Charles “Chaz” Lavelle believes one of the most remarkable things about the captive insurance industry is that supposed competitors can be so supportive of one another, citing help he’s gotten from others in the industry.

Mr. Lavelle, though, has done plenty himself to help the captive insurance industry, with his contributions earning him the Captive Insurance Companies Association (CICA) 2020 Distinguished Service Award.

Everyone’s goal is to make things better for everybody in the industry, create a better environment.”

Chaz Lavelle

“Chaz Lavelle generously shares his immense body of knowledge for the betterment of the captive insurance industry,” said CICA President Dan Towle. “His contributions have made the captive industry stronger.”

CICA presents the Distinguished Service Award annually, when appropriate, to a single individual or entity that has made a significant contribution to the captive insurance industry. For Mr. Lavelle, a partner at the Dentons Bingham Greenebaum law firm, those contributions have involved playing a key role in addressing some of the most significant tax issues facing captive insurance companies.

“I’m a tax lawyer,” Mr. Lavelle said. “I always say my elevator speech is, ‘I fight the IRS every day.'”

Over his time counseling taxpayers on the formation, operation, and taxation of captive insurance companies, Mr. Lavelle has been involved in two of the five seminal cases concerning captive insurance taxation: Humana Inc. and Subsidiaries v. Commissioner and Ocean Drilling & Exploration Co. v. United States.

The cases addressed risk shifting and risk distribution for purposes of meeting Internal Revenue Service (IRS) definitions for insurance, the former by establishing the existence of a “brother-sister” relationship between subsidiary companies of the same parent such as a captive and an operating subsidiary, while the latter addressed substantial unrelated business.

Now, much of Mr. Lavelle’s captive insurance tax work involves the IRS’s increased scrutiny of so-called micro-captive small insurance companies.