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Health care support firm gets OK to fund benefits in its captive


The U.S. Labor Department has given final authorization to Healthcare Services Group Inc., a Bensalem, Pennsylvania-based provider of management and other services to health care companies, to fund voluntary medical, life and short-term disability benefits through its New Jersey-based captive insurance company.

Under the arrangement, the policies will be written by Companion Life Insurance Co. and will be 100% reinsured by HCSG Insurance Corp., the company's 1-year-old captive insurer.

Healthcare Services' application was reviewed under a regulatory process known as ExPro. Under ExPro, the Labor Department must act within 45 days of a company request for an arrangement that would normally be barred by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The final authorization was publicly disclosed Tuesday.

To qualify for ExPro, an applicant has to cite two substantially similar individual exemptions approved in the past 10 years, or one similar exemption and one approved through ExPro within the past five years. Healthcare Services cited individual exemptions the Labor Department provided in 2013 to The Coca-Cola Co. and last year to Intel Corp. for those two companies to use their captives to fund various benefit risks.

Healthcare Services is the first employer to receive final approval for a captive benefits funding arrangement under ExPro since the Labor Department in 2012 suspended ExPro to review criteria for the process. The review was completed in late 2013, which restored ExPro.

Last month, Sealed Air Corp. received tentative authorization — also using ExPro — from the Labor Department to fund several benefit risks through its Vermont captive insurance company. Sealed Air, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based packaging manufacturer, is now waiting for final regulatory approval, which is expected later this month.

Nancy Gerrie, a partner with McDermott Will & Emery L.L.P. in Chicago, filed Healthcare Services' application.

Willis Group Holdings P.L.C. acted as the broker and captive consultant on the transaction.

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