Hold hearings, subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance, administer oaths, examine any person under oath and compel any person to subscribe to his or her testimony after it has been correctly reduced to writing, and in connection therewith require the production of any books, papers, records or other documents which the liquidator deems relevant to the inquiry.
Collect all debts and moneys due and claims belonging to the insurer, wherever located, and for this purpose institute timely action in other jurisdictions, in order to forestall garnishment and attachment proceedings against such debts; perform any other acts necessary or expedient to collect, conserve or protect its assets or property, including sell, compound, compromise or assign for purposes of collection, upon such terms and conditions as he or she deems best, any bad or doubtful debts; and pursue any creditor's remedies available to enforce his or her claims.
Conduct public and private sales of the property of the insurer in a manner prescribed by the court.
Cooperate with the fund created under ch. 646
in using assets of the estate to transfer policy obligations to a solid assuming insurer, if the transfer can be arranged without prejudice to applicable priorities under s. 645.68
Acquire, hypothecate, encumber, lease, improve, sell, transfer, abandon or otherwise dispose of or deal with any property of the insurer at its market value or upon fair and reasonable terms and conditions, except that no transaction involving property the market value of which exceeds $10,000 shall be concluded without express permission of the court. The liquidator also may execute, acknowledge and deliver any deeds, assignments, releases and other instruments necessary or proper to effectuate any sale of property or other transaction in connection with the liquidation. In cases where real property sold by the liquidator is located other than in the county where the liquidation is pending, the liquidator shall cause to be recorded with the register of deeds for the county in which the property is located the order of appointment.
Borrow money on the security of the insurer's assets or without security and execute and deliver all documents necessary to that transaction for the purpose of facilitating the liquidation.
Subject to par. (b)
, enter into such contracts as are necessary to carry out the order to liquidate, and affirm or disavow any contracts to which the insurer is a party.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, no liquidator has the power to disavow any federal home loan bank security agreement, or any pledge, security, collateral, or guarantee agreement, or any other similar arrangement or credit enhancement relating to a federal home loan bank security agreement.
Continue to prosecute and institute in the name of the insurer or in his or her own name any suits and other legal proceedings, in this state or elsewhere, and abandon the prosecution of claims he or she deems unprofitable to pursue further. If the insurer is dissolved under s. 645.44
, the liquidator may apply to any court in this state or elsewhere for leave to substitute himself or herself for the insurer as plaintiff.
Prosecute any action which may exist in behalf of the creditors, members, policyholders or shareholders of the insurer against any officer of the insurer, or any other person.
Remove any records and property of the insurer to the offices of the commissioner or to such other place as is convenient for the purposes of efficient and orderly execution of the liquidation.
Deposit in one or more banks in this state such sums as are required for meeting current administration expenses and dividend distributions.
Deposit with the investment board for investment under s. 25.14
all sums not currently needed, unless the court orders otherwise.
File or record any necessary documents for record in the office of any register of deeds or record office in this state or elsewhere where property of the insurer is located.
Assert all defenses available to the insurer as against 3rd persons, including statutes of limitations, statutes of frauds and the defense of usury. A waiver of any defense by the insurer after a petition for liquidation has been filed does not bind the liquidator.
Exercise and enforce all the rights, remedies and powers of any creditor, shareholder, policyholder or member, including any power to avoid any transfer or lien that may be given by law and that is not included within ss. 645.52
Intervene in any proceeding wherever instituted that might lead to the appointment of a receiver or trustee, and act as the receiver or trustee whenever the appointment is offered.
Enter into agreements with any receiver or commissioner of any other state relating to the rehabilitation, liquidation, conservation or dissolution of an insurer doing business in both states.
Exercise all powers now held or hereafter conferred upon receivers by the laws of this state not inconsistent with this chapter.
The enumeration in this section of the powers and authority of the liquidator is not a limitation upon the liquidator, and does not exclude the right to do other acts not herein specifically enumerated or otherwise provided for which are necessary or expedient for the accomplishment of or in aid of the purpose of liquidation.
Notice to creditors and others. 645.47(1)(a)(a)
The liquidator shall give notice of the liquidation order as soon as possible by first class mail and either by telegram or telephone to the insurance commissioner of each jurisdiction in which the insurer is licensed to do business, by first class mail and by telephone to the department of workforce development of this state if the insurer is or has been an insurer of worker's compensation, by first class mail to all insurance agents having a duty under s. 645.48
, by first class mail to the director of state courts under s. 601.53 (1)
if the insurer does a surety business and by first class mail at the last-known address to all persons known or reasonably expected from the insurer's records to have claims against the insurer, including all policyholders. The liquidator also shall publish a class 3 notice, under ch. 985
, in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the liquidation is pending or in Dane County, the last publication to be not less than 3 months before the earliest deadline specified in the notice under sub. (2)
Notice to agents shall inform them of their duties under s. 645.48
and inform them of what information they must communicate to insureds. Notice to policyholders shall include notice of impairment and termination of coverage under s. 645.43
. When it is applicable, notice to policyholders shall include all of the following:
Notice of withdrawal of the insurer from the defense of any case in which the insured is interested.
Reports and further notice.
Within 15 days of the date of entry of the order, the liquidator shall report to the court what notice has been given. The court may order such additional notice as it deems appropriate.
Notice respecting claims filing.
Notice to potential claimants under sub. (1)
shall require claimants to file with the liquidator their claims together with proper proofs thereof under s. 645.62
, on or before a date the liquidator specifies in the notice, which shall be no less than 6 months nor more than one year after entry of the order, except that the liquidator need not require persons claiming unearned premium and persons claiming cash surrender values or other investment values in life insurance and annuities to file a claim. The liquidator may specify different dates for the filing of different kinds of claims.
If notice is given in accordance with this section, the distribution of the assets of the insurer under this chapter shall be conclusive with respect to all claimants, whether or not they received notice.
Duties of agents. 645.48(1)(1)
Every person who receives notice in the form prescribed in s. 645.47
that an insurer which the person represents as an independent agent is the subject of a liquidation order shall as soon as practicable give notice of the liquidation order. The notice shall be sent by first class mail to the last address contained in the agent's records to each policyholder or other person named in any policy issued through the agent by the company, if the agent has a record of the address of the policyholder or other person. A policy shall be deemed issued through an agent if the agent has a property interest in the expiration of the policy; or if the agent has had in his or her possession a copy of the declarations of the policy at any time during the life of the policy, except where the ownership of the expiration of the policy has been transferred to another. The written notice shall include the name and address of the insurer, the name and address of the agent, identification of the policy impaired and the nature of the impairment under s. 645.43
. Notice by a general agent satisfies the notice requirement for any agents under contract to the general agent.
So far as practicable, every insurance agent subject to sub. (1)
shall give immediate oral notice, by telephone or otherwise, of the liquidation order to the same persons to whom the agent is obligated to give written notice. The oral notice shall include substantially the same information as the written notice.
History: 1975 c. 371
; 1979 c. 102
Actions by and against liquidator. 645.49(1)(1)
Termination of actions against insurer by order appointing liquidator.
Upon issuance of any order appointing the commissioner liquidator of a domestic insurer or of an alien insurer domiciled in this state, all actions and all proceedings against the insurer whether in this state or elsewhere shall be abated and the liquidator shall not intervene in them, except as provided in this subsection. Whenever in the liquidator's judgment an action in this state has proceeded to a point where fairness or convenience would be served by its continuation to judgment, the liquidator may apply to the court for leave to defend or to be substituted for the insurer, and if the court grants the application, the action shall not be abated. Whenever in the liquidator's judgment, protection of the estate of the insurer necessitates intervention in an action against the insurer that is pending outside this state, with approval of the court the liquidator may intervene in the action. The liquidator may defend at the expense of the estate of the insurer any action in which he or she intervenes under this section at the expense of the estate of the insurer.
Statutes of limitations on claims by insurer.
The liquidator may, within 2 years subsequent to the entry of an order for liquidation or within such further time as applicable law permits, institute an action or proceeding on behalf of the estate of the insurer upon any cause of action against which the period of limitation fixed by applicable law has not expired at the time of the filing of the petition upon which such order is entered. Where, by any agreement, a period of limitation is fixed for instituting a suit or proceeding upon any claim or for filing any claim, proof of claim, proof of loss, demand, notice or the like, or where in any proceeding, judicial or otherwise, a period of limitation is fixed, either in the proceeding or by applicable law, for taking any action, filing any claim or pleading or doing any act, and where in any such case the period had not expired at the date of the filing of the petition, the liquidator may, for the benefit of the estate, take any such action or do any such act, required of or permitted to the insurer, within a period of 60 days subsequent to the entry of an order for liquidation, or within such further period as is permitted by the agreement, or in the proceeding or by applicable law, or within such further period as is shown to the satisfaction of the court not to be unfairly prejudicial to the other party.
Statutes of limitations on claims against insurer.
The time between the filing of a petition for liquidation against an insurer and the denial of the petition shall not be considered to be a part of the time within which any action may be commenced against the insurer. Any action against the insurer that might have been commenced when the petition was filed may be commenced for at least 60 days after the petition is denied.
History: 1979 c. 102
Collection and list of assets. 645.51(1)(1)
List of assets required.
As soon as practicable after the liquidation order, the liquidator shall prepare in duplicate a list of the insurer's assets. The list shall be amended or supplemented as the court requires. One copy shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the court having jurisdiction over the liquidation proceedings and one copy shall be retained for the liquidator's files. All amendments and supplements shall be similarly filed.
Liquidation of assets.
The liquidator shall reduce the assets to a degree of liquidity that is consistent with the effective execution of the liquidation as rapidly and economically as he or she can.
History: 1979 c. 102
s. 236 (5)
Fraudulent transfers prior to petition. 645.52(1)(1)
Definition and effect.
Every transfer made or suffered and every obligation incurred by an insurer within one year prior to the filing of a successful petition for rehabilitation or liquidation under this chapter is fraudulent as to then existing and future creditors if made or incurred without fair consideration, or with actual intent to hinder, delay or defraud either existing or future creditors. A transfer made or an obligation incurred by an insurer ordered to be rehabilitated or liquidated under this chapter, which is fraudulent under this section, may be avoided by the receiver, except as to a person who in good faith is a purchaser, lienor or obligee for a present fair equivalent value; and except that any purchaser, lienor or obligee, who in good faith has given a consideration less than fair for such transfer, lien or obligation, may retain the property, lien or obligation as security for repayment. The court may, on due notice, order any such transfer or obligation to be preserved for the benefit of the estate, and in that event the receiver shall succeed to and may enforce the rights of the purchaser, lienor or obligee.
A transfer of property other than real property shall be deemed to be made or suffered when it becomes so far perfected that no subsequent lien obtainable by legal or equitable proceedings on a simple contract could become superior to the rights of the transferee under s. 645.54 (3)
A transfer of real property shall be deemed to be made or suffered when it becomes so far perfected that no subsequent bona fide purchaser from the insurer could obtain rights superior to the rights of the transferee.
A transfer which creates an equitable lien shall not be deemed to be perfected if there are available means by which a legal lien could be created.
Transfer not perfected prior to petition.
Any transfer not perfected prior to the filing of a petition for liquidation shall be deemed to be made immediately before the filing of the successful petition.
Actual creditors unnecessary.
This subsection applies whether or not there are or were creditors who might have obtained any liens or persons who might have become bona fide purchasers.
Fraudulent reinsurance transactions.
Any transaction of the insurer with a reinsurer shall be deemed fraudulent and may be avoided by the receiver under sub. (1)
The transaction consists of the termination, adjustment or settlement of a reinsurance contract in which the reinsurer is released from any part of its duty to pay the originally specified share of losses that had occurred prior to the time of the transaction, unless the reinsurer gives a present fair equivalent value for the release; and
Any part of the transaction took place within one year prior to the date of filing of the petition through which the receivership was commenced.
Fraudulent transfers after petition. 645.53(1)(1)
Effect of petition: real property.
After a petition for rehabilitation or liquidation, a transfer of any of the real property of the insurer made to a person acting in good faith shall be valid against the receiver if made for a present fair equivalent value or, if not made for a present fair equivalent value, then to the extent of the present consideration actually paid therefor, for which amount the transferee shall have a lien on the property so transferred. The recording of a copy of the petition for or order of rehabilitation or liquidation with the register of deeds in the county where any real property in question is located is constructive notice of the commencement of a proceeding in rehabilitation or liquidation. The exercise by a court of the United States or any state of jurisdiction to authorize or effect a judicial sale of real property of the insurer within any county in any state shall not be impaired by the pendency of such a proceeding unless the copy is recorded in the county prior to the consummation of the judicial sale.
Effect of petition: personal property.
After a petition for rehabilitation or liquidation and before either the receiver takes possession of the property of the insurer or an order of rehabilitation or liquidation is granted:
A transfer of any of the property of the insurer, other than real property, made to a person acting in good faith shall be valid against the receiver if made for a present fair equivalent value or, if not made for a present fair equivalent value, then to the extent of the present consideration actually paid therefor, for which amount the transferee shall have a lien on the property so transferred.
A person indebted to the insurer or holding property of the insurer may, if acting in good faith, pay the indebtedness or deliver the property or any part thereof to the insurer or upon his or her order, with the same effect as if the petition were not pending.
A person having actual knowledge of the pending rehabilitation or liquidation shall be deemed not to act in good faith unless he or she has reasonable cause to believe that the petition is not well founded.
A person asserting the validity of a transfer under this section shall have the burden of proof. Except as elsewhere provided in this section, no transfer by or in behalf of the insurer after the date of the petition for liquidation by any person other than the liquidator shall be valid against the liquidator.
Nothing in this chapter shall impair the negotiability of currency or negotiable instruments.
History: 1979 c. 102
s. 236 (5)
Voidable preferences and liens. 645.54(1)(a)(a)
A preference is a transfer of any of the property of an insurer to or for the benefit of a creditor, for or on account of an antecedent debt, made or suffered by the insurer within one year before the filing of a successful petition for liquidation under this chapter the effect of which transfer may be to enable the creditor to obtain a greater percentage of his or her debt than another creditor of the same class would receive. If a liquidation order is entered while the insurer is already subject to a rehabilitation order, transfers otherwise qualifying shall be deemed preferences if made or suffered within one year before the filing of the successful petition for rehabilitation or within 2 years before the filing of the successful petition for liquidation, whichever time is shorter.
Any preference may be avoided by the liquidator, if any of the following conditions is met:
The transfer was made within 4 months before the filing of the petition.
The creditor receiving the preference or to be benefited thereby or his or her agent acting with reference thereto had reasonable cause to believe at the time when the transfer was made that the insurer was insolvent or was about to become insolvent.
The creditor receiving the preference was an officer, employee, attorney or other person who was in fact in a position of comparable influence in the insurer to an officer whether or not he or she held such position, or any shareholder holding directly or indirectly more than 5 percent of any class of any equity security issued by the insurer, or any other person with whom the insurer did not deal at arm's length.
If a preference is voidable, the liquidator may recover the property or, if the property has been converted, the liquidator may recover its value from any person who has received or converted the property, except a bona fide purchaser from or lienor of the debtor's transferee for a present fair equivalent value. If the bona fide purchaser or lienor has given less than fair equivalent value, he or she shall have a lien upon the property to the extent of the consideration actually given by him or her. If a preference by way of lien or security title is voidable, the court may on due notice order the lien or title to be preserved for the benefit of the estate, in which event the lien or title shall pass to the liquidator.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, no liquidator may avoid any transfer of, or any obligation to transfer, money or any other property arising under or in connection with any federal home loan bank security agreement, or any pledge, security, collateral, or guarantee agreement, or any other similar arrangement or credit enhancement relating to a federal home loan bank security agreement. However, a transfer may be avoided under this paragraph if it was made with actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud either existing or future creditors.
Any payment to which s. 611.62 (2)
applies is a preference and is voidable under par. (b)
if made within the time period specified in par. (a)
. Payments made by insurers under s. 611.62 (3)
are not preferences.
A transfer of property other than real property is deemed to be made or suffered when it becomes so far perfected that no subsequent lien obtainable by legal or equitable proceedings on a simple contract could become superior to the rights of the transferee.
A transfer of real property is deemed to be made or suffered when it becomes so far perfected that no subsequent bona fide purchaser from the insurer could obtain rights superior to the rights of the transferee.
A transfer which creates an equitable lien is not deemed to be perfected if there are available means by which a legal lien could be created.
Transfers not perfected prior to petition.
A transfer not perfected prior to the filing of a petition for liquidation shall be deemed to be made immediately before the filing of the successful petition.
Actual creditors unnecessary.
This subsection applies whether or not there are or were creditors who might have obtained liens or persons who might have become bona fide purchasers.
Liens by legal or equitable proceedings. 645.54(3)(a)
A lien obtainable by legal or equitable proceedings upon a simple contract is one arising in the ordinary course of a legal or equitable proceeding upon the filing of a decree or entry of a judgment or decree in the judgment and lien docket, or upon attachment, garnishment, execution or like process, whether before, upon or after judgment or decree and whether before or upon levy. It does not include liens which under applicable law are given a special priority over other liens which are prior in time.
When liens are superior.
A lien obtainable by legal or equitable proceedings could become superior to the rights of a transferee, or a purchaser could obtain rights superior to the rights of a transferee within the meaning of sub. (2)
, if such consequences would follow only from the lien or purchase itself, or from the lien or purchase followed by any step wholly within the control of the respective lienholder or purchaser, with or without the aid of ministerial action by public officials. Such a lien could not, however, become superior and such a purchase could not create superior rights for the purpose of sub. (2)
through any acts subsequent to the obtaining of such a lien or subsequent to such a purchase which require the agreement or concurrence of any 3rd party or which require any further judicial action, or ruling.
Twenty-one day rule.
A transfer of property for or on account of a new and contemporaneous consideration which is deemed under sub. (2)
to be made or suffered after the transfer because of delay in perfecting it does not thereby become a transfer for or on account of an antecedent debt if any acts required by the applicable law to be performed in order to perfect the transfer as against liens or bona fide purchasers' rights are performed within 21 days or any period expressly allowed by the law, whichever is less. A transfer to secure a future loan, if such a loan is actually made, or a transfer which becomes security for a future loan shall have the same effect as a transfer for or on account of a new and contemporaneous consideration.
Indemnifying transfers also voidable.
If any lien deemed voidable under sub. (1) (b)
has been dissolved by the furnishing of a bond or other obligation, the surety on which has been indemnified directly or indirectly by the transfer of or the creation of a lien upon any property of an insurer before the filing of a petition under this chapter which results in a liquidation order, the indemnifying transfer or lien shall also be deemed voidable.