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  87R19727 KFF-D
 
  By: Stephenson H.B. No. 4643
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to a pilot program to study implementation of a pension
  revenue enhancement plan for the Employees Retirement System of
  Texas.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Subtitle B, Title 8, Government Code, is amended
  by adding Chapter 816 to read as follows:
  CHAPTER 816. PILOT PROGRAM TO STUDY PENSION REVENUE ENHANCEMENT
  PLAN
         Sec. 816.0001.  DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
               (1)  "Beneficiary" or "designated beneficiary" means a
  person or entity who is designated by a member or annuitant under
  authority of Section 816.0002(a)(2) to receive the proceeds of a
  life insurance policy purchased under the plan.
               (2)  "Pension revenue enhancement plan" or "plan" means
  the pension revenue enhancement plan established under the pilot
  program.
               (3)  "Pilot program" means the pilot program
  established under Section 816.0002.
               (4)  "Plan manager" means the plan manager the
  comptroller enters into a contract with under Section 816.0008.
               (5)  "Trust fund" means the ERS pension revenue
  enhancement plan trust fund established under Section 816.0004.
               (6)  "Trustee" means the trustee the comptroller enters
  into a contract with under Section 816.0007.
         Sec. 816.0002.  PENSION REVENUE ENHANCEMENT PLAN. (a) The
  comptroller, in consultation with the Texas Department of
  Insurance, the board of trustees of the Employees Retirement System
  of Texas, and any other agency or person the comptroller determines
  appropriate, shall establish and oversee a 10-year pilot program
  designed to study the feasibility, financial benefit, and
  anticipated impact of implementing a pension revenue enhancement
  plan that provides a life insurance benefit to members and
  annuitants of the retirement system who elect to participate in the
  pilot program while also providing an additional revenue source for
  funding the retirement system. Under the plan:
               (1)  the trustee shall purchase a life insurance policy
  that provides for a cash value, the face value of which is $100,000,
  for each member or annuitant enrolled in the plan;
               (2)  each member or annuitant enrolled in the plan may
  designate a beneficiary to receive $50,000 of the proceeds of the
  life insurance policy purchased under the plan; and
               (3)  except as provided by Subdivision (2), the trust
  fund is the owner and beneficiary of each life insurance policy
  purchased under the plan.
         (b)  The trustee or plan manager may obtain a loan from a
  third-party lender to pay the premium of a life insurance policy
  purchased under the plan. On the death of a member or annuitant
  enrolled in the plan, the trustee or plan manager, as applicable,
  shall repay the third-party lender from the proceeds of the life
  insurance policy.
         (c)  When the cash value of a life insurance policy is
  sufficient, as determined by the trustee, the trustee may borrow
  against the policy to:
               (1)  repay the loan of a third-party lender; and
               (2)  use excess cash flow to purchase life insurance
  policies for other members enrolled in the plan or for another
  purpose authorized under the plan.
         (d)  The comptroller has all the authority necessary and
  proper to carry out the comptroller's duties under this chapter,
  including the authority to adopt rules to implement this chapter.
         Sec. 816.0003.  MEMBER AND ANNUITANT PARTICIPATION:
  ENROLLMENT IN PLAN. (a) A member or annuitant of the retirement
  system may elect to enroll in the plan if the member or annuitant,
  as applicable:
               (1)  is 62 years of age or younger; and
               (2)  meets the insurer's requirements for issuance of a
  life insurance policy.
         (b)  The comptroller, in cooperation with the retirement
  system, shall:
               (1)  attempt to enroll at least 10,000 members or
  annuitants in the plan; and
               (2)  ensure that not later than the 30th day after the
  date a person becomes eligible for membership in the system, the
  person is given an opportunity to elect to enroll in the plan.
         (c)  A member or annuitant may not be required to enroll in
  the plan or to pay the premium or any other fee to enroll in the
  plan.
         Sec. 816.0004.  ERS PENSION REVENUE ENHANCEMENT PLAN TRUST
  FUND. (a) In this section, "financial institution" has the meaning
  assigned by Section 201.101, Finance Code.
         (b)  The ERS pension revenue enhancement plan trust fund is a
  trust fund outside the state treasury that is:
               (1)  held in a financial institution by the comptroller
  on behalf of members and annuitants of the retirement system; and
               (2)  administered by the comptroller through a contract
  with the trustee and plan manager.
         (c)  The trust fund consists of:
               (1)  proceeds of a life insurance policy issued to a
  member or annuitant enrolled in the plan;
               (2)  gifts, grants, and other donations received for
  the trust fund;
               (3)  proceeds of loans obtained for purposes of the
  trust fund; and
               (4)  interest earned on trust fund money.
         (d)  The plan manager shall allocate money deposited in the
  trust fund for the purposes specified under this chapter.
         (e)  The comptroller and the trustee shall administer the
  trust fund in a manner that qualifies income earned in the trust
  fund for an exemption from federal income taxation under Section
  115, Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
         Sec. 816.0005.  USES OF TRUST FUND MONEY. The trustee may
  use trust fund money only to:
               (1)  purchase life insurance policies for members and
  annuitants enrolled in the plan;
               (2)  distribute proceeds in accordance with Section
  816.0006;
               (3)  pay the interest, principal, and any fees
  associated with a loan obtained under the plan;
               (4)  pay costs associated with plan administration and
  operation, including the plan manager's fee in accordance with the
  contract between the board of trustees and the plan manager; and
               (5)  make a contribution to retirement system assets.
         Sec. 816.0006.  TRUST FUND DISTRIBUTIONS. On the death of a
  member or annuitant enrolled in the plan, the trustee shall:
               (1)  distribute $50,000 from the proceeds under the
  life insurance policy to the member's or annuitant's designated
  beneficiary, if any; and
               (2)  retain the remaining proceeds in the trust fund to
  use in accordance with Section 816.0005.
         Sec. 816.0007.  TRUSTEE. (a)  The comptroller shall
  contract with a person that is independent of the board of trustees,
  the retirement system, the plan manager, and the insurance company
  issuing the life insurance policy provided under the plan to act as
  the trustee of the trust fund.  The trustee shall:
               (1)  hold and administer the assets of the trust fund;
               (2)  distribute life insurance policy proceeds as
  appropriate;
               (3)  annually or at the request of the comptroller or
  the board of trustees, provide status reports on the performance of
  the plan to the comptroller and the board;
               (4)  as appropriate, enter into a loan agreement with a
  third-party lender on behalf of the trust fund to finance the
  premiums of life insurance policies purchased under the plan;
               (5)  as appropriate, sign a collateral assignment for a
  life insurance policy on behalf of the trust fund;
               (6)  work with the plan manager to ensure loan and life
  insurance policy information is correct and complies with the plan;
               (7)  as appropriate, provide death benefit information
  to and request life insurance policy loans from the insurer; and
               (8)  on the death of a member or annuitant enrolled in
  the plan, distribute the proceeds under the life insurance policy
  to the designated beneficiary in accordance with Section
  816.0006(1).
         (b)  The trustee has all the authority necessary or proper to
  carry out the trustee's duties under this section.
         Sec. 816.0008.  PLAN MANAGER. The comptroller shall
  contract with a person to act as plan manager. The plan manager
  shall:
               (1)  design, implement, and assist the comptroller with
  overseeing the pension revenue enhancement plan and ensure
  compliance with all applicable legal and technical requirements;
               (2)  implement the plan and modify the plan as
  necessary to comply with Section 816.0004(e);
               (3)  design or select a life insurance policy
  appropriate for the plan;
               (4)  obtain the approval and support of an insurance
  company for the plan;
               (5)  negotiate with an insurance company to obtain
  beneficial life insurance policy enhancements for the plan,
  including low-commission products;
               (6)  negotiate with a third-party lender for the most
  advantageous loan terms;
               (7)  facilitate loan renewals as necessary;
               (8)  provide the trustee with information needed to
  complete annual status reports required under Section
  816.0007(a)(3);
               (9)  by working with the retirement system, facilitate
  member and annuitant enrollment in the plan;
               (10)  work with the retirement system to ensure members
  or annuitants enrolled in the plan have access to the insurance
  company's claims department;
               (11)  oversee member and annuitant compliance with the
  insurance company's underwriting process to ensure proper
  enrollment in the plan;
               (12)  enroll new members in the plan as appropriate;
  and
               (13)  advise the comptroller and the trustee on:
                     (A)  plan maintenance or changes;
                     (B)  appropriate repayment of loans; and
                     (C)  obtaining life insurance policy loans.
         Sec. 816.0009.  LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY. To be eligible to
  participate in the pension revenue enhancement plan, an insurance
  company must have a suitable credit rating, as determined by the
  comptroller.
         Sec. 816.0010.  PREMIUM FINANCE COMPANY. (a) To be eligible
  to participate in the pension revenue enhancement plan, a premium
  finance company must, as determined by the trustee:
               (1)  have at least 10 years of experience in the full
  recourse life insurance premium finance industry in the United
  States;
               (2)  have suitable support capability to service the
  plan;
               (3)  have at least two life insurance company and bank
  references;
               (4)  have deployed at least one financed insurance
  solution that complies with principles prescribed by the
  Governmental Accounting Standards Board; and
               (5)  demonstrate suitable testing of the company's
  designs to withstand an economic crisis.
         (b)  A premium finance company participating in the plan may:
               (1)  act as technical advisor to the trustee on
  securing premium financing for life insurance policies;
               (2)  assist with educating members and annuitants about
  the plan in partnership with the comptroller and the retirement
  system;
               (3)  participate in designing the plan;
               (4)  analyze the plan design to determine its ability
  to withstand an economic crisis;
               (5)  negotiate life insurance policy terms with an
  insurance company;
               (6)  help select an insurance company and life
  insurance policy;
               (7)  facilitate lending for the trustee;
               (8)  facilitate member enrollment;
               (9)  facilitate insurance underwriting;
               (10)  facilitate policy placement;
               (11)  engage in plan servicing and monitoring;
               (12)  technically advise on when to cease obtaining
  loans under the plan;
               (13)  assist with preparing annual status reports
  required under Section 816.0007(a)(3);
               (14)  assist with insurance claims processing; and
               (15)  act as a liaison to insurance companies and
  third-party lenders.
         Sec. 816.0011.  CONFIDENTIALITY OF RECORDS. (a) Except as
  provided by Subsection (b), all information relating to the plan is
  public and subject to disclosure under Chapter 552.
         (b)  Information relating to a prospective or current member
  or annuitant, including any personally identifiable information,
  is confidential except that the board may disclose that information
  to:
               (1)  the member regarding the member's life insurance
  policy; or
               (2)  an insurance company or a state or federal agency
  as necessary to administer the plan.
         Sec. 816.0012.  PLAN LIMITATIONS. (a) This chapter may not
  be construed to guarantee that proceeds under a life insurance
  policy will be sufficient to cover the expenses of a designated
  beneficiary.
         (b)  This chapter may not be construed to create any
  obligation of the state, any agency or instrumentality of the
  state, or the plan manager to guarantee for the benefit of a member
  or annuitant enrolled in the plan or a designated beneficiary:
               (1)  the return of any amount contributed to the trust
  fund on behalf of the enrolled member or annuitant;
               (2)  the rate of interest or other return on the life
  insurance policy; or
               (3)  the payment of interest or other return on the life
  insurance policy.
         Sec. 816.0013.  BIENNIAL REPORTS. (a) Not later than
  November 1 of each even-numbered year, the comptroller, with the
  assistance of the retirement system, shall prepare and submit to
  the governor, the lieutenant governor, the speaker of the house of
  representatives, and each member of the legislature a report that
  includes a status report on the pilot program, including an
  evaluation of the performance of the plan.
         (b)  In its final report under this section, the comptroller
  shall include its findings and recommendations regarding whether
  the pension revenue enhancement plan established under the pilot
  program should be continued or terminated and make specific
  recommendations on any statutory changes the comptroller
  determines appropriate based on that recommendation.
         (c)  This section expires September 1, 2033.
         Sec. 816.0014.  TERMINATION OF PILOT PROGRAM. The pilot
  program terminates September 1, 2033.
         Sec. 816.0015.  EFFECT OF TERMINATION. An insurance policy
  remains in effect after the pilot program is terminated if, when the
  program is terminated, the member or annuitant is enrolled in the
  plan and has been issued an insurance policy under the plan unless
  the member or annuitant, as applicable, elects to cancel the
  policy.
         SECTION 2.  Not later than September 1, 2022, the
  comptroller of public accounts shall ensure the pilot program and
  pension revenue enhancement plan are established in accordance with
  Chapter 816, Government Code, as added by this Act, and,
  notwithstanding Section 816.0003, Government Code, as added by this
  Act, shall ensure enrollment of members of the Employees Retirement
  System of Texas in the plan is delayed until the plan has been
  implemented.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2021.