Correspondence with the Department
In No. 342 I said I would send it to the Department upon posting, mention my plan to post a follow-up, and request from the Department a statement about SHIP in a form suitable for inclusion in the follow-up. When No. 342 was posted, I forwarded it to Joseph DiMemmo, CPA. He is the Department's Deputy Insurance Commissioner for Corporate and Financial Regulation of Insurance Companies. I imposed no length limit, and said this in the email:
Below is No. 342, which was posted this morning. As indicated, I hereby request a statement regarding SHIP from the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. I need the statement by 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, December 16, 2019. Please acknowledge receipt of this email. Thank you.
An hour later he sent a two-word reply: "As requested." He attached the 51-page SHIP statutory statement for the quarter ended September 30, 2019. An hour later I said:
Thank you for SHIP's statutory statement for the quarter ended September 30, 2019. As pointed out in No. 342, I already had that statement. Is the Pennsylvania Insurance Department planning to comply with my request for a statement about SHIP by December 16?
The next day I asked him whether I may anticipate a statement about SHIP from the Department by December 16. He replied a day later:
The Department is aware of the issues raised in your article and does not comment on the financial affairs of insurers beyond what is public information. Other regulators are also aware of the issues raised and understand we are working with the company to address them. Thank you for your interest.Correspondence with NOLHGA
On November 26 I forwarded No. 342 to NOLHGA. The next day I informed NOLHGA of the Department's comments, and said:
I hereby request a statement regarding SHIP from NOLHGA by 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, December 16, in a form suitable for publication in my follow-up blog post. Please acknowledge receipt of this email and indicate whether I may anticipate a statement from you. Thank you for your assistance.
Half an hour later a NOLHGA spokesperson provided a one-sentence response: "We defer to the Pennsylvania Department, but thank you for checking with us."
The Penn Treaty Case
Penn Treaty Network America Insurance Company and its subsidiary American Network Insurance Company (together, "Penn Treaty") are LTC insurance companies based in Pennsylvania and regulated primarily by the Department there. In 2009 the Department petitioned a state court to liquidate Penn Treaty. After a long dispute, including a trial, the court denied the petition and ordered Penn Treaty to be placed in rehabilitation. The rehabilitation failed. On March 1, 2017, the court ordered the Department to place Penn Treaty in liquidation. NOLHGA and the state guaranty associations are now involved.
Penn Treaty's website (penntreaty.com) and NOLHGA's website (nolhga.com) provide extensive information about Penn Treaty's liquidation. By contrast, SHIP's website (shipltc.com) and NOLHGA's website say nothing about SHIP's insolvency. As for the Department's website (insurance.pa.gov), some information about SHIP may be found through a search (I provided some of that information in a complimentary package offered in No. 342), but SHIP's policyholders and claimants have no means—other than through lengthy, complex, and hard-to-obtain statutory statements—by which to learn the company is insolvent.
When No. 342 was posted, a reader asked what I thought should be done about SHIP. In response, I pointed out that I had said the Department should require SHIP to send annual reports to policyholders and claimants. I made the suggestion because I think policyholders and claimants have a right to know the company is insolvent. Such reports should not only mention the insolvency but also should include more than a mere indication that SHIP is working with the Department to address the problem. I recognize that disclosure of SHIP's insolvency to its policyholders and claimants may hasten the doomsday scenario I mentioned in No. 342, where the company's assets run out. However, I see no way for SHIP and the Department to address the company's insolvency without obtaining court authorization to place the company in liquidation, thus bringing NOLHGA and the state guaranty associations into the process.
I plan to post another follow-up in March 2020, after I see SHIP's statutory statement for the year ended December 31, 2019. However, I may post a follow-up sooner if I learn of any important developments.
In No. 342 I offered a complimentary 49-page PDF consisting of four articles in The Insurance Forum about the creation of SHIP, selected pages from SHIP's statutory statement for the quarter ended September 30, 2019 (6 pages), a limited-scope examination report on SHIP as of year-end 2016 (6 pages), and a market conduct examination report on SHIP as of April 2019 (27 pages). The package is still available. Email email@example.com and ask for the December 2019 SHIP package.