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Regulation and Compliance > Federal Regulation > IRS

IRS Explains Rules For Unisex And Smoker Tables

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The Internal Revenue Service is giving insurers more advice about how to use the 2001 Commissioners’ Standard Ordinary mortality and morbidity tables.

Ann Logan, an IRS financial institutions and financial products specialist, says the IRS wants to make sure issuers of older products can continue to apply the old standards to contracts that use the 1980 CSO mortality and mobility tables, and to reduce the chances that changes to an older policy will subject it to the new standards.

The guidance provides examples of contract “changes, modifications, or exercises of contractual provisions that will not require a change from previous tables to the 2001 CSO tables,” Logan writes in IRS Notice 2006-95.

The IRS issued the guidance because Section 7702(c)(3)(B)(i) requires a life insurance policy to meet certain standards before it can qualify for the tax breaks usually accorded to life insurance policies.

One rule requires that mortality changes be “reasonable,” and that a life insurer come up with reasonable mortality charges by using an IRS-approved mortality table.

The IRS already has issued some advice about how to use the new, 2001 mortality tables in Notice 2004-61. IRS Notice 2006-95 was developed to address some of the concerns raised in responses to the 2004 notice, Logan writes in the new notice.

One provision in the new notice modifies the rules for gender-based and smoking-based tables so that they apply only to policies that use the 2001 CSO tables.

Another notice provision eliminates the use of the concept of “underwriting” in the rule for determining the issue date of a policy that undergoes a change in the death benefit.

Under the rules in the new notice, for example, an insurer can use the 2001 CSO Gender-Blended Mortality tables to calculate reasonable mortality charges for female insureds as long as the issuer’s state regulators permit use of the gender-blended tables in calculations of minimum nonforfeiture values and as long as the insurer also uses the tables to determine mortality charges for male insureds.

Similarly, if a state lets an insurer use the 2001 CSO Smoker and Nonsmoker Mortality tables to compute minimum nonforfeiture values, the insurer can use the smoker tables to compute reasonable mortality charges for smoker insureds as long as it also uses the nonsmoker tables to compute reasonable mortality charges for nonsmokers, Logan writes.


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