Chapter 5-B

Section 5-B:1

    5-B:1 Purpose. – The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the establishment of pooled risk management programs and to affirm the status of such programs established for the benefit of political subdivisions of the state. The legislature finds and determines that insurance and risk management is essential to the proper functioning of political subdivisions; that risk management can be achieved through purchase of traditional insurance or by participation in pooled risk management programs established for the benefit of political subdivisions; that pooled risk management is an essential governmental function by providing focused public sector loss prevention programs, accrual of interest and dividend earnings which may be returned to the public benefit and establishment of costs predicated solely on the actual experience of political subdivisions within the state; that the resources of political subdivisions are presently burdened by the securing of insurance protection through standard carriers; and that pooled risk management programs which meet the standards established by this chapter should not be subject to insurance regulation and taxation by the state.

Source. 1987, 329:1, eff. July 24, 1987.

Section 5-B:2

    5-B:2 Definitions. –
In this chapter:
I. "Department" means the department of state.
II. "Informational filing" means an annual filing with the department made solely for the purpose of providing public access to certain information concerning the nature and organization of pooled risk management programs. Such informational filing shall be limited to the following:
(a) The name and legal address of each pooled risk management program;
(b) A list of current officers, their titles and addresses;
(c) A brief description of the coverage provided;
(d) The annual audit required under RSA 5-B:5, I(d);
(e) A written plan of operation or bylaws; and
(f) The annual actuarial evaluation required under RSA 5-B:5, I(f).
III. "Political subdivision" means any city, town, county, school district, chartered public school, village district, school administrative unit, or any district or entity created for a special purpose administered or funded by any of the above-named governmental units.
IV. "Risk management" means the defense of claims and indemnification for losses arising out of the ownership, maintenance, and operation of real or personal property and the acts or omissions of officials, employees, and agents; the provision of loss prevention services including, but not limited to, inspections of property and the training of personnel; and the investigation, evaluation, and settlement of claims by and against political subdivisions.

Source. 1987, 329:1. 1995, 260:1. 2008, 354:1, eff. Sept. 5, 2008.

Section 5-B:3

    5-B:3 Pooled Risk Management Authorized and Affirmed; Membership. –
I. A political subdivision, by resolution of its governing body, may establish and enter into agreements for obtaining or implementing insurance by self-insurance; for obtaining insurance from any insurer authorized to transact business in this state as an admitted or surplus lines carrier; or for obtaining insurance secured in accordance with any method provided by law; or for obtaining insurance by any combination of the provisions of this paragraph. Agreements made pursuant to this paragraph may provide for pooling of self-insurance reserves, risks, claims and losses, and of administrative services and expenses associated with them among political subdivisions. To accomplish the purposes of this chapter, 2 or more political subdivisions may form an association under the laws of this state or affirm an existing association so formed to develop and administer a risk management program having as its purposes reducing the risk of its members; safety engineering; distributing, sharing, and pooling risks; acquiring insurance, excess loss insurance, or reinsurance; and processing, paying and defending claims against the members of such association.
II. RSA 53-A shall not apply to an association formed or affirmed under this chapter, nor to the participation in such an association by a political subdivision.
III. Pooled risk management programs established for the benefit of political subdivisions may provide any or all of the following coverages:
(a) Casualty, including general and professional liability; errors and omissions; workers' compensation and employer's liability; medical payments; or unemployment compensation as authorized under federal law.
(b) Property, including marine and inland navigation; transportation; boiler and machinery; fire; theft; or natural hazards.
(c) Vehicle, including any liability or loss arising from the ownership or operation of vehicles.
(d) Surety and fidelity.
(e) Environmental impairment.
(f) Hospital, medical, surgical or dental benefits for employees and their dependents.
(g) Life, income maintenance, accidental death and dismemberment, vision loss or impairment, or legal benefits for employees and their dependents.
(h) Unanticipated special education cost recovery.

Source. 1987, 329:1, eff. July 24, 1987. 2021, 209:2, Pt. IV, Sec. 4, eff. Oct. 9, 2021.

Section 5-B:4

    5-B:4 Informational Filing Required; Fee. – Pooled risk management programs established for the benefit of political subdivisions shall make an informational filing, as defined in RSA 5-B:2, II, with the department and shall pay an annual filing fee of $150. The department may make requests for additional information necessary to exercise regulatory or enforcement authority pursuant to, but not limited to, the hearings procedures under RSA 421-B:6-613 over any pooled risk management program formed or affirmed in accordance with this chapter. Pooled workers' compensation and unemployment compensation programs which are regulated by and which report to the department of labor and the department of employment security, under RSA 281-A and RSA 282-A, respectively, shall be exempt from the requirements of this section as long as their operations and reports conform to the laws and rules adopted by those departments.

Source. 1987, 329:1. 1994, 158:16. 2009, 128:2, eff. June 29, 2009. 2015, 273:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2016.

Section 5-B:4-a

    5-B:4-a Authority of the Secretary of State; Investigations; Cease and Desist Orders; Penalties. –
I. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the secretary of state shall have exclusive authority and jurisdiction:
(a) To bring administrative actions to enforce this chapter.
(b) To investigate and impose penalties for violations of this chapter, including but not limited to:
(1) Fines.
(2) Rescission, restitution, or disgorgement.
II. The secretary of state shall have all powers specifically granted or reasonably implied in order to perform the substantive responsibilities imposed by this chapter.
III. For the purpose of any investigation, hearing, or proceeding under this chapter, the secretary of state or any officer designated by him or her may administer oaths and affirmations, subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, take evidence and require the production of any books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, agreements, or other documents or records which the secretary of state deems relevant or material to the inquiry.
IV. In the event that a person refuses to obey a subpoena issued to him or her or any order or determination the secretary of state is authorized to make, the superior court, upon application by the attorney general or secretary of state or any officer designated by the secretary of state, may issue to the person an order directing him or her to appear before the attorney general or secretary of state, or the officer designated by him or her, to produce documentary evidence if so ordered or to give evidence relative to the matter under investigation or in question. Failure to obey the order of the court may be punished by the court as contempt of court.
V. In any investigation to determine whether any person has violated or is about to violate this chapter or any rule or order under this chapter, upon the secretary of state's prevailing at hearing, or the person charged with the violation being found in default, or pursuant to a consent order issued by the secretary of state, the secretary of state shall be entitled to recover the costs of the investigation, and any related proceedings, including reasonable attorney's fees, in addition to any other penalty provided for under this chapter.
VI. Whenever it appears to the secretary of state that any person has engaged or is about to engage in any act or practice constituting a violation of this chapter or any rule or order under this chapter the secretary of state shall have the power to issue and cause to be served upon such person an order requiring the person to cease and desist from violations of this chapter. The order shall be calculated to give reasonable notice of the rights of the person to request a hearing on the order and shall state the reasons for the entry of the order. All hearings shall be conducted in accordance with RSA 421-B:6-613.
VII. The following fines and penalties may be imposed on any person who has violated this chapter.
(a) Any person who, either knowingly or negligently, violates any provision of this chapter or any rule or order thereunder, may, upon hearing, and in addition to any other penalty provided for by law, be subject to an administrative fine not to exceed $2,500. Each of the acts specified shall constitute a separate violation.
(b) After notice and hearing, the secretary of state may enter an order of rescission, restitution, or disgorgement directed to a person who has violated this chapter, or rule or order under this chapter. Rescission, restitution, or disgorgement shall be in addition to any other penalty provided for under this chapter.
VIII. Decisions of the secretary of state may be appealed to the supreme court pursuant to RSA 541.

Source. 2010, 149:3, eff. June 14, 2010. 2015, 273:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2016.

Section 5-B:5

    5-B:5 Standards of Organization and Operation. –
I. Each pooled risk management program shall meet the following standards of organization and operation. Each program shall:
(a) Exist as a legal entity organized under New Hampshire law.
(b) Be governed by a board the majority of which is composed of elected or appointed public officials, officers, or employees. Board members shall not receive compensation but may be reimbursed for mileage and other reasonable expenses. Board members shall comply with the provisions of RSA 15-A.
(c) Return all earnings and surplus in excess of any amounts required for administration, claims, reserves, and purchase of excess insurance to the participating political subdivisions.
(d) Provide for an annual audit of financial transactions by an independent certified public accountant. The audit shall be filed with the department and distributed to participants of each pooled risk management program.
(e) Be governed by written bylaws which shall detail the terms of eligibility for participation by political subdivisions, the governance of the program and other matters necessary to the program's operation. Bylaws and any subsequent amendments shall be filed with the department.
(f) Provide for an annual actuarial evaluation of the pooled risk management program. The evaluation shall assess the adequacy of contributions required to fund any such program and the reserves necessary to be maintained to meet expenses of all incurred and incurred but not reported claims and other projected needs of the plan. The annual actuarial evaluation shall be performed by a member of the American Academy of Actuaries qualified in the coverage area being evaluated, shall be filed with the department, and shall be distributed to participants of each pooled risk management program.
(g) Provide notice to all participants of and conduct 2 public hearings for the purpose of advising of potential rate increases, the reasons for projected rate increases, and to solicit comments from members regarding the return of surplus, at least 10 days prior to rate setting for each calendar year.
II. If a pooled risk management program fails to provide for an annual audit or an annual actuarial evaluation, the department shall perform or cause to be performed the required audit or evaluation and shall be reimbursed the cost by the program.

Source. 1987, 329:1. 1997, 14:1. 2010, 149:4, 5, eff. June 14, 2010. 2014, 14:1, eff. July 13, 2014.

Section 5-B:6

    5-B:6 Declaration of Status; Tax Exemption; Liability. –
I. Any pooled risk management program meeting the standards required under this chapter is not an insurance company, reciprocal insurer, or insurer under the laws of this state, and administration of any activities of the plan shall not constitute doing an insurance business for purposes of regulation or taxation.
II. Any such program operating under this chapter, whether or not a body corporate, may sue or be sued; make contracts; hold and dispose of real property; and borrow money, contract debts, and pledge assets in its name.
III. Participation by a political subdivision in a pooled risk management program formed and affirmed under this chapter shall not subject any such political subdivision to any liability to any third party for the acts or omissions of the pooled risk management program or any other political subdivision participating in the program.

Source. 1987, 329:1, eff. July 24, 1987.

Section 5-B:7

    5-B:7 Confidentiality of Certain Claims Information. – Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, any information of any pooled risk management program formed or affirmed under this chapter pertaining to claims analysis or claims management shall be privileged and confidential and not subject to disclosure to any third party.

Source. 1987, 329:1, eff. July 24, 1987.