United States or an instrumentality thereof is treated as issued by the United States or its instrumentality only to the extent so insured or guaranteed, and as issued by the direct obligor to the extent not so insured or guaranteed. For purposes of this paragraph (h)(1), an instrumentality of the United States shall mean any person that is treated for purposes of 15 U.S.C. 80a–2 (16), as amended, as a person controlled or supervised by and acting as an instrumentality of the Government of the United States pursuant to authority granted by the Congress of the United States.

(ii) Example. A segregated asset account purchases a certificate of deposit in the amount of $150,000 from bank A. Deposits in bank A are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, an instrumentality of the United States, to the extent of $100,000 per depositor. The certificate of deposit is treated as a government security to the extent of the $100,000 insured amount and is treated as a security issued by bank A to the extent of the $50,000 excess of the value of the certificate of deposit over the insured amount.

(2) Treasury security—(i) General rule. For purposes of paragraph (b)(3) of this section and section 817(h)(3), the term Treasury security shall mean a security the direct obligor of which is the United States Treasury.

(ii) Example. A segregated asset account purchases put and call options on U.S. Treasury securities issued by the Options Clearing Corporation. The options are not Treasury securities for purposes of paragraph (b)(3) and section 817(h)(3) because the direct obligor of the options is not the United States Treasury.

(3) Real property. The term real property shall mean any property that is treated as real property under 1.856–3 (d) except that it shall not include interests in real property.

(4) Real property account. A segregated asset account is a real property account on an anniversary of the account (within the meaning of paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this section) or on the date a plan of liquidation is adopted if not less than the applicable percentage of the total assets of the account is represented by real property or interests in real property on such anniversary or date. For this purpose, the applicable percentage is 40% for the period ending on the first anniversary of the date on which premium income is first received, 50% for the year ending on the second anniversary, 60% for the year ending on the third anniversary, 70% for the year ending on the fourth anniversary, and 80% thereafter. A segregated asset account will also be treated as a real property account on its first anniversary if on or before such first anniversary the issuer has stated in the contract or prospectus or in a submission to a regulatory agency, an intention that the assets of the account will be primarily invested in real property or interests in real property, provided that at least 40% of the total assets of the account are so invested within six months after such first anniversary.

(5) Commodity. The term commodity shall mean any type of personal property other than a security.

(6) Security. The term security shall include a cash item and any partnership interest, whether or not registered under a Federal or State law regulating the offering or sale of securities. The term shall not include any interest in real property, or any interest in a commodity.

(7) Interest in real property. The term interest in real property shall include the ownership and co-ownership of land or improvements thereon and leaseholds of land or improvements thereon. Such term shall not, however, include mineral, oil, or gas royalty interests, such as a retained economic interest in coal or iron ore with respect to which the special provisions of section 631(c) apply. The term “interest in real property” also shall include options to acquire land or improvements thereon, and options to acquire leaseholds of land or improvements thereon.

(8) Interest in a commodity. The term interest in a commodity shall include the ownership and co-ownership of any type of personal property other than a security, and any leaseholds thereof. Such term shall include mineral, oil, and gas royalty interests, including any fractional undivided interest therein. Such term also shall include any put, call, straddle, option, or privilege on any type of personal property other than a security.

(9) Value. The term value shall mean, with respect to investments for which market quotations are readily available, the market value of such investments; and with respect to other investments, fair value as determined in good faith by the managers of the segregated asset account.

(10) Terms used in section 851. To the extent not inconsistent with this paragraph (h) all terms used in this section shall have the same meaning as when used in section 851.

(i) Effective date—(1) In general. This section is effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 1983.

(2) Exceptions.

(i) If, at all times after December 31, 1983, an insurance company would be considered the owner of the assets of a segregated asset account under the principles of Rev. Rul. 81–225, 1981–2 C.B. 12, this section will not apply to such account until December 15, 1986.

(ii) This section will not apply to any variable contract to which Rev. Rul. 77–85, 1977–1 C.B. 12, or Rev. Rul. 81–225, 1981–2 C.B. 12, did not apply by reason of the limited retroactive effect of such rulings.

(iii) In determining whether a segregated asset account is adequately diversified for any calendar quarter ending before July 1, 1988, debt instruments that are issued, guaranteed, or insured by the United States or an instrumentality of the United States shall not be treated as government securities if such debt instruments are secured by a mortgage on real property (other than real property owned by the United States or an instrumentality of the United States) or represent an interest in a pool of debt instruments secured by such mortgages.

(iv) This section shall not apply until January 1, 1989, with respect to a variable contract (as defined in section 817(d)) that (1) provides for the payment of an immediate annuity (as defined in section 72(u)(4)); (2) was outstanding on September 12, 1986; and (3) the segregated asset account on which it was based was, on September 12, 1986, wholly invested in deposits insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation.

(v) A segregated asset account in existence before March 1, 2005, will be considered to be adequately diversified if—

(A) As of March 1, 2005, the account was adequately diversified within the meaning of section 817(h) and this regulation as in effect prior to that date; and

(B) By December 31, 2005, the account is adequately diversified within the meaning of section 817(h) and this regulation.

[T.D. 8242, 54 FR 8730, Mar. 2, 1989; T.D. 8242, 54 FR 11866, Mar. 22, 1989; T.D. 9185, 70 FR 9872, Mar. 1, 2005; T.D. 9385, 73 FR 12265, Mar. 7, 2008]