Glossary of Insurance Terms

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1 Glossary of Insurance Terms Agent - Anyone who solicits insurance, delivers policies and collects premiums on behalf of an insurance company. Application - A formal request for insurance coverage, containing information provided by the applicant that assists the insurance company in determining eligibility for insurance. The application is signed by the applicant and becomes part of the insurance contract if a policy is issued. Assignee - In insurance, the person (corporation, partnership, or other organization) to whom a right or rights under a policy are transferred by means of an assignment. Assignment - In insurance, a legal transfer of ownership of a policy by the policy owner to another party. Beneficiary - In insurance, the person to whom the proceeds of an insurance policy are payable. The various types of beneficiaries are; primary beneficiaries (those first entitled to proceeds), secondary beneficiaries (those entitled to proceeds if no primary beneficiaries are living); and tertiary beneficiaries (those entitled to proceeds if no primary or secondary beneficiaries are living). Benefit - In insurance, the sum of money payable upon the happening of the conditions set out in the insurance policy. For example, the benefit is payable in a life insurance policy upon the death of the insured. Business Continuation Plan - A contingency plan put in place by a business to deal with the unexpected death or disability of an owner or key employee. Buy-Sell Agreement - An agreement between owners of a business stipulating when and how the owner's interest will be sold to a pre-specified party under a pre-determined pricing formula. Cash Value - In insurance, the equity amount or cash accumulation in a permanent life insurance policy. Cash Surrender Value - In insurance, the amount of money redeemable to the owner of a permanent life insurance policy when the policy is surrendered to the company. Collateral - An asset of value that is pledged as security for a loan. Contract (Insurance Contract) - An agreement, enforceable by law, whereby the insurance company binds itself to certain promises or deeds conditioned on the payment of premiums due.

2 Conversion Option - Allows the policy owner, before an original insurance policy expires, to elect to have a new policy issued that will continue the insurance coverage without showing evidence of insurability (i.e. without taking a medical exam). Convertible Term - A term insurance contract that may be converted to a permanent form of insurance without a medical examination. Credit Life Insurance - Usually written as term insurance on a relatively small installment loan that may reflect direct borrowing or a balance due for merchandise purchased. If the borrower dies, the balance due is paid. Credit Report - A summary of an applicant's credit history for insurance, loans, credit, etc., made by an independent organization that has investigated the applicants credit standing. Decedent - An insured who has passed away. Disability - Physical or mental impairment making a person incapable of performing one or more duties of his or her occupation. Dividend - Policy owner s share in the divisible surplus of a company issuing insurance on a participating basis. Durable Power of Attorney - A power of attorney that continues to remain in effect after you become disabled, or that comes into existence when you become disabled. Estate - The value of all of one's assets at their death. Estate Settlement Costs - Probate costs and estate taxes. Evidence of Insurability - Any statement or proof of a person's physical condition, occupation, etc., affecting acceptance of the applicant for insurance. Face Amount - In insurance, the amount of benefit an insurance policy will pay in the absence of loans against the policy. Also known as the principal sum, or benefit amount. Fair Credit Reporting Act - Federal law requiring an individual to be informed if he or she is being investigated by an inspection company. Flexible Death Benefit - A flexible death benefit may be changed by altering the amount you choose to pay in premiums on a universal or universal variable life insurance policy. Flexible Premium - In insurance, a flexible premium allows the policy owner to vary how much they pay in premiums. If a policyholder pays less than the required premium, they may be required to pay higher premiums in the future to maintain coverage.

3 Free-Look - In insurance, a provision required in most states whereby policy owners have a specific number of days to examine their new policies at no obligation. Typical free-look periods are from 10 to 60 days depending on the product sold. Fully Underwritten Insurance - Insurance coverage that requires a full underwriting process. Underwriting determines the premium you must pay for a given amount of insurance coverage. A full underwriting process generally requires a medical examination. Group Insurance - Insurance that provides coverage for a group of persons, usually employees of a company, under one master contract. Guaranteed Issue - Insurance that may be purchased without evidence of insurability. Incidents of Ownership - In insurance, if a person retains the right to designate a beneficiary, transfer ownership of an insurance policy (assign), choose how dividends or policy proceeds will be paid out, borrow money from the accumulated cash value of the policy, or perform any other functions that are rights of ownership, then that person has incidents of ownership in the policy. Indebtedness - If you owe money to another party (person, business or other entity), you are said to be "indebted" to that party. Insurable Interest - Requirement that, to be eligible to be named as a beneficiary on an insurance policy, a person must be in a position to sustain economic loss upon the death of the insured sufficient to warrant compensation. Insured - The insured is the individual whose life is insured by the insurance policy. The insured may or may not be the applicant/policy owner. Insurer - Party that provides insurance coverage, typically through a contract of insurance. Investment Risk - Uncertainty about the return you will earn on an investment. When you buy a stock, the price of the stock may fluctuate. The return on a stock is not guaranteed, so investing in stock has investment risk. In contrast, when you put money into a bank account, you earn a predetermined rate of interest on all funds deposited; there is no risk. Irrevocable Beneficiary - Beneficiary whose interests cannot be revoked without his or her written consent, usually because the policy owner has made the beneficiary designation without retaining the right to revoke or change it. Key-Employee Insurance - Protection of a business against financial loss caused by the death or disablement of a vital member of the company, usually individuals possessing special managerial or technical skill or expertise. Also known as "Executive Insurance". Lapse - Termination of a policy upon the policy owner s failure to pay the premium within a specified period of time.

4 Level Death Benefit - The death benefit is fixed at the time the policy is purchased and cannot be changed during the term of the contract. If the policy owner is unable to pay the full premium amount for an extended period of time, the policy will lapse. The policy cannot be kept in force with a reduced amount of coverage if premium payments are not made, as it can with a universal life policy that has a flexible death benefit. Level Premium - The premium is fixed at the time the policy is purchased and cannot be changed during the term of the contract. Life Insurance - Insurance against loss due to the death of a particular person (the insured) upon whose death the insurance company agrees to pay a stated sum or income to the beneficiary. Medicaid - Provides medical care for the needy under joint federal-state participation. (Kerr- Mills Act) Medicare - A federally sponsored program of health insurance and medical care of persons 65 years of age and over. Administered under provisions of the Social Security Act. Medical Report - A document completed by a physician or another approved examiner and submitted to an insurer to supply medical evidence of insurability or in relation to a claim. Needs Analysis - A method for determining how much insurance protection a person or business should have. Non-Forfeiture Options - Privileges allowed under terms of a life insurance contract after cash values have been created. Non-Forfeiture Value - That value, usually cash value, in a life insurance policy that the policy owner does not forfeit (lose), even if he/she terminates the policy. Partial Disability - A partial disability characterized by loss of the ability to perform one or more critical tasks (usually related to performing one's job duties), but retaining the ability to perform most other tasks. In order to receive benefits for a partial disability under a disability income contract, you must meet the definition of partial disability as it is set forth in your contract. Participating Policy - Policy in which the policy owner receives shares (commonly called dividends) of the divisible surplus of the company. At the beginning of each year, the insurance company does not know how many claims they will get that year. The insurance company must collect enough in premiums to cover claims, even in very bad years. Sometimes the amount of money collected exceeds what is required to cover expenses and pay claims, this is the divisible surplus. Partnership - A business entity that allows two or more people to strengthen their effectiveness by working together as co-owners.

5 Permanent Life Insurance - Insurance that does not expire after a pre-specified term. Usually the duration of a permanent insurance policy is the insured's "whole life"; until death, or age 121, whichever comes first. (Permanent insurance includes: whole life, universal life, and variable life) Policy Loan - In life insurance, a loan made by the life insurance company to the policy owner, with the policy's cash value assigned as security. Probate - The legal and administrative fees required to settle an estate upon the death of the estate owner. Renewal Option - An option that allows the policyholder to renew a term policy before its termination date without having to provide evidence of insurability. Replacement - Act of replacing one life insurance policy with another. Reserve - Fund held by the company to help fulfill future claims. Rider (Policy Rider) - A rider adds something to the policy. The term is loosely used to refer to any supplemental agreement attached to and made a part of the policy, whether the conditions of the policy are expanded, additional coverage is added or a coverage of condition is waived. Risk - Uncertainty regarding the outcome of an event; or, the probability of incurring loss. Risk Management - Taking actions to reduce or eliminate the potential for loss. Separate Investment Account - Funds kept in a separate account, which are not permitted to be commingled with company funds or used to pay company expenses. The funds in a separate investment account are invested on the policy owner s behalf. Simplified Issue Insurance - Insurance that does not require a full underwriting process. An insurance company can, in some cases, determine your insurability and premium using less information than is normally required. For example, simplified issue insurance usually does not require a medical exam. The time it takes to underwrite a simplified issue policy is greatly reduced. Single-Premium Whole Life Insurance - Whole life insurance for which the entire premium is paid in one sum at the beginning of the contract period. Social Security - Programs first created by Congress in 1935 and now composed of Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI), Medicare, Medicaid and various grants-in-aid, which provide some level of economic security to nearly all employed people. Standard Risk - Person who, according to a company's underwriting standards, is entitled to insurance protection without extra rating or special restrictions.

6 Substandard Risk - Person who is considered an above-average insurance risk because of physical condition, family or personal history of disease, hazardous occupation, residence in an unhealthy climate or dangerous habits. Also known as "Impaired Risk". Term Insurance - Protection for a limited number of years; expiring without value if the insured survives the stated term. Term of Policy - Period for which the policy is in force. With life insurance, this period is to the end of the specified term for term life insurance, to the maturity date for endowment policies and to the insured's death (or by age 100, whichever comes first) for permanent life insurance. Total Disability - Disability preventing insured from performing any duty of their usual occupations or any occupation for remuneration; actual definition depends on the policy wording. Transfer of Risk - An insurance contract is designed to transfer risk. Individuals face the risk of monetary losses resulting from a death, disability or illness. An individual can ensure that they will not have to bear the complete monetary loss due to these factors by purchasing an insurance policy, which transfers the risk of loss to the insurance company. If a death, disability or illness occurs, the insurance company will pay proceeds that will compensate for the loss. Trust - Arrangement in which property is held by a person or corporation (trustee) for the benefit of others (beneficiaries). The grantor (person transferring the property to the trustee) gives legal title to the trustee, subject to terms set forth in a trust agreement. Beneficiaries have equitable title to the trust property. Underwriting - Process of assigning people to different risk classes. Insurance companies use underwriting to determine whether, and on what basis, an insurance policy will be issued. Universal Life Insurance - Two-part contract containing permanently renewable term insurance and a cash value account, which generally earns interest at a higher rate than a traditional policy. Universal life policies have adjustable premiums and an adjustable death benefit. Excess premiums, after the company deducts its fee and a monthly cost for the term coverage, are deposited in the cash value account where they earn a valuable rate of interest. Variable Life Insurance - A insurance policy that combines permanent insurance protection and an investment account. Accumulated cash values are held in a separate account where they may be invested in different portfolios of stocks, bonds, or commercial paper. The value of the policy depends on the fluctuating market value of invested funds.. Whole Life Insurance - Life insurance protection that extends from policy issue to the death of the insured, or by age 121, whichever comes first. A whole life policy has fixed premium payments, a fixed death benefit and cash value accumulation. The content of this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer any tax, legal or financial advice. Please consult with the professionals of your choice to discuss your situation.

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