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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 14. Insurance
Agency 5. State Corporation Commission, Bureau of Insurance
Chapter 270. Rules Governing Annual Financial Reporting

14VAC5-270-144. Requirements for Audit Committees.

A. This section shall not apply to foreign or alien insurers licensed in Virginia or an insurer that is a SOX compliant entity or a direct or indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of a SOX compliant entity.

B. The Audit Committee shall be directly responsible for the appointment, compensation and oversight of the work of any accountant (including resolution of disagreements between management and the accountant regarding financial reporting) for the purpose of preparing or issuing the Audited Financial Report or related work pursuant to this chapter. Each accountant shall report directly to the Audit Committee.

C. The Audit Committee of an insurer or group of insurers shall be responsible for overseeing the insurer's internal audit function and granting the person or persons performing the function suitable authority and resources to fulfill their responsibilities if required by 14VAC5-270-145.

D. Each member of the Audit Committee shall be a member of the board of directors of the insurer or a member of the board of directors of an entity elected pursuant to subsection G of this section.

E. In order to be considered independent for purposes of this section, a member of the Audit Committee may not, other than in the capacity as a member of the Audit Committee, the board of directors, or any other board committee, accept any consulting, advisory, or other compensatory fee from the entity or be an affiliated person of the entity or subsidiary thereof. However, if Virginia law requires board participation by otherwise nonindependent members, that law shall prevail and such members may participate in the Audit Committee and be designated as independent for Audit Committee purposes, unless they are an officer or employee of the insurer or one of its affiliates.

F. If a member of the Audit Committee ceases to be independent for reasons outside the member's reasonable control, that member, with notice by the responsible entity to the commission, may remain an Audit Committee member of the responsible entity until the earlier of the next annual meeting of the responsible entity or one year from the occurrence of the event that caused the member to be no longer independent.

G. To exercise the election of the controlling person to designate the Audit Committee for purposes of this chapter, the ultimate controlling person shall provide written notice to the commission of the affected insurers. Notification shall be made timely prior to the issuance of the statutory audit report and include a description of the basis for the election. The election can be changed through notice to the commission by the insurer, which shall include a description of the basis for the change. The election shall remain in effect for perpetuity, unless rescinded.

H. The Audit Committee shall require the accountant that conducts for an insurer any audit required by this chapter to timely report to the Audit Committee in accordance with the requirements of AU-C Section 260 of the AICPA Professional Standards, The Auditor's Communication with those Charged with Governance, including:

1. All significant accounting policies and material permitted practices;

2. All material alternative treatments of financial information within statutory accounting principles that have been discussed with management officials of the insurer, ramifications of the use of the alternative disclosures and treatments, and the treatment preferred by the accountant; and

3. Other material written communications between the accountant and the management of the insurer, such as any management letter or schedule of unadjusted differences.

If an insurer is a member of an insurance holding company system, the reports required by this subsection may be provided to the Audit Committee on an aggregate basis for insurers in the holding company system, provided that any substantial differences among insurers in the system are identified to the Audit Committee.

I. The proportion of independent Audit Committee members shall meet or exceed the following criteria:

Prior Calendar Year Direct Written and Assumed Premiums

$0 - $300 million

Over $300 million - $500 million

Over $500 million

No minimum requirements.

See Notes A and B.

Majority (50% or more) of members shall be independent.

See Notes A and B.

Supermajority of members (75% or more) shall be independent.

See Note A.

Note A: The commission has authority afforded by state law to require the entity's board to enact improvements to the independence of the Audit Committee membership if the insurer is in a RBC level event, meets one or more of the standards of an insurer deemed to be in hazardous financial condition, or otherwise exhibits qualities of a troubled insurer.

Note B: All insurers with less than $500 million in prior year direct written and assumed premiums are encouraged to structure their Audit Committees with at least a supermajority of independent Audit Committee members.

Note C: Prior calendar year direct written and assumed premiums shall be the combined total of direct premiums and assumed premiums from nonaffiliates for the reporting entities.

J. An insurer with direct written and assumed premiums, excluding premiums reinsured with the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation and Federal Flood Program, less than $500 million may make application to the commission for a waiver from the requirements of this section based upon hardship. The insurer shall file, with its annual statement filing, the commission's letter granting relief from this section with the states in which it is licensed or doing business and the NAIC. If the nondomestic state accepts electronic filing with the NAIC, the insurer shall file the letter granting relief in an electronic format acceptable to the NAIC.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 38.2-223 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 12, eff. January 1, 2010; amended, Virginia Register Volume 32, Issue 9, eff. January 1, 2016.

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