Domestic Partnership and Annuity Contracts
Oregon's domestic partnership law applies to any annuity contracts issued on or after February 4, 2008, regardless of when the form was approved. Please see Bulletin 2008-2 for more details on how and when the law takes effect for other contracts.
We are providing the following information to assist insurers in making compliant filings and issuing contracts that comply with the new law. It's broken down into forms that have already been approved and new policy filings.
Previously Approved Forms
- Any annuity contract issued on or after February 4, 2008 is deemed to be compliant with the new law unless it contains language that would otherwise conflict with the law. An example that would conflict with the domestic partnership law is language that specifically limits the definition of "spouse" to only those relationships that comply with the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.
- Generally speaking, you do not need to refile your forms (base contracts, amendments, endorsements, riders, etc.) unless they contain language that conflicts with the domestic partnership law.
- If you have language that conflicts with the law, you can refile those contracts using the normal filing process or you can file an amendment, endorsement or rider. The amendment, endorsement or rider will contain language that removes the non-complying language and also states that the language in this new form overrides the base contract.
- There are several specific instances in which it is appropriate to use
the federal definition of "spouse". These include tax qualified
forms and the spousal continuation language in non-tax qualified forms:
- If the federal definition is used in the spousal continuation situation, it must be clear that it relates only to spousal continuation. Otherwise, you must a) remove the language; or b) file an amendment, endorsement or rider that removes it from all other areas of the contract. In either case, it might be advisable to indicate to the consumer that the spousal continuation option is not available to a surviving domestic partner and to seek legal counsel for this new area of the law. If the spousal continuation language (or elsewhere) does not refer to the federal definition, you do not need to file an amendment, endorsement or rider that refers to the new law but may do so if you wish.
- If the federal definition is used in a tax qualified contract, the contract itself will contain an approval limitation that it may only be used in qualified contracts. If the tax qualified language is added to a contract via an amendment, endorsement or rider, the form title indicates it's qualified and the federal definition is contained in that amendment, endorsement or rider, that is acceptable as those forms are by their nature limited to tax qualified issues.
- Statements such as "joint owners must be husband and wife" should be changed, either in the original document or by amendment, rider, etc., to read "joint owners must be spouses or domestic partners" or something along that line.
New Policy Filings
In the future, submissions of new policy forms should reference Oregon's domestic partnership law if the form makes reference to marriage, spouse, husband or wife (with the exception of those references specific to tax qualified situations and the spousal continuation language). See item 4 (above) for more information on this issue.