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e-CFR data is current as of February 24, 2021

Title 7Subtitle BChapter IVPart 400Subpart V → §400.706


Title 7: Agriculture
PART 400—GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS
Subpart V—Submission of Policies, Provisions of Policies, Rates of Premium, and Non-Reinsured Supplemental Policies


§400.706   Review.

(a) Prior to providing a 508(h) submission, concept proposal, or index-based weather plan of insurance to the Board, RMA will:

(1) Review the 508(h) submission, concept proposal, or index-based weather plan of insurance to determine if all required documentation is included in accordance with §400.705;

(2) Review the 508(h) submission, concept proposal, or index-based weather plan of insurance to determine whether it is of sufficient quality to conduct a meaningful review such that the Board will be able to make an informed decision regarding approval or disapproval;

(3) In accordance with section 508(h)(1)(B) of the Act, at its sole discretion, determine if the policy or plan of insurance:

(i) Will likely result in a viable and marketable policy;

(ii) Will provide crop insurance coverage in a significantly improved form; and

(iii) Adequately protect the interests of producers.

(4) RMA may reject and return any 508(h) submission, concept proposal, or index based weather plan of insurance that:

(i) Is not complete;

(ii) Is unlikely to result in a viable and marketable policy;

(iii) Will not provide crop insurance coverage in a significantly improved form; and

(iv) Will not adequately protect the interests of producers.

(5) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(4) of this section, forward the 508(h) submission, concept proposal, or index-based weather plan of insurance, and the results of RMA's initial review, to the Board for its determination of completeness and quality.

(b) Upon the Board's receipt of a 508(h) submission, the Board will:

(1) Determine if the 508(h) submission is complete (the date the Board votes to contract with expert reviewers is the date the 508(h) submission is deemed to be complete for the start of the 120 day time-period for approval);

(2) Unless the 508(h) submission makes non-significant changes to a policy or plan of insurance, or involves policy provisions that have already undergone expert review, forward the complete 508(h) submission to at least five expert reviewers to review the 508(h) submission:

(i) Of the five expert reviewers, no more than one will be employed by the Federal Government, and none may be employed by any approved insurance provider or their representative; and

(ii) The expert reviewers will each provide their individual assessment of whether the 508(h) submission:

(A) Protects the interests of agricultural producers and taxpayers;

(B) Is actuarially appropriate;

(C) Follows recognized insurance principles;

(D) Meets the requirements of the Act;

(E) Does not contain excessive risks (risks may be considered excessive if they encourage adverse selection, moral hazard, or if premium rates cannot be adequately or appropriately determined);

(F) Follows sound, reasonable, and appropriate underwriting principles;

(G) Will provide a new kind of coverage that is likely to be viable and marketable;

(H) Will provide crop insurance coverage in a manner that addresses a clear and identifiable flaw or problem in an existing policy;

(I) Will provide a new or improved coverage for a commodity that previously had no available crop insurance, or has demonstrated a low level of participation or coverage level under existing coverage;

(J) May have a significant adverse impact on the crop insurance delivery system;

(K) The marketability assessment reasonably demonstrates the product would be viable and marketable (if the applicant cannot obtain a marketability assessment by another AIP, the Board shall presume that the submission is unmarketable);

(L) If applicable, contains a consultation report that provides evidence the 508(h) submission will not create adverse market distortions; and

(M) Meets any other criteria the Board may deem necessary;

(3) Return to the applicant any 508(h) submission the Board determines is not complete, along with an explanation of the reason for the determination and:

(i) With respect to 508(h) submissions developed from approved concept proposals, the provisions in §400.712(c)(1) shall apply; and

(ii) Except for 508(h) submissions developed from concept proposals, if the 508(h) submission is resubmitted at a later date, it will be considered a new 508(h) submission solely for the purpose of determining the amount of time that the Board must take action; and

(4) For complete 508(h) submissions:

(i) Request review by RMA to provide its assessment of whether the 508(h) submission:

(A) Meets the criteria listed in subsections (b)(2)(ii)(A) through (M);

(B) Is consistent with USDA's public policy goals;

(C) Does not increase or shift risk to any other FCIC reinsured policy;

(D) Can be implemented, administered, and delivered effectively and efficiently using RMA's information technology and delivery systems; and

(E) Contains requested amounts of government reinsurance, risk subsidy, and administrative and operating subsidies that are reasonable and appropriate for the type of coverage provided by the policy; and

(ii) Seek review from the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) to determine if the 508(h) submission conforms to the requirements of the Act and all applicable Federal statutes and regulations.

(c) Upon the Board's receipt of a concept proposal, the Board will:

(1) Determine whether the concept proposal is complete (the date the Board votes to contract with expert reviewers is the date the concept proposal is deemed to be a complete concept proposal for the start of the 120 day time-period for approval);

(2) If complete, forward the concept proposal to at least two expert reviewers with underwriting or actuarial experience to review the concept in accordance with section 522(b)(2) of the Act, this subpart, and Procedures Handbook 17030—Approved Procedures for Submission of Concept Proposals Seeking Advance Payment of Research and Development Costs;

(3) Return to the applicant any concept proposal the Board determines is not complete, along with an explanation of the reason for the determination (If the concept proposal is resubmitted at a later date, it will be considered a new concept proposal solely for the purposes of determining the amount of time that the Board must take action);

(4) Determine whether the concept proposal, if developed into a policy or plan of insurance would, in good faith, would meet the requirement of being likely to result in a viable and marketable policy consistent with section 508(h) (if the applicant cannot obtain a marketability assessment by another AIP, the Board shall presume that the submission is unmarketable);

(5) At its sole discretion, determine whether the concept proposal, if developed into a policy or plan of insurance would meet the requirement of providing coverage:

(i) In a significantly improved form;

(ii) To a crop or region not traditionally served by the Federal crop insurance program; or

(iii) In a form that addresses a recognized flaw or problem in the program;

(6) Determine whether the proposed budget and timetable are reasonable;

(7) Determine whether the concept proposal meets all other requirements imposed by the Board or as otherwise specified in Procedures Handbook 17030—Approved Procedures for Submission of Concept Proposals Seeking Advance Payment of Research and Development Costs; and

(8) Provide a date by which the 508(h) submission must be provided in consultation with the applicant.

(d) Upon the Board's receipt of an index-based weather plan of insurance, the Board will:

(1) Determine whether the index-based weather plan of insurance is complete (the date the Board votes to contract with expert reviewers is the date the index-based weather plan of insurance is deemed to be complete for the start of the 120-day time-period for approval);

(2) If determined to be complete, contract with five expert reviewers and review the index-based weather plan of insurance in accordance with section 523(i) of the Act, this subpart, and Procedures Handbook 17050—Approved Procedures for Submission of Index-based Weather Plans of Insurance;

(3) Return to the applicant any index-based weather plan of insurance the Board determines is not complete, along with an explanation of the reason for the determination (if the index-based weather plan of insurance is resubmitted at a later date, it will be considered a new index-based weather plan of insurance solely for the purposes of determining the amount of time that the Board must take action); and

(4) Give the highest priority for approval of index-based weather plans of insurance that provide a new kind of coverage for specialty crops and livestock commodities that previously had no available crop insurance, or have demonstrated a low level of participation under existing coverage.

(e) All comments and evaluations will be provided to the Board by a date determined by the Board to allow the Board adequate time for review.

(f) The Board will consider all comments, evaluations, and recommendations in its review process. Prior to making a decision, the Board may request additional information from RMA, OGC, the expert reviewers, or the applicant.

(g) In considering whether to approve policies or plans of insurance and when such policies or plans of insurance will be offered for sale, the Board will:

(1) First, consider policies or plans of insurance that address underserved commodities, including commodities for which there is no insurance;

(2) Second, consider existing policies or plans of insurance for which there is inadequate coverage or there exists low levels of participation; and

(3) Last, consider all policies or plans of insurance submitted to the Board that do not meet the criteria described in paragraph (g)(1) or (2) of this section.

(h) At any time an applicant may request a time delay after the 508(h) submission, concept proposal, or index-based weather plan of insurance has been placed on the Board meeting agenda. The Board is not required to agree to such an extension.

(1) With respect to 508(h) submissions from concept proposals approved by the Board for advanced payment, the applicant must provide good cause why consideration should be delayed.

(2) Any requested time delay is not limited in the length of time unless a date is set by the Board by which all revisions to the 508(h) submission, concept proposal or index-based weather plan of insurance must be made. However, delays may make implementation of the 508(h) submission for the targeted crop year impractical or impossible as determined by the Board.

(3) The time period during which the Board will make a decision to approve or disapprove the 508(h) submission, concept proposal or index-based weather plan of insurance shall be extended commensurately with any time delay requested by the applicant.

(i) The applicant may withdraw a 508(h) submission, concept proposal, index-based weather plan of insurance, or a portion of a 508(h) submission or concept proposal, at any time by presenting a request to the Board. A withdrawn 508(h) submission, concept proposal or index-based weather plan of insurance that is resubmitted will be deemed a new 508(h) submission, concept proposal, or index-based weather plan of insurance solely for the purposes of determining the amount of time that the Board must take action.

(j) The Board will render a decision on a 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance, with or without revision or give notice of intent to disapprove within 90 days after the date the 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance is considered complete by the Board, unless the Board agrees to a time delay in accordance with paragraph (h) of this section.

(k) The Board may provide a notice of intent to disapprove a 508(h) submission if it determines:

(1) The interests of producers and taxpayers are not protected, including but not limited to:

(i) The 508(h) submission does not provide adequate coverage or treats producers disparately;

(ii) The applicant has not presented sufficient documentation that the 508(h) submission will provide a new kind of coverage that is likely to be viable and marketable (if the applicant cannot obtain a marketability assessment by another AIP, the Board shall presume that the submission is unmarketable);

(iii) Coverage would be similar to another policy or plan of insurance that has not demonstrated a low level of participation or does not contain a clear and identifiable flaw, and the producer would not significantly benefit from the 508(h) submission;

(iv) The 508(h) submission may create adverse market distortions or adversely impact other crops or agricultural commodities if marketed;

(v) The 508(h) submission will have a significant adverse impact on the private delivery system;

(vi) The 508(h) submission cannot be implemented, administered, and delivered effectively and efficiently using RMA's information technology and delivery systems;

(vii) The 508(h) submission contains flaws that may encourage adverse selection or moral hazard; or

(viii) The 508(h) submission contains vulnerabilities that allow indemnities to exceed the value of the crop;

(2) The premium rates are not actuarially appropriate;

(3) The 508(h) submission does not conform to sound insurance and underwriting principles;

(4) The risks associated with the 508(h) submission are excessive or it increases or shifts risk to another reinsured policy;

(5) The 508(h) submission does not meet the requirements of the Act; or

(6) The 90-day deadline under subsection (j) will expire before the Board has time to make an informed decision to approve or disapprove the 508(h) submission.

(l) The Board may disapprove a concept proposal if it determines:

(1) The concept, in good faith, will not likely result in a viable and marketable policy consistent with section 508(h);

(2) At the sole discretion of the Board, the concept, if developed into a policy and approved by the Board, would not provide crop insurance coverage:

(i) In a significantly improved form;

(ii) To a crop or region not traditionally served by the Federal crop insurance program; or

(iii) In a form that addresses a recognized flaw or problem in the program;

(3) The proposed budget and timetable are not reasonable, as determined by the Board; or

(4) The concept proposal fails to meet one or more requirements established by the Board.

(m) The Board shall provide a notice of intent to disapprove an index-based weather plan of insurance if it determines there is not:

(1) Adequate experience in underwriting and administering policies or plans of insurance that are comparable to the proposed policy or plan of insurance;

(2) Sufficient assets or reinsurance to satisfy the underwriting obligations of the approved insurance provider, and possess a sufficient insurance credit rating from an appropriate credit rating bureau, in accordance with Board procedures; and

(3) Applicable authority and approval from each State in which the approved insurance provider intends to sell the insurance product.

(n) Unless otherwise provided for in this section:

(1) If the Board intends to disapprove a 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance, the Board will provide the applicant with a written explanation outlining the basis for the intent to disapprove; and

(2) Any approval or disapproval of a 508(h) submission, concept proposal, or index-based weather plan of insurance must be made by the Board in writing not later than 120 days after the Board has determined it to be complete.

(o) If a notice of intent to disapprove all or part of a 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance has been provided by the Board, the applicant must provide written notice to the Board not later than 30 days after the Board provides such notice if the 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance will be modified. If the applicant does not respond within the 30-day period, the Board will send the applicant a letter stating the 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance is disapproved.

(p) If the applicant elects to modify the 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance:

(1) The applicant must advise the Board of a date by which the modified 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance will be presented to the Board; and

(2) The remainder of the time left between the Board's notice of intent to disapprove and the expiration of the 120-day deadline is paused until the modified 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance is received by the Board.

(3) The Board will disapprove a modified 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance if the:

(i) Causes for disapproval stated by the Board in its notification of intent to disapprove the 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance are not satisfactorily addressed;

(ii) Board determines there is insufficient time for the Board to finish its review before the expiration of the 120-day deadline for disapproval of a 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance, unless the applicant grants the Board an extension of time to adequately consider the modified 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance (If an extension of time is agreed upon, the time period during which the Board must act on the modified 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance will paused during the extension); or

(iii) Applicant does not present a modification of the 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance to the Board on the date the applicant specified and the applicant does not request an additional time delay.

(q) If the Board fails to render a decision on a new 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance within the time periods specified in paragraph (j) or (n) of this section, such 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance will be deemed approved by the Board for the initial reinsurance year designated for the 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance. The Board must approve the 508(h) submission or index-based weather plan of insurance for it to be available for any subsequent reinsurance year.

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