TITLE 18

Insurance Code

Insurance

CHAPTER 62. FRATERNAL BENEFIT SOCIETIES

Subchapter III. Governance


A domestic society organized on or after January 1, 1997, shall be formed as follows:

(1) Seven or more citizens of the United States, a majority of whom are citizens of this State, who desire to form a fraternal benefit society shall form a corporation without capital stock, the governing body of which is elected and the powers of which are not more liberal than as provided in this chapter and the name of which shall not so closely resemble the name of any society or insurance company then licensed in Delaware as to be confusing.

(2) Its certificate of incorporation, duly certified copies of the society's bylaws and rules, copies of all proposed forms of certificates, applications therefor and circulars to be issued by the society, the names, residences and official titles of all the officers, trustees, directors or other persons who are to have and exercise the general control of the management of the affairs and funds of the society for the 1st year or until the ensuing election at which all such officers shall be elected by the supreme governing body, which election shall be held not later than 1 year from the date of issuance of the permanent certificate of authority and a bond conditioned upon the return to applicants of the advanced payments if the organization is not completed within 1 year, shall be filed with the Commissioner, who may require such further information as the Commissioner deems necessary. The bond with sureties approved by the Commissioner shall be in such amount, not less than $300,000, nor more than $1,500,000, as required by the Commissioner. All documents filed are to be in the English language. If the purposes of the society conform to the requirements of this chapter and all provisions of the law have been complied with, the Commissioner shall so certify, retain and file the certificate of incorporation and shall furnish the incorporators a preliminary certificate of authority authorizing the society to solicit members as hereinafter provided.

(3) No preliminary certificate of authority granted under the provisions of this section shall be valid after 1 year from its date or after such further period, not exceeding 1 year, as may be authorized by the Commissioner upon cause shown, unless the 500 applicants hereinafter required have been secured and the organization has been completed as herein provided. The charter and all other proceedings thereunder shall become null and void in 1 year from the date of the preliminary certificate of authority or at the expiration of the extended period, unless the society shall have completed its organization and received a certificate of authority to do business as hereinafter provided.

(4) Upon receipt of a preliminary certificate of authority from the Commissioner, the society may solicit members for the purpose of completing its organization, shall collect from each applicant the amount of not less than 1 regular monthly premium in accordance with its table of rates and shall issue to each such applicant a receipt for the amount so collected. No society shall incur any liability other than for the return of such advance premium, nor issue any certificate, nor pay, allow, or offer or promise to pay or allow any benefit to any person until:

a. Actual bona fide applications for benefits have been secured on not less than 500 applicants, and any necessary evidence of insurability has been furnished to and approved by the society;

b. At least 10 subordinate lodges have been established into which the 500 applicants have been admitted;

c. There has been submitted to the Commissioner, under oath of the president or secretary or corresponding officer of the society, a list of such applicants, giving their names, addresses, date each was admitted, name and number of the subordinate lodge of which each applicant is a member, amount of benefits to be granted and premiums therefor; and

d. It shall have been shown to the Commissioner, by sworn statement of the treasurer or corresponding officer of such society, that at least 500 applicants have each paid in cash at least 1 regular monthly premium as herein provided, which premiums in the aggregate shall amount to at least $150,000. Said advance premiums shall be held in trust during the period of organization and if the society has not qualified for a certificate of authority within 1 year, as herein provided, such premiums shall be returned to said applicants.

(5) The Commissioner may make such examination and require such further information as the Commissioner deems advisable. Upon presentation of satisfactory evidence that the society has complied with all the provisions of law, the Commissioner shall issue to the society a certificate of authority to that effect and that the society is authorized to transact business pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. The certificate of authority shall be prima facie evidence of the existence of the society at the date of such certificate. The Commissioner shall cause a record of such certificate of authority to be made. A certified copy of such record may be given in evidence with like effect as the original certificate of authority.

(6) Any incorporated society authorized to transact business in this State on January 1, 1997, shall not be required to reincorporate.

70 Del. Laws, c. 533, § 1.;

(a) A domestic society may amend its laws in accordance with the provisions thereof by action of its supreme governing body at any regular or special meeting thereof or, if its laws so provide, by referendum. Such referendum may be held in accordance with the provisions of its laws by the vote of the voting members of the society, by the vote of delegates or representatives of voting members or by the vote of local lodges. A society may provide for voting by mail. No amendment submitted for adoption by referendum shall be adopted unless, within 6 months from the date of submission thereof, a majority of the members voting shall have signified their consent to such amendment by 1 of the methods herein specified.

(b) No amendment to the laws of any domestic society shall take effect unless approved by the Commissioner, who shall approve such amendment if the Commissioner finds that it has been duly adopted and is not inconsistent with any requirement of the laws of this State or with the character, objects and purposes of the society. Unless the Commissioner shall disapprove any such amendment within 60 days after the filing of same, such amendment shall be considered approved. The approval or disapproval of the Commissioner shall be forwarded in writing and mailed to the secretary or corresponding officer of the society at its principal office. In case the Commissioner disapproves such amendment, the reasons therefor shall be stated in such written notice.

(c) Within 90 days from the approval thereof by the Commissioner, all such amendments or a synopsis thereof shall be furnished to all members of the society either by mail or by publication in full in the official publication of the society. The affidavit of any officer of the society or of anyone authorized by it to mail any amendments or synopsis thereof, stating facts which show that same have been duly addressed and mailed, shall be prima facie evidence that such amendments or synopsis thereof have been furnished the addressee.

(d) Every foreign or alien society authorized to do business in this State shall file with the Commissioner a duly certified copy of all amendments of or additions to its laws within 90 days after the enactment of same.

(e) Printed copies of the laws, as amended, certified by the secretary or corresponding officer of the society shall be prima facie evidence of the legal adoption thereof.

70 Del. Laws, c. 533, § 1.;

(a) A society may create, maintain and operate or may establish organizations to operate not-for-profit institutions to further the purposes permitted by § 6205(a)(2) of this title. Such institutions may furnish services free or at a reasonable charge. Any real or personal property owned, held or leased by the society for this purpose shall be reported in every annual statement but shall not be allowed as an admitted asset of such society.

(b) No society shall own or operate funeral homes or undertaking establishments.

70 Del. Laws, c. 533, § 1.;

(a) A domestic society may, by a reinsurance agreement, cede any individual risk or risks in whole or in part to an insurer (other than another fraternal benefit society) having the power to make such reinsurance and authorized to do business in this State, or if not so authorized, one which is approved by the Commissioner, but no such society may reinsure substantially all of its insurance in force without the written permission of the Commissioner. It may take credit for the reserves on such ceded risks to the extent reinsured, but no credit shall be allowed as an admitted asset or as a deduction from liability to a ceding society for reinsurance made, ceded, renewed or otherwise becoming effective after January 1, 1997, unless the reinsurance is payable by the assuming insurer on the basis of the liability of the ceding society under the contract or contracts reinsured without diminution because of the insolvency of the ceding society.

(b) Notwithstanding the limitation in subchapter I of this chapter, a society may reinsure the risks of another society in a consolidation or merger approved by the Commissioner under § 6214 of this title.

70 Del. Laws, c. 533, § 1.;

(a) A domestic society may consolidate or merge with any other society by complying with the provisions of this section and the applicable provisions of the statutes of this State governing the merger or consolidation of nonstock corporations. It shall file with the Commissioner:

(1) A certified copy of the written contract containing in full the terms and conditions of the consolidation or merger;

(2) A sworn statement by the president and secretary or corresponding officers of each society showing the financial condition thereof on a date fixed by the Commissioner, but not earlier than December 31 next preceding the date of the contract;

(3) A certificate of such officers, duly verified by their respective oaths, that the consolidation or merger has been approved by a two-thirds vote of the supreme governing body of each society, such vote being conducted at a regular or special meeting of each such body, or, if the society's laws so permit, by mail; and

(4) Evidence that at least 60 days prior to the action of the supreme governing body of each society, the text of the contract has been furnished to all members of each society either by mail or by publication in full in the official publication of each society.

(b) If the Commissioner finds that the contract is in conformity with the provisions of this section, that the financial statements are correct and that the consolidation or merger is just and equitable to the members of each society, the Commissioner shall approve the contract and issue a certificate to such effect. Upon such approval, the contract shall be in full force and effect unless any society which is a party to the contract is incorporated under the laws of any other state or territory. In such event the consolidation or merger shall not become effective unless and until it has been approved as provided by the laws of such state or territory and a certificate of such approval is filed with the Commissioner of this State, or, if the laws of such state or territory contain no such provision, then the consolidation or merger shall not become effective unless and until it has been approved by the Commissioner of Insurance of such state or territory and a certificate of such approval is filed with the Commissioner of this State.

(c) Upon the consolidation or merger becoming effective as herein provided, all the rights, franchises and interests of the consolidated or merged societies in and to every species of property, real, personal or mixed, and things in action thereunto belonging, shall be vested in the society resulting from or remaining after the consolidation or merger without any other instrument, except that conveyances of real property may be evidenced by proper deeds and the title to any real estate or interest therein, vested under the laws of this State in any of the societies consolidated or merged, shall not revert or be in any way impaired by reason of the consolidation or merger, but shall vest absolutely in the society resulting from or remaining after such consolidation or merger.

(d) The affidavit of any officer of the society or of anyone authorized by it to mail any notice or document stating that such notice or document has been duly addressed and mailed shall be prima facie evidence that such notice or document has been furnished the addressees.

70 Del. Laws, c. 533, § 1.;

Any domestic fraternal benefit society may be converted and licensed as a mutual life insurance company by compliance with all the applicable requirements of § 4905 of this title. A plan of conversion shall be prepared in writing by the board of directors setting forth in full the terms and conditions of conversion. The affirmative vote of two-thirds of all members of the supreme governing body at a regular or special meeting shall be necessary for the approval of such plan. No such conversion shall take effect unless and until approved by the Commissioner who may give such approval if the Commissioner finds that the proposed change is in conformity with the requirements of law and not prejudicial to the certificate holders of the society.

70 Del. Laws, c. 533, § 1.;