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

Title 7Subtitle BChapter IVPart 400Subpart V → §400.712


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


§400.712   Research and development reimbursement, maintenance reimbursement, advance payments for concept proposals, and user fees.

(a) For 508(h) submissions approved by the Board for reinsurance under section 508(h) of the Act:

(1) The 508(h) submission may be eligible for a one-time payment of research and development costs and reimbursement of maintenance costs for up to four reinsurance years, as determined by the Board;

(2) Reimbursement of research and development costs or maintenance costs will be considered as payment in full by FCIC for the 508(h) submission, and no additional amounts will be owed to the applicant if the 508(h) submission is transferred to FCIC in accordance with paragraph (l) of this section; and

(3) If the applicant elects at any time not to continue to maintain the 508(h) submission, it will automatically become the property of FCIC and the applicant will no longer have any property rights to the 508(h) submission and will not receive any user fees for the plan of insurance;

(b) The Board approved procedures and time-frames must be followed, or research and development costs and maintenance costs may not be reimbursed.

(1) After a 508(h) submission has been approved by the Board for reinsurance, to be considered for reimbursement of:

(i) Research and development costs, the applicant must submit the total amount requested and all supporting documentation to FCIC by electronic method or by hard copy and such information must be received by FCIC on or before August 1 immediately following the date the 508(h) submission was released to approved insurance providers through FCIC's issuance system; or

(ii) Maintenance costs, the applicant must submit the total amount requested and all supporting documentation to FCIC by electronic method or by hard copy and such information must be received by FCIC on or before August 1 of each year of the maintenance period.

(2) Given the limitation on funds, regardless of when the request is received, no payment will be made prior to September 15 of the applicable fiscal year.

(c) Applicants submitting a concept proposal may request an advance payment of up to 50 percent of the projected total research and development costs, and after the applicant has begun research and development activities, the Board may, at its sole discretion, provide up to an additional 25 percent advance payment of the estimated research and development costs, if the requirements in the definition of advance payment are met and the additional advance payment is requested in accordance with Procedures Handbook 17030—Approved Procedures for Submission of Concept Proposals Seeking Advance Payment of Research and Development Costs.

(1) If a concept proposal is approved by the Board for advance payment, the applicant is responsible for independently developing a 508(h) submission that is complete as specified in this subpart by the deadline set by the Board.

(i) If an applicant fails to fulfill the obligation to provide a 508(h) submission that is complete by the deadline set by the Board, the Board shall provide a notice of non-compliance to the applicant and allow not less than 30 days for the applicant to respond;

(ii) If the applicant fails to respond, to the satisfaction of the Board, with just cause as to why a 508(h) submission that is complete was not provided by the deadline set by the Board, the applicant shall return the amount of the advance payment plus interest at the rate of 1.25 percent simple interest per calendar month;

(iii) If the applicant responds, to the satisfaction of the Board, with just cause as to why a 508(h) submission that is complete was not provided by the deadline set by the Board, the applicant will be given a new deadline by which to provide a 508(h) submission that is complete; and

(iv) If the applicant fails to provide a 508(h) submission that is complete by the deadline, no additional extensions will be approved by the Board and the applicant shall return the amount of the advance payment plus interest at the rate of 1.25 percent simple interest per calendar month.

(2) If an applicant receives an advance payment for a portion of the expected research and development costs for a concept proposal that is developed into a 508(h) submission and determined by the Board to be complete, but the 508(h) submission is not approved by the Board following expert review, the Board will not:

(i) Seek a refund of any advance payments for research and development costs; and

(ii) Make any further research and development cost reimbursements associated with the 508(h) submission.

(d) Under section 522 of the Act, there are limited funds available on an annual fiscal year basis to pay for reimbursements of research and development costs (including advance payments for concept proposals) and maintenance costs. Consistent with paragraphs (e) through (j) of this section if all applicants' requests for reimbursement of research and development costs (including advance payments for concept proposals) and maintenance costs in any fiscal year:

(1) Do not exceed the maximum amount authorized by law, the applicants may receive the full amount of reimbursement determined reasonable by the Board; or

(2) Exceed the amount authorized by law, each applicant's reimbursement determined reasonable by the Board will be determined by dividing the total amount of each individual applicant's reimbursable costs authorized in paragraphs (e) through (j) of this section by the total amount of the aggregate of all applicants' reimbursable costs authorized in paragraphs (e) through (j) for the year and multiplying the result by the amount of reimbursement authorized under the Act.

(e) The amount of reimbursement for research and development costs and maintenance costs requested by the applicant may be reduced as necessary when the requested amount is not commensurate with the complexity or the size of the area proposed to be covered.

(f) Research and development costs and maintenance costs must be supported by itemized statements and supporting documentation (copies of contracts, billing statements, time sheets, travel vouchers, accounting ledgers, etc.).

(1) Actual costs submitted will be examined for reasonableness and may be adjusted at the sole discretion of the Board.

(2) Allowable research and development costs and maintenance costs (directly related to research and development or maintenance of the 508(h) submission only) may include the following:

(i) Wages and benefits, exclusive of bonuses, overtime pay, or shift differentials;

(A) One line per employee or contractor, include job title, total hours, and total dollars;

(B) The rates charged must be commensurate with the tasks performed (For example, a person performing the task of data entry should not be paid at the rate for performing data analysis);

(C) The wage rate and benefits shall not exceed two times the hourly wage rate plus benefits provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and

(D) The applicant must report any familial or business relationship that exists between the applicant and the contractor or employee (Reimbursement may be limited or denied if the contractor or employee is associated to the applicant and they may be considered as one and the same. This includes a separate entity being created by the applicant to conduct research and development. Reimbursement may be limited or denied if the contractor is paid a salary or other compensation);

(ii) Travel and transportation (One line per event, include the job title, destination, purpose of travel, lodging cost, mileage, air or other identified transportation costs, food and miscellaneous expenses, other costs, and the total cost);

(iii) Software and computer programming developed specifically to determine appropriate rates, prices, or coverage amounts (Identify the item, include the purpose, and provide receipts or contract or straight-time hourly wage, hours, and total cost. Software developed to send or receive data between the producer, agent, approved insurance provider or RMA or such other similar software may not be included as an allowable cost);

(iv) Miscellaneous expenses such as postage, telephone, express mail, and printing (Identify the item, cost per unit, number of items, and total dollars); and

(v) Training costs expended to facilitate implementation of a new approved 508(h) submission (Include instructor(s) hourly rate, hours, and cost of materials and travel) conducted at a national level, directed to all approved insurance providers interested in selling the 508(h) submission, and approved prior to the training by RMA).

(3) The following expenses are specifically not eligible for research and development and maintenance cost reimbursement:

(i) Copyright fees, patent fees, or any other charges, costs or expenses related to the use of intellectual property;

(ii) Training costs, excluding training costs to facilitate implementation of the approved 508(h) submission in accordance with subsection (f)(2)(v);

(iii) State filing fees and expenses;

(iv) Normal ongoing administrative expenses or indirect overhead costs (for example, costs associated with the management or general functions of an organization, such as costs for internet service, telephone, utilities, and office supplies);

(v) Paid or incurred losses;

(vi) Loss adjustment expenses;

(vii) Sales commission;

(viii) Marketing costs;

(ix) Lobbying costs;

(x) Product or applicant liability resulting from the research, development, preparation or marketing of the policy;

(xi) Copyright infringement claims resulting from the research, development, preparation or marketing of the policy;

(xii) Costs of making program changes as a result of any mistakes, errors or flaws in the policy or plan of insurance;

(xiii) Costs associated with building rents or space allocation;

(xiv) Costs in paragraphs (i) and (j) of this section determined by the Board to be ineligible for reimbursement; and

(xv) Local, State, or Federal taxes.

(g) Requests for reimbursement of maintenance costs must be supported by itemized statements and supporting documentary evidence for each reinsurance year in the maintenance period.

(1) Actual costs submitted will be examined for reasonableness and may be adjusted at the sole discretion of the Board.

(2) Maintenance costs for the following activities may be reimbursed:

(i) Expansion of the original 508(h) submission into additional crops, counties or states;

(ii) Non-significant changes to the policy and any related material;

(iii) Non-significant or significant changes to the policy as necessary to protect program integrity or as required by Congress; and

(iv) Any other activity that qualifies as maintenance.

(h) Projected costs for research and development for concept proposals shall be based on a detailed estimate of the costs allowed in paragraph (f) of this section. Since costs are one measurement of the viability to develop an efficient policy, the Board may limit reimbursements for research and development to the estimated costs contained in the concept proposal, unless the submitter can justify a higher reimbursement in accordance with Board procedures.

(i) If a 508(h) submission is determined to be incomplete and is subsequently resubmitted and approved, the costs to perfect the 508(h) submission may not be considered reimbursable costs depending on the level of insufficiency or incompleteness of the 508(h) submission, as determined at the sole discretion of the Board.

(j) Reimbursement of costs associated with addressing issues raised by the Board, expert reviewers and RMA will be evaluated based on the substance of the issue and the amount of time reasonably necessary to address the specific issue. Delays and additional costs caused by the inability or refusal to adequately address issues may not be considered reimbursable, as determined at the sole discretion of the Board.

(k) If the Board withdraws its approval for reinsurance at any time during the period that reimbursement for maintenance is being made or user fees are being collected, no maintenance reimbursement shall be made nor any user fee be owed after the date of such withdrawal.

(l) Not later than 180 days prior to the end of the last reinsurance year in which a maintenance reimbursement will be paid for the approved 508(h) submission, the applicant must notify FCIC in writing regarding its decision on future ownership and maintenance of the policy or plan of insurance.

(1) The applicant must notify FCIC in writing whether it intends to:

(i) Continue to maintain the policy or plan of insurance and charge approved insurance providers a user fee to cover maintenance expenses for all policies earning premium; or

(ii) Transfer responsibility for maintenance to FCIC.

(2) If the applicant fails to notify FCIC in writing by the deadline, the policy or plan of insurance will automatically transfer to FCIC beginning with the next reinsurance year.

(3) If the applicant elects to:

(i) Continue to maintain the policy or plan of insurance, the applicant must submit a request for approval of the user fee by the Board at the time of the election; or

(ii) Transfer the policy or plan of insurance to FCIC, FCIC may at its sole discretion, continue to maintain the policy or plan of insurance or elect to withdraw the availability of the policy or plan of insurance.

(4) Requests for approval of the user fee must be accompanied by written documentation to support the amount requested will only cover direct costs to maintain the plan of insurance. Costs that are not eligible for research and development and maintenance reimbursements under this section are not eligible to be considered for determining the user fee.

(5) The Board will approve the amount of user fee, including the maximum amount of total maintenance that may be collected per year, that is payable to the applicant by approved insurance providers unless the Board determines that the user fee charged:

(i) Is unreasonable in relation to the maintenance costs associated with the policy or plan of insurance; or

(ii) Unnecessarily inhibits the use of the policy or plan of insurance by approved insurance providers.

(6) If the total user fee exceeds the maximum amount determined by the Board, the maximum amount determined by the Board will be divided by the number of policies earning premium to determine the amount to be paid by each approved insurance provider.

(7) Reasonableness of the initial request to charge a user fee will be determined by the Board based on a comparison of the amount of reimbursement for maintenance previously received, the number of policies, the number of approved insurance providers, and the expected total amount of user fees to be received in any reinsurance year.

(8) A user fee unnecessarily inhibits the use of a policy or plan of insurance if it is so high that approved insurance providers will not sell the policy, or the user fee represents an unreasonable portion of the A&O subsidy paid to the AIP such that it prevents the AIP from meeting its other obligations under the SRA.

(9) The user fee charged to each approved insurance provider will be considered payment in full for the use of such policy, plan of insurance or rate of premium for the reinsurance year in which payment is made.

(10) It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to collect such fees from an approved insurance provider and any indebtedness for such fees must be resolved by the applicant and approved insurance provider.

(i) Applicants may request that FCIC provide the number of policies sold by each approved insurance provider.

(ii) Such information will be provided not later than 90 days after such request is made or not later than 90 days after the requisite information has been provided to FCIC by the approved insurance provider, whichever is later.

(11) Every two years after approval of a user fee, or if the applicant has made a significant change to the approved 508(h) submission, applicants must submit documentation to the Board for review in determining if the user fee should be revised.

(12) The Board may review the amount of the user fee at any time at its sole discretion.

(m) The Board may consider information from the Equal Access to Justice Act, 5 U.S.C. 504, the Bureau of Labor Statistic's Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, the Bureau of Labor Statistic's Employment Cost Index, and any other information determined applicable by the Board, in making a determination whether to approve a 508(h) submission for reimbursement of research and development costs, maintenance costs, or user fees.

(n) For purposes of this section, rights to, or obligations of, research and development cost reimbursement, maintenance cost reimbursement, or user fees cannot be transferred from any individual or entity unless specifically approved in writing by the Board.

(o) Applicants requesting reimbursement for research and development costs, maintenance costs, or user fees, may present their request in person to the Board prior to consideration for approval.

(p) Index-based weather plans of insurance are not eligible for reimbursement from FCIC for maintenance costs or research and development costs. Submitters of approved index-based weather plans of insurance may collect user fees from other approved insurance providers in accordance with Procedures Handbook 17050—Approved Procedures for Submission of Index-based Weather Plans of Insurance.

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