Notice safe harbor.
Notice is fair and reasonable if all of the following conditions exist:
The mutual notifies its policyholders of the date, time, and, if applicable, place of each annual, regular, and special meeting of policyholders not more than 60 days and not less than 10 days, or, if notice is mailed by any type other than first class or registered mail, 30 days, before the meeting date. If the board of directors has authorized participation by means of remote communication under s. 611.426
, the notice shall describe the means of remote communication to be used.
Notice of a special meeting includes a description of the matter or matters for which the meeting is called.
Unless the bylaws require otherwise, if an annual, regular, or special meeting of policyholders is adjourned to a different date, time, or place or will be held by a new means of remote communication, notice need not be given of the new date, time, place, or means of remote communication if the new date, time, place, or means of remote communication is announced at the meeting before adjournment. If a new record date for the adjourned meeting is or must be fixed under s. 181.0707
, notice of the adjourned meeting must be given under this subsection to the policyholders of record as of the new record date.
Mandatory voting rights.
Policyholders in all mutuals have the right to vote on conversion, voluntary dissolution, amendment of the articles, and the election of all directors except public directors appointed under s. 611.53 (1)
. Voting may be conducted by mail, by electronic means, or by any other method or combination of methods prescribed by the articles or bylaws. Directors may be divided into classes, and in that case one class shall be elected at least every 4 years for terms not exceeding 6 years.
Optional voting rights.
The articles of any mutual may give the policyholders additional voting rights.
The articles or bylaws shall contain rules governing voting eligibility consistent with sub. (2)
and voting procedures. No amendment to the rules may be effective until at least 30 days after it has been filed with the commissioner.
The articles may provide for regular or special meetings of the policyholders, or elections in lieu of meetings.
Notice of the time and place of regular meetings or elections shall be given to each policyholder by printing it conspicuously on each policy or in such other reasonable manner as the commissioner approves or requires.
The articles may provide that representatives or delegates be selected by the policyholders to represent specific geographical districts, or otherwise to represent defined classes of policyholders, determined on a reasonable basis. After the representative assembly has been selected by the policyholders, the assembly may choose replacements for members unable to complete their terms, if the articles so provide. The vote of a representative shall be treated as the vote of the policyholders he or she represents.
Mutual policyholders' proxy voting. 611.425(1)(1)
In this section, “electronic transmission" means transmission by the Internet, telephone, electronic mail, telegram, cablegram, datagram, or any other form or process of communication that does not directly involve the physical transfer of paper and that is capable of retention, retrieval, and reproduction of information by the recipient.
Unless the articles of incorporation or bylaws prohibit or limit proxy voting, a policyholder may appoint another person as proxy to vote or otherwise act for the policyholder at a meeting of policyholders or to express consent or dissent in writing to any corporate action without a meeting of policyholders.
A policyholder or the policyholder's authorized officer, director, employee, agent, or attorney-in-fact may validly appoint a proxy by signing or causing the policyholder's signature to be affixed to an appointment form by any reasonable means, including by facsimile signature.
To the extent authorized by the mutual's bylaws, a policyholder or the policyholder's authorized officer, director, employee, agent, or attorney-in-fact may validly appoint a proxy by transmitting or authorizing the transmission of an electronic transmission of the appointment to the person who will be appointed as proxy or to a proxy solicitation firm, proxy support service organization, or like agent authorized to receive the transmission by the person who will be appointed as proxy. Every electronic transmission shall contain, or be accompanied by, information that can be used to reasonably determine that the policyholder transmitted or authorized the transmission of the electronic transmission. Any person charged with determining whether a policyholder transmitted or authorized the transmission of the electronic transmission shall specify the information upon which the determination is made.
Any copy, facsimile telecommunication, or other reliable reproduction of the information in the appointment form under par. (b)
or the electronic transmission under par. (c)
may be substituted or used in lieu of the original appointment form or electronic transmission for any purpose for which the original appointment form or electronic transmission may be used, but only if the copy, facsimile telecommunication, or other reliable reproduction is a complete reproduction of the information in the original appointment form or electronic transmission.
An appointment of a proxy is effective when a signed appointment form or, if authorized, an electronic transmission of the appointment is received by the inspector of election or the officer or agent of the mutual authorized to tabulate votes. An appointment is valid for 11 months unless a different period is expressly provided in the appointment.
An appointment of a proxy is revocable unless the appointment form or, if authorized, electronic transmission states that it is irrevocable.
The appointment of a proxy is revoked if the policyholder appointing the proxy does any of the following:
Signs and delivers to the secretary or other officer or agent authorized to tabulate proxy votes either a written statement that the appointment of the proxy is revoked or a subsequent appointment form.
Effect of death or incapacity.
The death or incapacity of the policyholder appointing a proxy does not affect the right of the mutual to accept the proxy's authority unless the secretary or other officer or agent of the mutual authorized to tabulate votes receives notice of the death or incapacity before the proxy exercises his or her authority under the appointment.
Acceptance by mutual.
Subject to s. 181.0727
and to any express limitation on the proxy's authority stated in the appointment form or, if authorized, electronic transmission, a mutual may accept the proxy's vote or other action as that of the policyholder making the appointment.
History: 2013 a. 279
Remote participation in policyholder meetings. 611.426(1)(1)
If authorized by the board of directors in its sole discretion, and subject to sub. (2)
and any guidelines and procedures adopted by the board of directors, policyholders and proxies of policyholders not physically present at a meeting of policyholders may participate in the meeting by means of remote communication.
If policyholders and proxies of policyholders participate in a meeting of policyholders by means of remote communication, the participating policyholders and proxies of policyholders shall be considered to be present in person and permitted to vote at the meeting, whether the meeting is held at a designated place or solely by means of remote communication, if all of the following apply:
The mutual has implemented reasonable measures to verify that each person considered to be present and permitted to vote at the meeting by means of remote communication is a policyholder or proxy of a policyholder.
The mutual has implemented reasonable measures to provide policyholders and proxies of policyholders a reasonable opportunity to participate in the meeting and to vote on matters submitted to the policyholders, including an opportunity to read or hear the proceedings of the meeting concurrently with the proceedings.
The mutual maintains a record of voting and other actions by any policyholder or proxy of a policyholder that votes or takes another action at the meeting by means of remote communication.
History: 2021 a. 114
Annual report to mutual policyholders.
Every domestic mutual shall send to each policyholder requesting it an annual report which shall contain basic financial and operating data, information about important business and corporate developments, and such other information as the corporation wishes to include or as the commissioner by rule requires to be included in order to keep policyholders properly informed.
History: 1971 c. 260
Board of directors. 611.51(2)(a)(a)
Except under pars. (b)
, a corporation shall have at least 5 directors if no more than one director is an employee or representative of the corporation, and shall have at least 9 directors in other cases.
During the first 5 years after initial issuance of a certificate of authority, a corporation shall have at least 5 directors.
The commissioner may by order reduce the number of directors required under this subsection, if he or she finds that it would be an unreasonable burden on the corporation to comply with the requirement and that the interests of policyholders and shareholders can be otherwise protected.
Employees and representatives of a corporation may not constitute a majority of its board.
Subsidiaries and closely held corporations.
Subsections (2) (a)
do not apply to an insurance subsidiary authorized under s. 611.26 (1)
nor to a stock insurance corporation more than 95 percent of whose outstanding shares entitled to vote are owned by a single person or all of whose voting shareholders are either members of or are individually represented on the board.
Classification of directors.
If directors are divided into classes by the articles or the bylaws, no class may contain fewer than 3 members. Subject thereto, s. 180.0806
applies to stock corporations.
The board shall manage the business and affairs of the corporation and may not delegate its power or responsibility to do so, except to the extent authorized by ss. 180.0841
Quorum and voting.
applies to the board of a stock corporation and s. 181.0824
applies to the board of a mutual except as modified by s. 611.60
Each mutual shall keep correct and complete books and records of account and shall also keep minutes of the proceedings of its policyholders, board of directors and committees having any authority of the board of directors. Each mutual shall keep at its principal office or at the office of its secretary a record giving the names and addresses of policyholders entitled to vote, or records showing where such information can be obtained.
Except for the records of the names and addresses of policyholders entitled to vote, all relevant books and records of a mutual may be inspected by any policyholder or the policyholder's agent or attorney for any proper purpose at any reasonable time. Inspection of the records of the names and addresses of policyholders of mutuals entitled to vote shall be permitted only for the purpose of communicating with other policyholders with regard to the nomination and election of candidates for the board or other corporate matters which may be submitted to a vote of the policyholders. No person may, directly or indirectly, use any information so obtained for any other purpose.
In any pending action or proceeding, or upon petition, a court of record in this state may, upon notice fixed by the court, hearing and a showing of proper cause, and upon suitable terms, order any books and records of account, minutes and records of policyholders of a mutual and any other pertinent documents in the mutual's possession, or transcripts from or duly authenticated copies thereof, to be brought within this state and kept at such place and for such time and for such purposes as may be designated in the order. A mutual failing to comply with an order under this subdivision is subject to involuntary dissolution under this chapter and all of its directors and officers may be punished for contempt of court for disobedience of the order.
Form of books, records or minutes.
Any books, records or minutes may be in written form or in any other form capable of being converted into written form within a reasonable time.
Records of policyholders entitled to vote.
Any provision of this chapter or of any articles or bylaws of a mutual, which requires the keeping of records concerning the names and addresses of policyholders entitled to vote shall be deemed to be complied with by the keeping of a record of the names of policyholders and the names and addresses of insureds or persons paying premiums. Any such provision which requires the mailing or sending of notices, reports, proposals, ballots or other materials to policyholders shall be deemed to be complied with if mailing thereof is made to the insured or the person paying premiums on the policy for delivery to the policyholder.
Legislative Council Note to (2) (a), 1975:
This amendment accommodates the needs of small corporations while continuing to satisfy the purposes for having large boards, as explained in the note to s. 611.51 (2) (a) in chapter 260, laws of 1971
. [Bill 643-S]
Election and removal of directors and officers of stock corporations. 611.52(2)
At each annual meeting of shareholders, the shareholders shall elect directors to hold office until the next succeeding annual election except as provided in sub. (3)
or under s. 180.0806
. Each director shall hold office for the term for which he or she is elected and until his or her successor is elected and qualified if qualification is required. Section 180.0804
applies to a stock corporation.
Selection and removal of directors and officers of mutuals. 611.53(1)(1)
Public selection of directors.
The articles of a mutual may provide that any number of the directors shall be public directors chosen under a plan proposed by the corporation and approved by the commissioner. The plan shall be designed to assure true public representation on the board. The persons to be nominated as directors shall be persons whose insurance business or general experience qualifies them to serve responsibly and impartially.
Election of directors.
Directors not to be chosen under sub. (1)
shall be elected by the policyholders.
Resignation, vacancies and removal of directors.
Subject to subs. (1)
, ss. 181.0807
apply to a mutual. A director may be removed from office for cause by an affirmative vote of a majority of the full board at a meeting of the board called for that purpose.
History: 1971 c. 260
; 1997 a. 79
Supervision of management changes. 611.54(1)(a)
The name of any person selected as a director or principal officer of a corporation, together with such pertinent biographical and other data as the commissioner requires by rule, shall be reported to the commissioner immediately after the selection.
For 5 years after the initial issuance of a certificate of authority to a corporation, the commissioner may within 30 days after receipt of a report under par. (a)
disapprove any person selected who fails to satisfy the commissioner that the person is trustworthy and has the competence, experience and freedom from conflict of interest necessary to discharge his or her responsibilities.
Report of removal.
Whenever a director or principal officer of a corporation is removed under s. 180.0843 (2)
, 181.0843 (2)
or 611.53 (3)
, the removal shall be reported to the commissioner immediately together with a statement of the reasons for the removal.
Removal by commissioner.
If the commissioner finds, after a hearing, that a director or officer has a conflict of interest, is incompetent, untrustworthy or has willfully violated chs. 600
, a rule promulgated under s. 601.41 (3)
or an order issued under s. 601.41 (4)
, and that the conflict of interest, incompetence or the violation endangers the interests of insureds or of the public, the commissioner may order that the director or officer be removed.
See also s. Ins 6.52
, Wis. adm. code.
Continuity of management in emergencies. 611.55(1)(1)
The legislature declares it to be desirable for the general welfare and in particular for the welfare of insurance beneficiaries, policyholders, claimants and others that the business of domestic insurance corporations be continued even in a national emergency. The specific purpose of this section is to facilitate the continued operation of such corporations if a national emergency is caused by an attack on the United States or by a nuclear, atomic or other disaster which makes it impossible or impracticable for a corporation to conduct its business in strict accord with applicable provisions of law, its articles, bylaws or its charter.
The board of any corporation may at any time adopt emergency bylaws, subject to repeal or change by action of those having power to adopt regular bylaws, which shall be operative during such a national emergency and which may, notwithstanding any different provisions of the regular bylaws, or of the applicable statutes or of the corporation's articles or charter, make any provision that may be reasonably necessary for operation during the emergency.
If the board of a corporation has not adopted emergency bylaws, the following provisions shall become effective upon the occurrence of a national emergency:
Three directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at all meetings of the board.
Any vacancy on the board may be filled by a majority of the remaining directors, though less than a quorum, or by a sole remaining director.
If there are no surviving directors, but at least 3 officers of the corporation survive, the 3 officers with the longest term of service shall be the directors and shall possess all of the powers of the previous board and such powers as are granted herein or by subsequently enacted legislation. By majority vote such emergency board may elect other directors. If there are not at least 3 surviving officers, the commissioner shall appoint 3 persons as directors who shall possess all of the powers of the previous board and such powers as are granted herein or by subsequently enacted legislation, and these persons by majority vote may elect other directors.
At any time the board of a corporation may, by resolution, provide that in the event of such a national emergency and in the event of the death or incapacity of specified officers of the corporation, such officers shall be succeeded by the persons named or described in a succession list adopted by the board. The list may be on the basis of named persons or position titles, shall establish the order of priority and may prescribe the conditions under which the powers of the office shall be exercised.