2004 Regular Session
By: Representative Stevens
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 83-37-19, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE SHALL REVIEW THE SWORN STATEMENTS OF BURIAL ASSOCIATIONS CONCERNING THEIR BUSINESS DURING THE PREVIOUS YEAR TO DETERMINE THEIR ABILITY TO PAY THE BENEFITS PROMISED UNDER THEIR CONTRACTS; TO AMEND SECTION 83-37-21, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO INCREASE PENALTIES ON BURIAL ASSOCIATIONS WHO FAIL TO PROCURE OR RENEW PRIVILEGE LICENSES; TO AMEND SECTION 83-37-25, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO INCREASE THE AMOUNT ALLOWED FOR AN ACCOUNTANT'S EXPENSES IN CONDUCTING THE YEARLY EXAMINATION OF THE BOOKS OF A BURIAL ASSOCIATION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 83-37-19, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
83-37-19. All such persons, firms, associations or corporations shall, annually before the fifteenth day of February of each year, in accordance with the requirements of a form prepared and furnished by the Commissioner of Insurance for that purpose and in such detail as the commissioner shall prescribe, file with the commissioner a sworn statement of its business during the year previous, ending with December 31, showing the number of contracts in force, the number of contracts matured and unpaid, the amount of liability in force on said contracts at the end of the year, the business standing and the financial conditions of said persons, firms, associations, or corporation, and such other information as may be required by the Commissioner of Insurance. The Commissioner of Insurance shall review the information contained in the form to determine the ability of the person, firm, association or corporation to pay the benefits promised under its contracts. A person, firm, association or corporation shall be held to be legally solvent as long as its funds are equal to or in excess of its matured liabilities.
SECTION 2. Section 83-37-21, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
83-37-21. When the above and foregoing provisions have been complied with by any person, firm, association or corporation, the Insurance Commissioner shall issue a license to such person, firm, association or corporation upon the payment to him of a privilege tax to engage in such business, according to the following schedule, to-wit:
Any person, firm, association or corporation
beginning the business or having not exceeding
five hundred (500) contracts..................... $ 50.00
Same, where contracts exceed five hundred (500) but
do not exceed one thousand (1,000)................. 100.00
Same, where contracts exceed one thousand (1,000)
but do not exceed fifteen hundred (1500)...........150.00
Same, where contracts exceed fifteen hundred (1500)
but do not exceed two thousand (2,000)............ 200.00
Same, where contracts exceed two thousand
and the payment of said license shall exempt such person, firm, association or corporation from any other privilege tax on account of said business. Provided, however, that nothing in this chapter shall exempt any such person, firm, association or corporation from the payment of any tax now imposed by law for conducting an undertaker's business or selling coffins. Every agent of any corporation organized or admitted to do business hereunder shall be required to obtain from the Commissioner of Insurance a perpetual agent certificate as prescribed in Sections 83-5-73 and 83-17-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, under the seal of his office showing that the company for which he or she is agent is licensed to do business in this state and that he or she is an agent of said company and duly authorized to do business for it. Every such agent on demand shall exhibit the said certificate to the person from whom he or she shall solicit contracts, and every such agent shall annually pay a privilege tax of Five Dollars ($5.00). The Insurance Commissioner may issue a duplicate certificate in case of loss or destruction of the original certificate and charge therefor a fee of Five Dollars ($5.00), and the Insurance Commissioner shall have the right to pass upon the qualifications of any such agent before issuing to him or her a license, and for good cause shall have the right to cancel such license.
Any person, firm, association or corporation liable for the privilege tax imposed herein who shall fail to procure the license therefor before beginning the business for which such privilege tax is required, or who shall fail to renew, during the month in which it is due, the license on said business for which a privilege license has theretofore been issued, shall, in each or either instance, be liable for the amount of the tax required for such business and a penalty of Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250.00). It is hereby made the duty of the Insurance Commissioner to collect the said tax and penalty, and the commissioner, or his duly authorized representative, may make immediate demand upon such person, firm, association or corporation for the payment of such tax and penalty, and proceed to collect the same as is provided by law for the collection of other privilege licenses, penalties and damages.
SECTION 3. Section 83-37-25, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
83-37-25. The Insurance Commissioner shall have full authority to examine the books, records, papers, and all other data belonging to or bearing on the business of any such person, firm, association or corporation and may designate any practical accountant to make said examination at a reasonable per diem and expenses not to exceed the sum of Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250.00) for any one (1) year, to be paid by such person, firm, association or corporation. If upon examination the Insurance Commissioner be of the opinion that the capital stock of a domestic corporation has become impaired, or that any foreign company admitted to do business hereunder is insolvent, the commissioner may thereupon for said reason cancel its license to do business in this state.
Any person, firm or corporation that may refuse to permit the Insurance Commissioner or any practical accountant designated by him to examine the books, records, papers and all other data belonging to or bearing on the business of any such person, firm or corporation shall have his, their, or its license canceled and revoked by the commissioner.
The Insurance Commissioner shall have full power in the regulation of any person, firm, or corporation, foreign or domestic, and anyone attempting to write burial certificate contracts without first having secured a license and having qualified under the provisions of statutes which govern, may be prosecuted under the provisions of Section 83-37-29.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2004.