A-SHARE VARIABLE ANNUITY
A form of variable annuity contract where the contract holder pays sales charges up front rather than eventually having to pay a surrender charge.
ACCELERATED DEATH BENEFITS
A benefit that can be attached to a life insurance policy that enables the policyholder to receive cash advances against the death benefit in the case of being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Many individuals who choose the accelerated death benefit have less than one year to live and use the money for treatments and other costs needed to stay alive.
ACCIDENT AND HEALTH INSURANCE
Coverage for accidental injury, accidental death, and related health expenses. Benefits will pay for preventative services, medical expenses, and catastrophic care, with limits.
ACTUAL CASH VALUE
A form of insurance that pays damages equal to the replacement value of damaged property minus depreciation.
An insurance professional skilled in analyzing, evaluating, and managing statistical information. Evaluates insurance firms’ reserves, determines rates and rating methods and determines other business and financial risks.
ADDITIONAL LIVING EXPENSES
Extra charges covered by homeowner’s policies over and above the policyholder’s customary living expenses. They kick in when the insured requires temporary shelter due to damage by a covered peril that makes the home temporarily uninhabitable.
An individual employed by a property/casualty insurer to evaluate losses and settle policyholder claims. These adjusters differ from public adjusters, who negotiate with insurers on behalf of policyholders and receive a portion of a claims settlement. Independent adjusters are independent contractors who adjust claims for different insurance companies.
Assets recognized and accepted by state insurance laws in determining the solvency of insurers and reinsurers. To make it easier to assess an insurance company’s financial position, state statutory accounting rules do not permit certain assets to be included on the balance sheet. Only assets that can be easily sold in the event of liquidation or borrowed against, and receivables for which payment can be reasonably anticipated, are included in admitted assets.
An insurance company licensed and authorized to do business in a particular state.
The tendency of those exposed to a higher risk to seek more insurance coverage than those at a lower risk. Insurers react either by charging higher premiums or not insuring at all, as in the case of floods. (Flood insurance is provided by the federal government but sold mostly through the private market.) In the case of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, adverse selection concentrates risk instead of spreading it. Insurance works best when risk is shared among large numbers of policyholders.
Companies that market and sell products via independent agents.
Insurance is sold by two types of agents: independent agents, who are self-employed, represent several insurance companies and are paid on commission, and exclusive or captive agents, who represent only one insurance company and are either salaried or work on commission. Insurance companies that use exclusive or captive agents are called direct writers.
ALIEN INSURANCE COMPANY
An insurance company incorporated under the laws of a foreign country, as opposed to a foreign insurance company that does business in states outside its own.
Property insurance that is usually bought in conjunction with fire insurance; it includes wind, water damage, and vandalism coverage
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION / ADR
Alternative to going to court to settle disputes. Methods include arbitration, where disputing parties agree to be bound to the decision of an independent third party, and mediation, where a third party tries to arrange a settlement between the two sides.
Mechanisms used to fund self-insurance. This includes captives, which are insurers owned by one or more non-insurers to provide owners with coverage. Risk-retention groups, formed by members of similar professions or businesses to obtain liability insurance, are also a form of self-insurance.
Summary of an insurer’s or reinsurer’s financial operations for a particular year, including a balance sheet. It is filed with the state insurance department of each jurisdiction in which the company is licensed to conduct business.
The person(s) who receives the income from an annuity contract. Usually, the owner of the contract or his or her spouse.
The conversion of the account balance of a deferred annuity contract to income payments.
A life insurance product that pays periodic income benefits for a specific period of time or over the course of the annuitant’s lifetime. There are two basic types of annuities: deferred and immediate: Deferred annuities allow assets to grow tax deferred over time before being converted to payments to the annuitant. Immediate annuities allow payments to begin within about a year of purchase.
ANNUITY ACCUMULATION PHASE OR PERIOD
The period during which the owner of a deferred annuity makes payments to build up assets.
ANNUITY ADMINISTRATIVE CHARGES
Covers the cost of customer services for owners of variable annuities.
In certain types of annuities, a person who receives annuity contract payments if the annuity owner or annuitant dies while payments are still due.
A written agreement between an insurance company and a customer outlining each party’s obligations in an annuity coverage agreement. This document will include the specific details of the contract, such as the structure of the annuity (variable or fixed), any penalties for early withdrawal, spousal provisions such as a survivor clause and rate of spousal coverage, and more.
ANNUITY CONTRACT OWNER
The person or entity that purchases an annuity and has all rights to the contract. Usually, but not always, the annuitant (the person who receives income from the contract).
ANNUITY DEATH BENEFITS
The guarantee that if an annuity contract owner dies before annuitization (the switchover from the savings to the payment phase), the beneficiary will receive the value of the annuity that is due.
ANNUITY INSURANCE CHARGES
Covers administrative and mortality, and expense risk costs.
ANNUITY INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT FEE
The fee paid for the management of variable annuity invested assets.
The insurance company that issues the annuity.
A legal document providing detailed information about variable annuity contracts. Must be offered to each prospective buyer.
ANNUITY PURCHASE RATE
The cost of an annuity based on such factors as the age and gender of the contract owner
The dividing of a loss proportionately among two or more insurers that cover the same loss.
Procedure in which an insurance company and the insured or a vendor agree to settle a claim dispute by accepting a decision made by a third party.
Property owned, in this case by an insurance company, including stocks, bonds, and real estate. Insurance accounting is concerned with solvency and the ability to pay claims. State insurance laws, therefore, require a conservative valuation of assets, prohibiting insurance companies from listing assets on their balance sheets whose values are uncertain, such as furniture, fixtures, debit balances, and accounts receivable that are more than 90 days past due.
Notice to an insurer that under the terms of a policy, a loss may be covered.
The amount of the loss which the insured is responsible to pay before benefits from the insurance company are payable. You may choose a higher deductible to lower your premium.
A decrease in value due to age, wear and tear, etc.
Health insurance that provides income payments to the insured wage earner when income is interrupted or terminated because of illness, sickness, or accident.
Amendment to the policy used to add or delete coverage. Also referred to as a “rider.”
Certain causes and conditions, listed in the policy, which are not covered.
The date on which the policy ends.
The dollar amount to be paid to the beneficiary when the insured dies. It does not include other amounts that may be paid from insurance purchased with dividends or any policy riders.
FINANCIAL GUARANTEE INSURANCE
A surety bond, insurance policy, or when issued by an insurer, an indemnity contract and any guaranty similar to the foregoing types, under which loss is payable upon proof of occurrence of financial loss to an insured claimant, obligee, or indemnitee.
A specified period immediately following the premium due date during which a payment can be made to continue a policy in force without interruption. This applies only to Life and Health policies. Check your policy to be sure that a grace period is offered and how many days, if any, are allowed.
An option that permits the policyholder to buy additional stated amounts of life insurance at stated times in the future without evidence of insurability.
A policy that will pay specifies sums for medical expenses or treatments. Health policies can offer many options and vary in their approaches to coverage.
A policy provision in which the company agrees not to contest the validity of the contract after it has been in force for a certain period of time, usually two years.
The policyholder – the person(s) protected in case of a loss or claim.
The insurance company.
A policy that will pay a specified sum to beneficiaries upon the death of the insured.
The maximum amount a policy will pay either overall or under a particular coverage.
The written contract of insurance.
The maximum amount a policy will pay, either overall or under a particular coverage.
The amount of money an insurance company charges for insurance coverage.
Policyholder contracts with a lender to pay the insurance premium on his/her behalf. The policyholder agrees to repay the lender for the cost of the premium plus interest and fees.
When the policy is terminated midterm by the insurance company, the earned premium is calculated only for the period coverage was provided. For example, an annual policy with a premium of $1,000 is canceled after 40 days of coverage at the company’s election. The earned premium would be calculated as follows: 40/365 days X $1,000=.110 X $1,000=$110.
An estimate of the cost of insurance based on information supplied to the insurance company by the applicant.
The restoring of a lapsed policy to full force and effect. The reinstatement may be effective after the cancellation date, creating a lapse of coverage. Some companies require evidence of insurability and payment of past due premiums plus interest.
Usually known as an endorsement, a rider is an amendment to the policy used to add or delete coverage.
When the policy is terminated prior to the expiration date at the policyholder’s request. Earned premium charged would be more than the pro-rata earned premium. Generally, the return premium would be approximately 90 percent of the pro-rata return premium. However, the company may also establish its own short-rate schedule.
To terminate or cancel a life insurance policy before the maturity date. In the case of a cash value policy, the policyholder may exercise one of the non-forfeiture options at the time of surrender.
The process of selecting applicants for insurance and classifying them according to their degrees of insurability so that the appropriate premium rates may be charged. The process includes the rejection of unacceptable risks.
A period of time set forth in a policy that must pass before some or all coverages begin.
NOTICE: These glossary definitions provide a brief description of the terms and phrases used within the insurance industry. These definitions are not applicable in all states or for all insurance and financial products. This is not an insurance contract. Other terms, conditions, and exclusions apply. Please read your official policy for full details about coverages. These definitions do not alter or modify the terms of any insurance contract. If there is any conflict between these definitions and the provisions of the applicable insurance policy, the terms of the policy control. Additionally, this informational resource is not intended to fully set out your rights and obligations or the rights and obligations of the insurance company, agent or agency. If you have questions about your insurance, you should contact your insurance agent, the insurance company, or the language of the insurance policy.