NEWS

Captive Insurance NewsCaptive insurance news stories are being published and shared more frequently than ever before. The industry is growing at a rapid pace, garnering the interests of business owners looking for effective alternative risk management solutions. More mid-market companies are forming captives as a way to cover under or uninsured business risks and to to take advantage of the ancillary benefits captives offer. As the economic climate improves, more businesses are becoming eligible for captive formation under the 831 (b) tax election. New domiciles are emerging and more established ones are making changes to make it easier for business owners to own captives while remaining compliant.

These changes and more are reported frequently by the media; these stories are a reflection of a thriving industry. We are committed to sharing captive insurance industry news with the public—transparency into the industry fosters confidence for operating business owners who are considering captive formation. The news articles we publish on our website originate from trusted resources; they aim to squelch misinformation and misnomers with facts, proven data, and commentary from experts in the industry.

We hope you will find these captive insurance news, articles, case studies, podcasts, videos and resources to be educational, insightful, and intriguing.

Editor’s Notes: As of CURRENT_YEAR, Capstone has been operating for CAP_YEARS_NUMBER years and has formed over CAPTIVE_FORMATIONS captives. As of CURRENT_YEAR, The Feldman Law Firm has been operating for LAW_YEARS_NUMBER years and has successfully resolved over TAX_CONTROVERSIES tax controversies. The current cap on captive insurance premiums is CURRENT_PREMIUM_CAP million, which carries a 0% Federal income tax rate under Section 831(b) of the Internal Revenue Code.


Capstone's CEO Named Top ERC Pioneer 2016

January 11, 2017 (Houston, TX) - Industry publication, Captive Review, today announced honors for Capstone and its CEO and General Counsel, Stewart A. Feldman, for their work in the captive insurance industry.

Earning a spot on its 2016 Enterprise Risk Captive (ERC) Pioneers List for the second time, Feldman received recognition for being one of the top 20 U.S. persons involved with mid-market captive insurance. "I am honored to receive this recognition once again by Captive Review with my inclusion onto its Enterprise Risk Captive - Pioneers List," said Feldman. "This recognition is a testament to the ongoing commitment that Capstone and The Feldman Law Firm LLP have to our clients -- providing industry-leading, comprehensive captive planning services. Read more.


estate-planningChanges to Valuation Discounts in Estate Planning

September 27, 2016 - The IRS recently announced its plans to eliminate many valuation discounts which had been available for decades in minimizing estate tax through the use of family limited partnerships and related planning techniques. There remains a limited window of opportunity which the IRS is seeking, after many years of trying, to eliminate by year end.

If you have considered undertaking estate planning, or have in place a family limited partnership, your immediate attention should be given to these likely expiring provisions. The existing $5.45 million per person unified credit ($10.9 million per married couple) combined with planning techniques presently available (e.g., family limited partnerships, defective (grantor) trusts), make the currently available range of tools especially effective. The Service seeks to change this by year end.

For more information, please contact:

Montere Wuensche
mwuensche@feldlaw.com
713.850.0700 (office)
832.326.5332 (cell)


estate tax planningWhy 4,400 People Aren't Planning Around Estate Tax

August 2, 2016 - The Wall Street Journal reports that 4,400 people -- a relatively small number in a country of more than 325 million -- are expected to have taxable estates this year. The estate tax, which has now been in existence for 100 years, obligates taxpayers to pay up to 40% of their net assets at death, above an adjusted floor currently being $5.45 million per taxpayer ($10.9 million per couple). The estate tax has seldom raised a significant part of the federal budget, and not surprisingly, has drawn strong criticism over the years. Read more.


capstone_bolsters_tax_talentCapstone Addition Bolsters Talent

June 28, 2016 - Capstone Associated Services, Ltd. has again strengthened its bench responding to the 2015 Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act, otherwise known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2015. The December 2015 act imposed significant ownership restrictions for Internal Revenue Code Section 831(b) electing captives, and significantly increased the cap on premiums, calling for major restructuring of many captive insurers.

The Feldman Law Firm LLP, Capstone's affiliated law firm, proudly announces that Kenneth Anderson has joined its practice, to focus on restructurings necessitated by the 2015 PATH Act and other captive insurance corporate matters Read more.


florida-symposium_newsCapstone, U.S. Advisors, and Munich Re to Host Florida Symposium

June 21, 2016 - Capstone announces its joint sponsorship along with U.S. Advisors and Munich Re, of a 3-city healthcare symposium this month in Florida. The focus is on medical providers who assume capitation risks for medicare patients. Typically, the capitation provider has many thousands of patients for which the provider is "at risk" financially for medical services.

Capstone will present information about its successful design and implementation of a captive strategy for capitated providers operating under the Affordable Care Act. Questions? Contact Lance McNeel at WEB_TEL.


us captive services award 2016Capstone Named Finalist for Captive Review's 2016 Services Award

July 15, 2016 - Capstone Associated Services, Ltd. is pleased to announce that it has been named a finalist for Captive Review's 2016 Services Award for Best Captive Management for Enterprise Risk Captives.Captive Review chose Capstone from among captive managers throughout the U.S. 

Team Capstone was recognized by Captive Review in 2015 as a Top 20 Captive Industry Pioneer. Capstone's CEO was also recognized in 2014 as the 26th most influential authority in the captive industry.


aicpa tax conference 2016Capstone's Feldman Addresses National CPA Tax Conference

June 20, 2016 (Houston, TX) - Stewart A. Feldman, CEO and General Counsel for Capstone, was a featured speaker at the American Institute of CPAs' Conference on Tax Strategies for the High Income Individual, held May 23-24, 2016 in Las Vegas, NV. More than 500 CPAs were in attendance from across the U.S.

Mr. Feldman's presentation addressed the pitfalls and complexities in implementing captive insurance/alternative risk planning and his experience with more than 55 captive audit and tax controversies over the last two decades. Read more.


irsThe IRS Faces Budget Cuts, Taxpayers Still at Risk

June 9, 2016 (Houston, TX) -  The Wall Street Journal reports that the Internal Revenue Service is still having operational problems, exacerbated by a lack of funding. Major budget cuts that began in 2010 have strained the agency's ability to pursue its mission. While the Democrats controlled Congress in 2009 and 2010 giving the IRS more responsibility and power, the agency misused it in ways which included its inappropriate scrutiny of groups seeking tax-exempt status. This prompted executive firings and years of Congressional investigations, which continue to this day. The agency is still reeling from these errors in judgment.  Read more.


foreign_banks_accountsBusinesses Win Big with Reinvestment Strategies

June 7, 2016 (Houston, TX) -  The Wall Street Journal reports about U.S.companies avoiding current federal income taxes on their overseas profits. As seen by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, businesses reinvest foreign earnings in non-U.S. activities abroad so as to avoid funds from being taxed when they are otherwise transferred back to the U.S.  Learn more.



Captive Manager TexasCapstone is Now an Approved Captive Manager in Texas

May 31, 2016 (Houston, TX) – Capstone Associated Services, Ltd. proudly announces that it has been approved as a captive manager by the Texas Department of Insurance. This is the 8th jurisdiction where Capstone is licensed.

“With the recent favorable state legislative changes, the captive insurance landscape in Texas is changing. Texas is now advancing as an acceptable domicile for the mid-market,” commented Stewart A. Feldman, CEO and General Counsel for Capstone. “Texas has not traditionally been a recognized captive domicile. Only in 2013 did Texas enact any captive legislation. As a result, Texas has a mere 29 licensed captives, with most captives affiliated with large companies, like AT&T." Learn more.


Paula LittleTeam Capstone Welcomes Paula Little

May 23, 2016 (Houston, TX) -Team Capstone welcomes Paula Little, CPA as the newest member of its nationally recognized, captive management team. Ms. Little brings 25 years of tax experience to Capstone's already deep bench. At Capstone, Ms. Little is the liaison on federal and state tax-related matters with the tax and corporate lawyers at The Feldman Law Firm LLP. Over the last 18 years, Capstone has taken the lead in almost 200 captive formations, making it one of the largest, mid-market captive managers in the U.S. It is the largest independently-owned, turnkey captive management operation serving the middle market. Learn more.



david_overbeckDavid Overbeck Earns CPCU Designation

May 16, 2016 (Houston, TX) - Capstone is pleased to announce that David Overbeck, Director of Insurance Operations, has earned the prestigious designation of Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter (CPCU). This achievement, plus his existing certifications and experience, further demonstrates Overbeck as an industry expert in risk management. Overbeck has over 17 years of insurance experience, including holding a certification as an "Associate in Claims" in the property & casualty areas. Read more about David Overbeck.



jeff_gordonJeff Simpson/Gordon, Fournaris Client Suffers $4 Million Defeat

November 11, 2015, (Houston, TX) - PoolRe Insurance Corp. and others announce the settlement of a long-running case against Organizational Strategies, Inc., a defense contractor based in Virginia. The settlement, concluded in the last few days, paid in excess of $2.2 million to PoolRe and others by OSI and its owners, Nicolette and William Hendricks.Read more.

 


irs_taxpayersAudits are Down, Taxpayers Still at Risk

March 30, 2016 (Houston, TX) - The Wall Street Journal reports that the Internal Revenue Service has so far this year improved its wait times for taxpayers, but problems still remain. Audits are still down, but problems such as cyber attacks have left the Agency and taxpayers vulnerable. The issues are perpetuated by a lack of funding--even after an influx of dollars from the U.S. government. Read the story here.




Hillary ClintonHillary Clinton Proposes 4% Income Tax Surcharge

March 24, 2016 (Houston, TX) - The Wall Street Journal reports that Presidential candidate and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is proposing a 4% income-tax surcharge on the wealthiest Americans that would restore the top tax rate to levels not seen in 30 years. Get the story here.

Clinton's proposal goes beyond the so-called “Buffett Rule," which would impose a minimum 30% tax on those with adjusted gross incomes of more than $2 million. The 4% surcharge would be assessed on top of the 39.6% top income-tax rate, not including payroll taxes or the 3.8% tax on unearned income. Although Clinton's and other similar proposals are far from being enacted legislation, several presidential candidates are pushing for higher tax rates on corporations and high-income earners.

Owners of closely-held businesses should consider strategies to navigate these new threats.


Estate Planning Strategies, Captive Insurance CompaniesFederal Reserve to Raise Interest Rates

March 15, 2016 (Houston, TX) - The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates inherent in wealth transfer transactions. Wealthy clients should consider implementing strategies before rates climb further. Get the full story here.

Interest rates affect estate and income-tax planning. Clients implement planning strategies such as intra-family loans, grantor retained annuity trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, and charitable remainder annuity trusts to mitigate the adverse effects of increasing tax rates. Clients should consider all planning options. Among them is a captive insurance arrangement which provides comprehensive risk coverage, along with ancillary planning benefits for closely-held businesses.


Tax PolicyA Private Tax System That Saves Billions

March 8, 2016 (Houston, TX) - The New York Times reports that increased tax rates for "wealthy" Americans is on the horizon. Get the story here.

Traditionally, at least until recently, effective federal income tax rates for high-income individuals have remained low, as various planning strategies were utilized and as rates have been at historic lows. From Mr. Obama’s inauguration through the end of 2012, federal income tax rates on individuals changed little (excluding payroll taxes). The highest-earning Americans went from paying an average of 20.9 percent to 17.6 percent. By contrast, the top 1 percent, excluding the very wealthy, remained at about a 24 percent tax rate.

A budget deal that Congress approved in October allows for the Internal Revenue Service to collect underpaid taxes from large partnerships at the firm level for the first time. Inheritance tax policy is also being scrutinized, which would also make it more difficult for high-income families to transfer businesses and other assets at a tax-advantageous rate.


How States' Regulatory Structures Measure UpHow States' Regulatory Structures Measure Up

March 1, 2016 (Houston, TX) - The industry publication Captive Review reports that both the state and the federal governments are working to enact new captive legislation. Get the story here.

The role of state insurance regulators is to ensure that licensed captive insurance companies operate in compliance with applicable state insurance laws. Capstone explains that it takes years for states to develop a workable regulatory infrastructure. By way of example, Texas is still in its infancy in terms of captive insurance regulation. Its Department of Insurance began licensing captive insurance companies in 2013, yet Texas, the third largest state, has only licensed 25 captives. To be sure, building a viable domicile takes years. Passing enabling legislation is only the beginning.

Other states have been working for years to develop their regulatory structure, such as Delaware and Vermont. These states have a 10 - 30 year head start over the new states like Texas and Illinois. Yet, with the passage of the Dodd Frank Act and the desire of states to collect the IPP or self procured premium tax, there is a tendency to consider "home state formations." The whole area is in flux, yet state tax needs to be considered in designing any captive arrangement.


Bank of AmericaTax Trade Troubles Linger at Bank of America

February 24, 2016 (Houston, TX) - The Wall Street Journal reports that Bank of America has dismantled a trading group which assisted clients with avoiding withholding taxes on dividends. Bank of America had come under scrutiny on how it handled these dividend-tax trades. See complete details here.

Alternative risk planning, which includes the formation of a captive insurance company, provides owners of closely-held middle market businesses with comprehensive risk coverage, along with planning benefits. New captive legislation has increased the ceiling on tax-deductible premiums to $2.2 million from $1.2 million beginning with the 2017 tax year. Those seeking to cover risks not covered in their existing insurance program are good candidates for captive formation.


Obama Tax RecordThe Record Under Obama - Taxing the Rich

February 17, 2016 (Houston, TX) - CNN Money reports that President Obama proposes to raise taxes on the "rich" in his 2016 budget. An increase in investment taxes and measures to close estate tax planning could take effect before he leaves office. Get the story here.

Obama's track record for increased taxes on high-income taxpayers continues as he looks to "level the playing field" in order to cover increased government spending. Under Obama, the average federal tax rate paid by the top 1% of households has gone up more than 6 percentage points to an estimated 33.8%, according to the Tax Policy Center. Other tax hikes have included a higher Medicare tax on top wages, higher capital gains, and increased dividend tax rates for those with taxable income over $400,000. Rates on dividends and long-term capital gains are 20%, a full 33% increase from the Bush-era 15% rate.


Megan Brooks, Capstone Associated's Financial Risk ManagerMegan M. Brooks, ARM Named VP of Operations

February 8, 2016 (Houston, TX) - Capstone Associated Services, Ltd. is proud to announce the promotion of Megan M. Brooks, ARM to its executive management team as Vice President - Operations. In her new role, Brooks will work closely with Capstone's President and COO, Charles Earls, CEO and its General Counsel, Stewart Feldman, along with The Feldman Law Firm LLP in managing Capstone's operations. Read More.



Taxing the RichEconomists Say to Tax the Rich at 90 Percent

February 2, 2016 (Houston, TX) - Huffington Post reports that some economists are calling for an increase in federal income tax rates for high-income individuals, to 91 percent. Get the story here.

A working paper written by economists Fabian Kindermann from the University of Bonn and Dirk Krueger from the University of Pennsylvania argues that a top marginal tax rate in the range of 90 percent would decrease both income and wealth inequality and cover government expenditures.

These "scholars" also argue that economic prosperity would be attained by all taxpayers. "If rates are high for the top earners and low for everyone else, there's a big chance you will pay for a low rate and a small chance you will pay a high rate," said Krueger.

Case-in-point: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said that she wants to go further than President Obama in raising taxes, proposing that millionaires pay no less than 30% in taxes on their income.


Bermuda Reinsurance CompanyBermuda Reinsurance Company Winds Down Amid IRS Scrutiny

January 29, 2016 (Houston, TX) - A recent New York Times article discusses one of the largest hedge fund’s use of an offshore insurance arrangement as part of its trading operations. Get the story here.

Captives have a broad range of benefits, extending well beyond providing traditional insurance coverage areas. To be sure, the other side of the balance sheet concerns the captive’s investment operations. For the last two decades, both Capstone and The Feldman Law Firm LLP have been the recognized leaders in designing and implementing a range of insurance programs for various types of captives. We look forward to answering your questions and evaluating how a captive might apply to your business.


Hillary Clinton Proposes Tax Hikes for Top EarnersHillary Clinton Proposes Tax Hikes for Top Earners

January 27, 2016 (Houston, TX) - Bloomberg reports that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will unveil proposals this month that will raise the effective tax rates paid by top earners. Get the story's details here.

In a statement released during a December campaign stop, Clinton reiterated her plans to block corporate inversions (tax strategies where businesses move their corporate headquarters and in some cases, their operations, to lower-taxed countries).

The former first lady also criticized current tax policies, arguing that it is unfair for high earners to pay a lower rate. "A quarter of the highest earning taxpayers...pay a federal income tax of less than 20 percent," she said. As president, I'll do what it takes to make sure the super-wealthy are truly paying their fair share."

Owners of closely-held businesses can mitigate risk through a captive insurance arrangement that offers comprehensive risk management and which funds future losses on a pre-tax basis.


Captive Insurance AwardsCapstone Makes Captive Review ERC Pioneers List

December 22, 2015 (Houston, TX) - Capstone's CEO and General Counsel, Stewart A. Feldman earned top accolades this week by the industry publication Captive Review, making the "Enterprise Risk Captive (ERC) Pioneers" List. The list recognizes the top 20 in the captive industry in the United States. Last year, Capstone and Stewart Feldman were recognized as #26 of the top 50 in the captive industry worldwide.

The middle market is the fastest-growing segment of the captive insurance industry, and Capstone, along with its affiliated law firm, The Feldman Law Firm LLP, is leading the charge for higher standards in captive planning.

"We're excited to have been recognized once again by Captive Review and by the larger captive community as being a leader in the alternative risk planning space," said Stewart A. Feldman. "As the industry evolves, we will continue to demonstrate excellence and sophistication in the design, implementation, and ongoing management of captives. Team Capstone appreciates the recognition."

"Smaller captives" are generally defined as those writing less than $1.2 million in annual premiums, allowing them to qualify for the IRC 831(b) tax election. With the new tax legislation enacted by Congress late last week and signed by the President immediately thereafter, the annual premium limit will rise to $2.2 million in 2017 while ownership by multiple generations has become muddled.

For more information on Capstone's 17-year work history in forming and operating captives, please contact a member of its executive team.


Cyber Security InsuranceCyber Insurance Market is Evolving

December 30, 2015 (Houston, TX) - Insurance Journal reports that insurance coverages for cyber risks are on the rise. The insurance industry paid out more than $400 million in cyber claims in 2014 alone. Get the story here.

Home Depot's well-publicized cyber breaches cost it $62 million. Target's breach cost the retailer $148 million and its CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, his job.

The insurance market for cyber risks is evolving -- five years ago, insurance products covered privacy breach response, including review and remediation of data systems. Now, cyber coverages are addressing business interruption, system damage, and more.

There are few primary underwriters that have the expertise and the experience to offer comprehensive cyber risk coverages and the cost of comprehensive coverages is significant. As a result, captives have seen an increase in the offering of cyber coverages.

Business owners should continue to be proactive in their risk planning. A captive insurance arrangement offers customized and more comprehensive coverages for cyber-related risks along with other tailored coverages.


Gaps in Coverage could lead to lawsuitsExclusions Could Lead to Lawsuits

December 28, 2015 (Houston, TX) - Industry publication Risk & Insurance reported that limitations or exclusions in commercial insurance policies could lead to costly lawsuits. A prime example is the recent flooding in Thailand, which caused $39.4 million in property damage to a Thai facility owned by Federal-Mogul Corp. The flooding also resulted in a “time element loss” of $25.1 million. Get the story here.

Federal-Mogul submitted claims to Insurance Co. of the State of Pennsylvania and the insurer only paid $30 million under the $200 million flood policy. The insurer rejected the time-element claim, relying on the exclusions in the policy. A captive property may have covered these exclusions.


High Risk Employment dataStates Leading in Employment Litigation Lawsuits

December 24, 2015 (Houston, TX) - The publication Risk & Insurance reports that employment practice lawsuits are on the rise for small and middle market businesses (SMBs). An analysis conducted by the The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") identified the states that were most at risk for these types of lawsuits. Get the story here.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) is a common coverage through captive insurers. Even where there is commercial insurance, a captive often has a supplemental or excess EPLI in place to provide comprehensive coverage.

One in five small and medium-sized businesses will face employment charges with an average defense cost of $125,000. The median judgment for cases that are tried is approximately $200,000. There have been significant spikes in employment litigation and businesses are increasingly proactive in mitigating potential losses stemming from employment practice and class action lawsuits.


Captive Insurance RulingTax Court Issues Favorable Captive Insurance Ruling

December 2, 2015 (Houston, TX) - The U.S. Tax Court recently ruled in favor of the captive insurer in R.V.I. Guaranty Co., Ltd. In doing so, the Tax Court further clarified the definition of an "insurance risk" for federal income tax purposes in a taxpayer favorable manner, adopting positions long advocated by Capstone. This Tax Court decision overrules current IRS administrative guidance.

Courts have long held that for insurance payments to be deductible for federal income tax purposes, the policies must cover an "insurance risk." The IRS previously had claimed that investment or business risk was not insurable and issued a technical advice memorandum (TAM 201149021) in 2011 stating that policies insuring against the decrease in the residual value of an asset were not insurance for federal income tax purposes. The Service reasoned that such policies covered only investment risk and not insurance risk.

The IRS took this approach in challenging residual value insurance policies issued by the taxpayer in R.V.I. The taxpayer issued insurance policies to companies that leased depreciable assets. The policies covered the risk of loss on termination of the lease if the actual residual value of the leased property were less than the projected residual value. The IRS argued that the policies did not cover an insurance risk and therefore claimed that the taxpayer was not an insurance company for federal income tax purposes.

The U.S. Tax Court rejected all of the IRS’ arguments in holding that the policies issued by the taxpayer covered insurance risk for federal income tax purposes. In reaching this conclusion, the Tax Court stated that residual value insurance policies were uniformly treated as insurance by the states regulating the taxpayer as an insurance company and by the external auditors in accordance with statutory insurance accounting principles. Furthermore, the Tax Court noted that residual value insurance is commonly considered insurance in the marketplace.

Thus, the tax court refused to adopt a special rule for federal income tax purposes with respect to what constitutes insurance risk. If insurance risk is present for non-tax purposes, then it is treated in the same manner for federal income tax purposes. In essence, the Tax Court held that the IRS does not get to decide what constitutes insurance when the characterization is otherwise clear for non-tax purposes. As a result, the R.V.I. case marks another significant loss for the IRS as to captive insurance arrangements.

Capstone administers the design, implementation, and management of captive insurance arrangements, providing risk coverage for middle market organizations. Middle market businesses may obtain tailored risk coverages and fill in gaps in their existing commercial policies with a captive insurance arrangement. Insurance premiums paid to the captive insurer are made on a tax-deductible basis.

For more information on Capstone's 17-year work history in forming and operating captives, please contact a member of its executive team.


Decrease in IRS AuditsIRS Audits of Individuals Drop to 11-Year Low

November 18, 2015 (Houston, TX) - The Wall Street Journal reports that IRS audits of individual taxpayers fell to the lowest rate in 11 years. The Service's Commissioner reports the lower frequency of these audits is a direct result of budget cuts. Get the story here.

The IRS audited 0.84% of individual taxpayers in fiscal 2015, the lowest level since 2004. The Service reports that revenue from audits declined by 41% to $7.3 billion and fell to the lowest level since 2002. The IRS has 22% fewer auditors than it had five years ago, when it audited 1.1% of individuals.

Capstone administers the design, implementation, and management of captive insurance arrangements, providing risk coverage for middle market organizations. Middle market businesses may obtain tailored risk coverages and fill in gaps in their existing commercial policies with a captive insurance arrangement. Insurance premiums paid to the captive insurer are made on a tax-deductible basis.

For more information on our captive insurance services, contact a member of our business development team or call WEB_TEL.


Captive Insurance Expanded ServicesFeldman Law Firm LLP/Capstone Announce Expanded Captive Services

November 10, 2015 (Houston, TX) - In response to continuing inquiries, Capstone Associated Services, Ltd. along with its affiliated tax law firm, The Feldman Law Firm LLP, announces a new program enabling prospective captive insurers to leverage the Firm's extensive tax controversy experience. The Firm now offers audit defense and tax controversy services for captive insurers managed by third parties in select situations.

"For the last 17+ years, we have successfully guided captive insurers administered by Capstone through IRS audits, IRS Appeals and the U.S. Tax Court," states tax attorney, Logan R. Gremillion. "The Firm offers its services on a case-by-case basis to those who are involved in varying stages of tax controversy with the Internal Revenue Service in the captive insurance area. Our Firm is leveraging our decade-long experience and our excellent track record in captive tax issues.” Continue reading >>


Tech Companies brace for New RulesGlobal Tech Firms Brace for New Tax Rules

November 3, 2015 (Houston, TX) - The business press reports that new rules could force multinational tech companies to pay greater income taxes in more countries where they operate. Tech giants such as Google and Facebook have been put under close scrutiny. By way of example, the Wall Street Journal reports that these multi-nationals generate significant revenue in many European countries but pay very little in income tax. Get the story here.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development issued recommendations aimed at large companies that have minimized their tax obligations through financial structures that are legal, but are under increasing political pressure.

The impact of these recommendations has yet to be seen. First, the new rules will need to be enacted through tax treaties and then be subject to scrutiny by national tax authorities.

Capstone administers the design, implementation, and management of captive insurance arrangements, providing exceptional risk coverage for middle market organizations. Middle market businesses may obtain tailored risk coverages and fill in gaps in their existing commercial policies with a captive insurance arrangement. Insurance premiums paid to the captive insurer are made on a tax-deductible basis.

For more information on Capstone's 17-year work history in forming and operating captives, please contact a member of its executive team.


Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program OVDPImpact: Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program

October 28, 2015 (Houston, TX) - Accounting Today reports that the Internal Revenue Service has collected more than $8 billion from its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). The program enables taxpayers to correct prior tax reporting omissions and come forward to tell the IRS about previously undisclosed foreign assets. Get the story here.

The OVDP helps taxpayers avoid costly penalties resulting from non-compliance on their tax obligations. Since the OVDP began in 2009, there have been more than 54,000 disclosures.

Other actions, such as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and intergovernmental agreements are also giving the IRS an unprecedented amount of information on foreign holdings of U.S. taxpayers. Those involved in The Department of Justice's Swiss Bank Program are working with Swiss banks that allowed for businesses to house dollars in Switzerland. The program encourages Swiss financial institutions to disclose the names of businesses that may have evaded U.S. taxes in prior years.

Capstone administers the design, implementation, and management of captive insurance arrangements, providing exceptional risk coverage for middle market organizations. Middle market businesses may obtain tailored risk coverages and fill in gaps in their existing commercial policies with a captive insurance arrangement. Insurance premiums paid to the captive insurer are made on a tax-deductible basis. Most captives are domiciled in U.S. jurisdictions.


Inversion Deals'Inversion' Deals, Foreign Takeovers Continue

October 2, 2015 (Houston, TX) - The Wall Street Journal reports that foreign takeovers of U.S. businesses continue to soar. The steep 35% corporate income tax rate in the U.S. relative to the rest of the world has fueled a global mergers & acquisitions boom amid Washington’s efforts to hold on to corporate tax dollars.

Inversion transactions are popular. For example, Canada-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. plans to use an “inversion” structure, which would save $560 million in taxes over a 5-year period for acquired Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Get the story here. The significant tax savings realized by foreign buyers enables them to offer higher prices for takeovers than U.S. acquirers. Inversions have struck a political nerve.

Capstone Associated administers the design, implementation, and management of captive insurance arrangements, providing exceptional risk coverage for middle market organizations. Middle market businesses may obtain tailored risk coverages and fill in gaps in their existing commercial policies with a captive insurance arrangement. Insurance premiums paid to the captive insurer are made on a tax-deductible basis.

For more information on Capstone's 17-year work history in forming and operating captives, please contact a member of its executive team.


Capstone Associated Opens New Office in Atlanta, GACapstone Associated Opens New Atlanta, GA Office

Capstone Associated is pleased to announce the opening of its new Atlanta-area office. As part of its Southeastern expansion, William "Bill" Blankinship, CIC, CRM, has recently joined Capstone Associated as its Southeastern Director of Development, heading this new office.

With a focus on high-deductible, workers compensation, and P&C coverages, Blankinship is providing Southeastern-based middle market businesses opportunities for tailored coverages written through their own captive insurance company, along with realizing the ancillary benefits of the planning.

"Capstone Associated is continuing its 17+ year track record of providing exceptional turnkey captive planning to clients across the United States, now with a local presence in Atlanta," commented Stewart Feldman, CEO and General Counsel for Capstone Associated. "By having boots on the ground in Atlanta and soon in other areas, Capstone Associated is furthering its ability to deliver quality services throughout the U.S. We already boast clients from the Canadian to the Mexican borders and from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts."

Blankinship added: "The Capstone team of tax, legal, financial, and insurance professionals – all under 'one roof' – is unique in the captive industry, allowing Capstone Associated to provide top-tier support to clients, wherever they operate. Both the breadth of Team Capstone's experience and its track record in delivering successful, compliant planning is unmatched. Unlike other so-called 'captive managers,' Capstone Associated, in combination with The Feldman Law Firm LLP, takes responsibility for the many aspects of the planning, including the all important state and federal tax, regulatory, legal, financial and insurance areas. This comprehensive approach is evident in Capstone's long track record of successfully implementing and operating captive insurance companies."

Since its beginning in 1998, Capstone Associated in combination with The Feldman Law Firm LLP has formed and operated in excess of 175 separate captives, drawing upon its Houston-based, headquarters staff, with additional offices in Delaware and in The Valley, Anguilla.

Capstone Associated is currently interviewing for senior managers for planned offices in the upper midwest and on the west coast. For more information on Capstone's 17-year work history in forming and operating captives, please contact a member of its executive team.


Coca Cola InversionsMore Large U.S. Companies Move Abroad to Cut Taxes

August 26, 2015 (Houston, TX) - The Wall Street Journal reports in separate announcements and in unrelated transactions that Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. ("CCE") and CF Industries Holdings ("CF") move each of their legal headquarters to the U.K. for tax purposes.

In these "inversions," U.S. companies move their legal home abroad. Large U.S. companies have undertaken inversions because of the relatively unattractive U.S. posture faced by multi-national companies. Both companies’ tax rates are expected to land well below the U.S. statutory rate of 35%. Analysts expect CF to face only a 20% tax and CCE 26%-28%.

Capstone administers the design, implementation, and management of captive insurance arrangements, providing exceptional risk coverage for middle market organizations. Middle market businesses may obtain tailored risk coverages and fill in gaps in their existing commercial policies with a captive insurance arrangement. Insurance premiums paid to the captive insurer are made on a tax-deductible basis. For more information on Capstone's 17-year work history in forming and operating captives, please contact a member of its executive team at WEB_TEL.


MicrosoftMicrosoft Pays 3.1% Income Tax on Non-U.S. Profits

August 24, 2015 (Houston, TX) - Bloomberg reports that Microsoft's untaxed, non-U.S. profits rose to $108 billion--a 17% increase over the prior year. If this foreign stockpile of cash were moved to the U.S., the U.S. tax code would require the tech giant to pay about $35 billion in additional income taxes. Read the full article here.

In contrast, non-U.S. profits are taxed only when repatriated to the U.S. (typically at a 35% tax rate). It is estimated that U.S. companies currently have more than $2 trillion amassed outside the country. Unfortunately, this U.S. tax policy encourages American companies to invest profits in foreign operations, thereby draining U.S. jobs. By way of example, Microsoft bought Luxembourg-based Skype in 2011 as a way to use its tens of billions of non-U.S. cash, otherwise sitting idle.

Middle market businesses may obtain tailored risk coverages and fill in gaps in their existing commercial policies with a captive insurance arrangement designed and administered by Capstone. Insurance premiums paid to the captive insurer are made on a tax-deductible basis. Capstone together with The Feldman Law Firm LLP administers and oversees property & casualty captive insurers domiciled in well regarded domiciles both in the U.S. and abroad.


Bill Blankinship, Capstone Associated Services Director of Business Development, Southeast

Bill Blankinship - Director of Business Development, Southeast

Bill Blankinship Joins Capstone

August 20, 2015 (Houston, TX) - Capstone welcomes Bill Blankinship, CIC, CRM to its team as Director of Business Development - Southeast. Blankinship brings over 30 years of senior-level property & casualty insurance experience to Capstone, with a focus on high-deductible and workers compensation, along with a P&C, risk consulting, and risk finance background.

Blankinship is based in Atlanta, GA and expands Capstone's existing services in the Southeastern markets.

"We're excited to welcome Bill to our existing business development team, where he will join with Lance McNeel and others in educating clients on captive insurance/alternative risk planning opportunities," commented Charles B. Earls, Capstone's President.

Blankinship holds both the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and Certified Risk Manager (CRM) professional designations, both demonstrating his knowledge and expertise within the risk management and insurance sectors. Bill co-founded two Atlanta-based insurance brokerage firms and also served as a senior business development executive and client advisor at global brokers Willis Group and Marsh Inc.

"In just the last few weeks, we've already seen the benefits of having Bill Blankinship on our team," commented Capstone's CEO Stewart A. Feldman. "We are excited about building and strengthening relationships with middle market clients in the southeastern region."

Bill Blankinship holds an AB in Journalism, Management, and Political Science from University of Georgia in Athens, GA.


Sharanda Davis, Capstone Associated

Sharanda Davis - Insurance Assistant

Capstone Welcomes Sharanda Davis Back

August 25, 2015 (Houston, TX) - Capstone is pleased to welcome back Sharanda Davis as Insurance Assistant after a year-long sabbatical. Ms. Davis had a several-year stint as part of Team Capstone, supporting the insurance underwriting and claims handling functions along with coordinating professional training initiatives.

"We are excited about Sharanda's return," commented Stewart Feldman, CEO and General Counsel. "She had been instrumental in the administrative and training functions for Team Capstone. We're looking forward to working with her again."

Ms. Davis will reinforce Capstone's commitment to continuing professional education. This ensures that Team Capstone remains abreast of changing tax and insurance law and changes within the insurance market.

"We are glad to have Sharanda back with us," explained Charles B. Earls, Capstone's President. "She is already up to speed, smoothly handling her new and prior duties."

Ms. Davis began her career at Traveler’s Insurance, handling a variety of client issues as an initial point-of-contact, capturing loss details and claim information. Ms. Davis streamlined front-end procedures, providing information to the organization’s processing team. Ms. Davis went on to serve in other support roles, leveraging her administrative support experience.

Sharanda Davis holds a Bachelor of Science from Texas Southern University.


Bloomberg BNABloomberg BNA Publishes New Work by Feldman Law Firm Attorney

August 5, 2015 (Houston, TX) - Last week, tax attorney Logan R. Gremillion published an important survey about risk distribution as it affects the taxation of insurance companies.This well-received work was published by Bloomberg/Bureau of National Affairs, which is a leading source of legal, tax, and regulatory information to the tax community. Mr. Gremillion presented the article before a 20+ person national committee of tax professionals in New York City in June, and was subsequently accepted for publication by Bloomberg BNA.

The article examines insurance companies for regulatory licensing purposes versus federal tax purposes -- an issue that has been extensively scrutinized. Gremillion also provides a high-level overview of the key tax court rulings affecting the classification of payments as insurance for tax purposes. Read the full article here.

To learn more about risk shifting and how the Firm, in collaboration with Capstone, provides an integrated, turnkey captive solution to middle market businesses, please contact us directly at WEB_TEL.


Captive Manager 2015Capstone Nominated in 3 Categories for U.S. Captive Services Awards

July 29, 2015 (Houston, TX) - Capstone is proud to announce that it has been named a finalist in three separate categories for the U.S. Captive Services Awards by the trade publication Captive Review! The Capstone team made the shortlist for:

  • Best Captive Manager
  • Best Customer Care in Captive Management
  • Best Independent Captive Manager

The Captive Manager of the Year award recognizes the best captive management firms, exhibiting evidence of business growth by revenue, client numbers, service offering and head count and above all client satisfaction. The winner of this award would have demonstrated a diverse product offering and solution-based services, advances in the use of technology, accessibility to clients, initiatives developed/implemented in the last 12 months and overall business growth.

The Independent Captive Manager of the Year award recognizes captive managers that are not related to a larger parent company (e.g. an international brokerage firm). Judging criteria for this award includes the assessment of activity over the last 12 months and for the highest standards of customer care and satisfaction, excellent reporting processes and access to the team, innovative ways of managing clients' risks and insurance structures, and clear examples of efficiency.

The Best Customer Care in Captive Management award recognizes captive management firms that have demonstrated how their service offerings have improved clients’ business functionality, and access to information and reporting. Those recognized have provided clients with valued customer care, improved efficiency and knowledge, expertise and accessibility to the team.


Megan Brooks, Capstone Associated's Finance Manager Megan M. Brooks Earns ARM Designation

July 16, 2015 (Houston, TX) - Capstone congratulates Megan M. Brooks for achieving the distinguished "Associate of Risk Management" (ARM) designation. Ms. Brooks, Vice President, Operations, at Capstone, successfully completed her final coursework and passed the last of her examinations on risk management.

The ARM's comprehensive curriculum includes the mitigation of operational, financial, and strategic risks along with financial statement risk analysis, and capital & financial risks.

Ms. Brooks recently completed a Certificate in Accountancy awarded by the Bauer College of Business at The University of Houston, and is currently preparing to sit for the CPA exam in 2015/2016. Other Team Capstone members with the ARM certification are Lance McNeel and David Overbeck. Mr. McNeel is also a Chartered Property & Casualty underwriter.

Ms. Brooks works as part of a dynamic team at Capstone. Her team members possess a wealth of insurance knowledge and expertise. Read more about each team member by clicking the links below:

  • Lance McNeel, CPCU, ARM, Vice President of Business Development at Capstone
  • David Overbeck, CIC, ARM, Director of Insurance at Capstone
  • Charles B. Earls III, CPA, President of Capstone, Undergraduate Degree in Science and Business and Master's Degree in Accounting from Oklahoma State University
  • Logan R. Gremillion, Tax Attorney for The Feldman Law Firm LLP, Graduate Degree – L.L.M. in Taxation. J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law. B.B.A. in Finance from Texas A&M University
  • Steven D. Cohen, Tax Attorney for The Feldman Law Firm LLP, Former CPA, B.B.A. and J.D. from The University of Texas at Austin
  • Stewart A. Feldman, CEO and General Counsel for Capstone,Tax Attorney, Former CPA, Graduate and Undergraduate Degrees in Accounting (Wharton). J.D. from The University of Michigan

More Captive Insurance News

The Tax Inversion Rate Keeps Rolling
What the Clarification Act Means for Captives
Forming a Captive Early Has Powerful Benefits
Estate Tax Remains in Effect
Update: Senate Finance Committee Proposal on 831(b) Captives
Tax Update on the Captive Insurance Industry
Capstone Participates in Annual CICA Conference
IC-DISCs: Capstone Associated Addresses AHMI members
New York Times: Lowest Chance of An IRS Audit in a Decade
Re: Senate Finance Committee Proposal on Section 831(b) Captives
Re: The IRS' List of "Abusive Tax Schemes"
Obama's New Tax Budget
Capstone Meets with Anguilla's Governor, Captive Regulators
Captive Health Checkup is Now Available
Capstone's Feldman Named #26 on World Wide Captive Power 50 List
The Feldman Law Firm LLP Announces New Services to Captive Insurers
Midsize Companies Continue to Utilize Lawful Alternative Corporate Structures
U.S. Tax Court Validates Another Captive Insurance Arrangement
Capstone Addresses Anguilla Captive Community
Delaware Insurance Association - Captive Fall Forum
Capstone Associated Services Ltd. Announces Formation of its 150th Captive
Tennessee Authorizes Capstone Associated as Captive Manager
Captive Insurance Companies Still On The Hook For State IPP Taxes?
Amazon to E.U.: "If You Don't Like the Law, Change It"
The "Captive Manager" Fallacy Continues
NY Times: Made in U.S.A., but Banked Overseas
The NFL's $10.5 Billion Profits are Tax Exempt
Capstone Forms Local Captive Insurance Subsidiary
Convert Self-Insured Risks into Tax-Deductible Premiums
Delaware Insurance Commissioner Visits Houston
Capstone Announces $400 million in Approved Dividends
Capstone Announces Opening of Trading of the Largest Canadian IPO of 2007
Five Questions with Stewart Feldman
Captives are Key Topic at Insurance Roundtable
Florida Captive Insurance Law Lures New Captives
Captive Insurance Manager Bullish on Captive Growth
Captive Insurance Industry Coalition Addresses NRRA Confusion
Capstone Opens Office in Delaware
Capstone Maintains Local Presence in Anguilla
Ohio Jumps on Captive Insurance Bandwagon, Joins 30 Other States

Captive Insurance News Archive

 

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