R. LEE CHRISTIE is senior counsel in the Chicago office. He is a tax lawyer with a practice focused on the insurance industry, including all aspects of federal and state taxation affecting insurance companies and insurance products. He has advised insurance companies and domestic and foreign banks in financings, restructurings, and acquisitions involving insurance companies, and represents insurance companies in tax controversy matters including both administrative proceedings and litigation in federal and state courts.
He served as Chair of the ABA Tax Section Committee on Insurance Companies during 2002–2004, and has been recognized by The Legal 500 (U.S.) (2008–2013) and Chambers USA (2011–2016) in the field of tax.
Selected examples of Lee’s experience advising on the tax aspects of insurance M&A transactions include representation of:
- Prudential Financial, Inc. in the sale of a US$31 billion portion of its in-force legacy variable annuity block for US$2.2 billion to Fortitude Re, Bermuda’s largest multi-line reinsurer (pending).
- Kuvare Holdings subsidiary Guaranty Income Life Insurance Company in its acquisition of Lincoln Benefit Life Company.
- Altamont Capital Partners in its acquisition of Topa Insurance Group, a specialty P&C insurance carrier and producer.
- Heritage Life Insurance Company in its acquisition of Professional Life & Casualty Company.
- The Hartford in the sale of its life insurance and annuity businesses for $2.05 billion to an investor group that included Global Atlantic, Cornell Capital, TRB Advisors, Pine Brook and J. Safra Group.
- QBE North America in the sale of its lender placed insurance business to National General.
- CUNA Mutual in its sale of Producers Ag Insurance Group to HCC Group.
- The Hartford in the $1.4 billion sale of its Japanese variable annuity business to ORIX Corp.
Lee has also been involved in the following tax litigation matters, as well as many other insurance company tax controversies resolved in administrative proceedings:
- Validus Reinsurance, Ltd. v. United States, (Case No. 1:13-cv-109-ABJ) (challenging the so-called “cascading excise tax” theory announced by the Internal Revenue Service in 2008).
- American Family Mutual Ins. Co. v. United States, 96 AFTR 2d 2005-5144 (W.D. Wis. 2005) (involving unearned premium reserves of mutual property/casualty insurers).
- GE Life & Annuity Assurance Co. v. United States, 127 F. Supp. 2d 794 (E.D. Va. 2000), further proceedings 89 AFTR 2d 2002-1815 (3/25/2002) (involving treatment of a life insurer’s policyholders surplus account under IRC section 338).
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, Inc. v. Commissioner, 115 T.C. 148 (2000), aff’d 328 F.3d 770 (5th Cir. 2003) (involving coordination of benefits and “salvage recoverable” of health insurers).
- Gulf Life Ins. Co. v. United States, 35 Fed. Cl. 12 (1996), aff’d 118 F.3d 1563 (Fed. Cir. 1997) (involving reimbursed policyholder dividends in modco reinsurance).
- USAA Life Insurance Co. v. Commissioner, 91-2 U.S.T.C. ¶ 50,362 (5th Cir. 1991), rev’g 94 T.C. 499 (1990), on remand, 65 T.C.M. 1756 (1993) (involving revaluation of tax reserves for universal life policies).
- Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada v. Ill. Div. of Insurance, 858 N.E.2d 503, 306 Ill.Dec. 706 (Ill.App. 1 Dist. 2006) (involving alien life insurer’s constitutional challenge to state retaliatory tax on alien companies).
- Milwaukee Safeguard v. Selcke, 688 N.E. 2d 268 (Ill. 1997), further proceedings 324 Ill. App. 3d 344 (1st Dist. 2001) (finding a domestic preference premium tax unconstitutional).
- Guardian Life Ins. Co. v. Ill. Dept. of Revenue, (Ill. App. Court, 1st Dist. No. 1-01-4220) (2002) (involving IL income tax on life insurers’ income from municipal bond interest).
- Sentry Insurance v. Illinois Dept. of Revenue (Circuit Court of Cook County, 98L-50264) and St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Ill. Dept. of Revenue, (Circ. Court of Cook County, 98L-50265) (involving IL income tax on P&C insurers’ income from municipal bond interest).
- Annuities, Life Insurance, and Long-Term Care Insurance Products (BNA Tax Management Portfolio No. 546 – published February 2000)
- “Developments in the Taxation and Regulation of Captive Insurance,” 18 Journal of Taxation and Regulation of Financial Institutions 22 (Sep/Oct 2004)
- “Federal Income Tax Consequences of Insurance Company Demutualizations,” 15 Insurance Tax Review 25 (July 1998)
- “Tax Considerations Involved in Establishing a Mutual Holding Company,” 15 Insurance Tax Review 371 (Sep. 1998)
- “Illinois Insurance Taxes: Issues and Opportunities,” 14 State Tax Notes 1123 (April 13, 1998), reprinted at 15 Insurance Tax Review 35 (July 1998)
- “Flat Taxes, Consumption Taxes, and Value-Added Taxes: Overview and Issues For Insurance Companies”, 10 Insurance Tax Review 2213 (Jan. 1996)
- “Tax Drivers of Reinsurance Transactions” – 38th Annual Insurance Tax Conference (Rosemont, IL, November 2013)
- “Ten Tax Issues to Watch in 2013 and Beyond” – 16th Annual Insurance Forum (Chicago, November 2012)
- “Threats to the Conformity Rule” – Reinsurance Association of America (RAA) Current Issues Forum (Philadelphia, May 2011)
- “Life Settlement Investments: Yesterday’s Distress, Tomorrow’s Success” – Life Solutions International (LSI) Webinar (Chicago, February, 2010)
- “IRS Update on Tax Audit and Litigation Issues for Property-Casualty and Health Insurers” – Federal Bar Association Insurance Tax Conference (Washington, May 2009)
- “Reinsurance, Captives and Insurance Contracts” – Life Insurance Council of New York (LICONY) Annual Tax Conference (New York, Nov. 16, 2006)
- “Risk Transfer” – Insurance Tax Conference (ITC) (Chicago, Nov. 2, 2006)
- “Catastrophe Risk Financing” (Moderator) – Federal Bar Association Insurance Tax Conference (Washington, June 2006)
- “Insurance Reserves: Case Study Of An IRS Audit” – Blue Cross Association Annual Tax Conference (Orlando, December 1, 2005)
- “P&C Audits, Appeals & Litigation” – Federal Bar Association Insurance Tax Conference (Washington, June 2, 2005)