What is the Wyoming Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association?
The Wyoming Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association is a nonprofit organization that was created by the Wyoming Legislature to protect state residents who are policyholders and beneficiaries of policies issued by insurance companies or health maintenance organizations that become insolvent, up to specified limits. All insurance companies (with some exceptions) licensed to write life and/or disability insurance in Wyoming and all health maintenance organizations licensed in Wyoming are members of the Association. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have life and health insurance guaranty associations.
Who is protected by the Wyoming Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association?
With some exceptions, the Association covers Wyoming residents who are owners, certificate holders, or enrollees under covered policies or contracts as well as beneficiaries, assignees, or payees of the Wyoming covered residents described here.
How is policy coverage determined?
Coverage is determined by your policy terms and the provisions of Wyoming insurance law at the time the Association is activated to provide protection (when the insurer that issued the policy is found to be insolvent and ordered liquidated by a court). Because of the variations in policy language and potential for changes in relevant laws, the Association cannot give advisory opinions regarding coverage of a specific policy, unless the company that issued the policy is in liquidation and the Association has been activated to provide benefits for the policy.
If I move to another state after purchasing a policy while a Wyoming resident, will I still have guaranty association coverage? If so, who will provide it?
Guaranty association protection is generally provided by the association in your state of residence on the date of the liquidation order, regardless of where your policy was purchased. Your policy will not be covered by the Wyoming Association if you do not reside in Wyoming on the liquidation order date, but you may be covered by the state guaranty association in your new state of residence.
What insurance policies and contracts are covered?
Generally, direct individual or direct group life and accident and health/disability insurance policies, health benefit plan, and annuity contracts owned by individuals issued by the Association's member insurers are covered by the Association.
Other types of insurance—such as automobile, homeowners, professional liability, medical malpractice, workers' compensation, etc.—may be protected by the Wyoming Insurance Guaranty Association. That guaranty association can be reached at:
Wyoming Insurance Guaranty Association
c/o Western Guaranty Fund Services
1873 S Bellaire St, Ste 920
Denver, CO 80222
Are there limits to what the Association can pay?
Yes, there are limits stipulated in Wyoming insurance laws. Under current Wyoming law, coverage is limited as follows per covered person:
$300,000 in death benefits
$100,000 in net cash surrender and net cash withdrawal values
$300,000 for health benefit plans
$300,000 for disability, disability income, and long-term care insurance
$100,000 for coverage other than provided above
$100,000 for net cash surrender and net cash withdrawal values
$250,000 in present value of annuity benefits
$250,000 to each payee of a structured settlement annuity
Further, the Association cannot cover more than $500,000 in benefits with respect to any one life, regardless of the number or type of policy or contract.
Please remember, for cancelable insurance policies, state law requires the Association to continue your coverage only for a limited time based on state insurance laws and the renewal date of your policy.
What will happen to my insurance coverage if the guaranty association becomes liable for my policy?
Protection can be provided in one of several different ways. For example, a financially sound insurer may take over the troubled company's policies and assume responsibility for continuing coverage and paying covered claims. The Association may continue the policies, either through its office or through a third party. In other cases, the Association may work with other state guaranty associations to develop an alternative plan to provide protection for the failed insurer's policyholders.
What is NOT protected by the guaranty association?
There are exceptions to coverage, the most common of which are:
- Policies issued by insurers not licensed to do business in Wyoming or at a time when the insurer was not licensed to do business in Wyoming
- Policy benefits the insurer does not guarantee or for which the policyholder bears the risk
- Annuities not owned by individuals
- Self-insured employer plans
- Interest credited to your policy at an interest rate that exceed the rate set in Wyoming law
- Policies or contracts issued by fraternal benefit societies, a local mutual burial association, a reciprocal insurance exchange, and other entities
How can I find out if my company is licensed in Wyoming?
The Wyoming Department of Insurance maintains complete and current records of all insurance companies licensed to do business in the state:
Why hasn't my agent or company told me more about the Wyoming Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association?
State insurance law prohibits insurance agents and companies from using the existence of the Association in any advertising or solicitation. Agents are prohibited by statute from using this website or the existence of the Guaranty Association as an inducement to purchase insurance.
The Association is not and should not be a substitute for your prudent selection of an insurance company that is well managed and financially stable.
If my company becomes insolvent, should I continue to pay my premiums?
Yes. If you are paying premiums to your company and wish to keep your coverage in place, you must continue to do so. If you stop paying premiums, your insurance coverage may be terminated.
What happens if the benefits promised in my policy are greater than the coverage limits provided by the guaranty association?
Any claim in excess of the limit of Association coverage may be submitted as a policyholder-level claim against the estate of the failed insurance company, and you may receive distributions as the company’s assets are liquidated by the Receiver.