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Via Christi Health asks ok to use captive to fund benefit risks

Via Christi Health asks ok to use captive to fund benefit risks

WASHINGTON—Via Christi Health Inc., a Wichita, Kan.-based health care system, is asking the Labor Department for permission to use the U.S. Virgin Islands branch of its Cayman Island captive insurance company to fund life insurance risks.

Under the proposal, the policies would be written by Minnesota Life Insurance Co., which would reinsure the risk through the Virgin Islands branch. The branch was established in September to reinsure Via Christi employee benefit risks.

Via Christi, which says it is the largest provider of health care services in Kansas, fully or partially owns or manages 12 hospitals in the state. It generated $1.09 billion in operating revenues in fiscal 2010.

Via Christi's application comes in the wake of a spurt of activity in the captive employee benefits funding arena.

Last month, Google Inc. filed an application with the Labor Department for approval to fund benefit risks through its Hawaii captive insurer, and in October Microsoft Corp. sought permission to use the Vermont branch of its Bermuda captive to reinsure life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment policies. Microsoft already uses the Vermont branch to reinsure long-term disability coverage.

And last week, the Labor Department gave final authorization to Dow Corning Corp. to fund basic life insurance risks through its Washington-based captive. In 2009, the Labor Department gave Dow Corning permission to fund certain other types of life insurance coverage through the captive.

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