Insurance Glossary L-Z
L-SHARE VARIABLE ANNUITIES
A form of variable annuity contract usually with short surrender periods and higher mortality and expense risk charges.
A technique that consists of staggering the maturity dates and the mix of different types of bonds.
LAW OF LARGE NUMBERS
The theory of probability on which the business of insurance is based. Simply put, this mathematical premise says that the larger the group of units insured, such as sport-utility vehicles, the more accurate the predictions of loss will be.
Insurance for what the policyholder is legally obligated to pay because of bodily injury or property damage caused to another person
Maximum amount of insurance that can be paid for a covered loss.
Type or kind of insurance, such as personal lines.
Enables the state insurance department as liquidator or its appointed deputy to wind up the insurance company’s affairs by selling its assets and settling claims upon those assets. After receiving the liquidation order, the liquidator notifies insurance departments in other states and state guaranty funds of the liquidation proceedings. Such insurance company liquidations are not subject to the Federal Bankruptcy Code but to each state’s liquidation statutes.
The ability and speed with which a security can be converted into cash.
Coverage for bodily injury or property damage caused by an intoxicated person who was served liquor by the policyholder.
LLOYD'S OF LONDON
A marketplace where underwriting syndicates, or mini-insurers, gather to sell insurance policies and reinsurance. Each syndicate is managed by an underwriter who decides whether or not to accept the risk. The Lloyd’s market is a major player in the international reinsurance market as well as a primary market for marine insurance and large risks. Originally, Lloyd’s was a London coffee house in the 1600s patronized by shipowners who insured each other’s hulls and cargoes. As Lloyd’s developed, wealthy individuals, called “Names,” placed their personal assets behind insurance risks as a business venture. Increasingly since the 1990s, most of the capital comes from corporations.
Corporation formed to market services of a group of underwriters. May issue insurance policies or provide insurance protection. Insurance is written by individual underwriters, with each assuming a part of every risk. Has no connection to Lloyd’s of London, and is found primarily in Texas.
LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE
Long-term care (LTC) insurance pays for services to help individuals who are unable to perform certain activities of daily living without assistance, or require supervision due to a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease. LTC is available as individual insurance or through an employer-sponsored or association plan.
A reduction in the quality or value of a property, or a legal liability.
LOSS ADJUSTMENT EXPENSES
The sum insurers pay for investigating and settling insurance claims, including the cost of defending a lawsuit in court.
The portion of an insurance rate used to cover claims and the costs of adjusting claims. Insurance companies typically determine their rates by estimating their future loss costs and adding a provision for expenses, profit, and contingencies.
LOSS OF USE
A provision in homeowners and renters insurance policies that reimburses policyholders for any extra living expenses due to having to live elsewhere while their home is being restored following a disaster.
Percentage of each premium dollar an insurer spends on claims.
The company’s best estimate of what it will pay for claims, which is periodically readjusted. They represent a liability on the insurer’s balance sheet.
Professional liability coverage for physicians, lawyers, and other specialists against suits alleging negligence or errors and omissions that have harmed clients.
Arrangement between an employer or insurer and selected providers to provide comprehensive health care at a discount to members of the insured group and coordinate the financing and delivery of health care. Managed care uses medical protocols and procedures agreed on by the medical profession to be cost effective, also known as medical practice guidelines.
A book published by an insurance or bonding company or a rating association or bureau that gives rates, classifications, and underwriting rules.
Coverage for goods in transit, and for the commercial vehicles that transport them, on water and over land. The term may apply to inland marine but more generally applies to ocean marine insurance. Covers damage or destruction of a ship’s hull and cargo and perils include collision, sinking, capsizing, being stranded, fire, piracy, and jettisoning cargo to save other property. Wear and tear, dampness, mold, and war are not included. (See Inland marine and Ocean marine)
Federal law signed in 1945 in which Congress declared that states would continue to regulate the insurance business. Grants insurers a limited exemption from federal antitrust legislation.
Nonbinding procedure in which a third party attempts to resolve a conflict between two other parties.
A federal/state public assistance program created in 1965 and administered by the states for people whose income and resources are insufficient to pay for health care.
MEDICAL PAYMENTS INSURANCE
A coverage in which the insurer agrees to reimburse the insured and others up to a certain limit for medical or funeral expenses as a result of bodily injury or death by accident. Payments are without regard to fault.
MEDICAL UTILIZATION REVIEW
The practice used by insurance companies to review claims for medical treatment.
Federal program for people 65 or older that pays part of the costs associated with hospitalization, surgery, doctors’ bills, home health care, and skilled-nursing care.
Policies that supplement federal insurance benefits particularly for those covered under Medicare.
MINE SUBSIDENCE COVERAGE
An endorsement to a homeowners insurance policy, available in some states, for losses to a home caused by the land under a house sinking into a mine shaft. Excluded from standard homeowners policies, as are other forms of earth movement.
Total supply of money in the economy, composed of currency in circulation and deposits in savings and checking accounts. By changing the interest rates the Federal Reserve seeks to adjust the money supply to maintain a strong economy.
MORTALITY AND EXPENSE (M&E) RISK CHARGE
A fee that covers such annuity contract guarantees as death benefits.
MORTGAGE GUARANTEE INSURANCE
Coverage for the mortgagee (usually a financial institution) in the event that a mortgage holder defaults on a loan. Also called private mortgage insurance (PMI).
A form of decreasing term insurance that covers the life of a person taking out a mortgage. Death benefits provide for payment of the outstanding balance of the loan. Coverage is in decreasing term insurance, so the amount of coverage decreases as the debt decreases. A variant, mortgage unemployment insurance pays the mortgage of a policyholder who becomes involuntarily unemployed.
Investment grade securities backed by a pool of mortgages. The issuer uses the cash flow from mortgages to meet interest payments on the bonds.
MULTIPLE PERIL POLICY
A package policy, such as a homeowners or business insurance policy, that provides coverage against several different perils. It also refers to the combination of property and liability coverage in one policy. In the early days of insurance, coverages for property damage and liability were purchased separately.
MUNICIPAL BOND INSURANCE
Coverage that guarantees bondholders timely payment of interest and principal even if the issuer of the bonds defaults. Offered by insurance companies with high credit ratings, the coverage raises the credit rating of a municipality offering the bond to that of the insurance company. It allows a municipality to raise money at lower interest rates. A form of financial guarantee insurance
MUNICIPAL LIABILITY INSURANCE
Liability insurance for municipalities.
MUTUAL HOLDING COMPANY
An organizational structure that provides mutual companies with the organizational and capital raising advantages of stock insurers, while retaining the policyholder ownership of the mutual.
MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY
A company owned by its policyholders that returns part of its profits to the policyholders as dividends. The insurer uses the rest as a surplus cushion in case of large and unexpected losses.
Peril specifically mentioned as covered in an insurance policy.
NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM
Federal government-sponsored program under which flood insurance is sold to homeowners and businesses.
Auto insurance coverage that pays for each driver’s own injuries, regardless of who caused the accident. No-fault varies from state to state. It also refers to an auto liability insurance system that restricts lawsuits to serious cases. Such policies are designed to promote faster reimbursement and to reduce litigation. This coverage is not available in all states, check with us to find out more.
A type of accident coverage in homeowners policies.
The idea that people who don’t buy coverage should not receive benefits. Prohibits uninsured drivers from collecting damages from insured drivers. In most states with this law, uninsured drivers may not sue for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. In other states, uninsured drivers are required to pay the equivalent of a large deductible ($10,000) before they can sue for property damages and another large deductible before they can sue for bodily harm.
Assets that are not included on the balance sheet of an insurance company, including furniture, fixtures, past-due accounts receivable, and agents’ debt balances
Insurers licensed in some states, but not others. States where an insurer is not licensed call that insurer non-admitted. They sell coverage that is unavailable from licensed insurers within the state.
NOTICE OF LOSS
A written notice required by insurance companies immediately after an accident or other loss. Part of the standard provisions defining a policyholder's responsibilities after a loss.
Covers operators of nuclear reactors and other facilities for liability and property damage in the case of a nuclear accident and involves both private insurers and the federal government.
NURSING HOME INSURANCE
A form of long-term care policy that covers a policyholder’s stay in a nursing facility.
Abnormal condition or illness caused by factors associated with the workplace. Like occupational injuries, this is covered by workers compensation policies.
Insurance that pays claims arising out of incidents that occur during the policy term, even if they are filed many years later.
OCEAN MARINE INSURANCE
Coverage of all types of vessels and watercraft, for property damage to the vessel and cargo, including such risks as piracy and the jettisoning of cargo to save the property of others. Coverage for marine-related liabilities. War is excluded from basic policies, but can be bought back.
OPEN COMPETITION STATES
States where insurance companies can set new rates without prior approval, although the state’s commissioner can disallow them if they are not reasonable and adequate or are discriminatory.
The cost of maintaining a business’s property, includes insurance, property taxes, utilities and rent, but excludes income tax, depreciation and other financing expenses.
Contracts that allow, but do not oblige, the buying or selling of property or assets at a certain date at a set price.
ORDINANCE OR LAW COVERAGE
Endorsement to a property policy, including homeowners, that pays for the extra expense of rebuilding to comply with ordinances or laws, often building codes, that did not exist when the building was originally built. For example, a building severely damaged in a hurricane may have to be elevated above the flood line when it is rebuilt. This endorsement would cover part of the additional cost.
ORDINARY LIFE INSURANCE
A life insurance policy that remains in force for the policyholder’s lifetime.
ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER PARTS / OEM
Sheet metal auto parts made by the manufacturer of the vehicle.
Security that is not listed or traded on an exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange. Business in over-the-counter securities is conducted through dealers using electronic networks.
A single insurance policy that combines several coverages previously sold separately. Examples include homeowners insurance and commercial multiple peril insurance.
A system proposed in the 1990s in which auto insurance premiums would be paid to state governments through a per-gallon surcharge on gasoline.
PENSION BENEFIT GUARANTY CORPORATION
An independent federal government agency that administers the Pension Plan Termination Insurance program to ensure that vested benefits of employees whose pension plans are being terminated are paid when they come due. Only defined benefit plans are covered. Benefits are paid up to certain limits
Programs to provide employees with retirement income after they meet minimum age and service requirements. Life insurers hold some of these funds. Since the 1970s responsibility for funding retirement has increasingly shifted from employers (defined benefit plans that promise workers a specific retirement income) to employees (defined contribution plans financed by employees that may or may not be matched by employer contributions).
A specific risk or cause of loss covered by an insurance policy, such as a fire, windstorm, flood, or theft. A named-peril policy covers the policyholder only for the risks named in the policy in contrast to an all-risk policy, which covers all causes of loss except those specifically excluded.
PERSONAL ARTICLES FLOATER
A policy or an addition to a policy used to cover personal valuables, like jewelry or furs.
PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION COVERAGE / PIP
Portion of an auto insurance policy that covers the treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s car.
Property/casualty insurance products that are designed for and bought by individuals, including homeowners and automobile policies.
Health insurance policy that allows the employee to choose between in-network and out-of-network care each time medical treatment is needed.
A written contract for insurance between an insurance company and policyholder stating details of coverage.
The amount of money remaining after an insurer’s liabilities are subtracted from its assets. It acts as a financial cushion above and beyond reserves, protecting policyholders against an unexpected or catastrophic situation.
POLITICAL RISK INSURANCE
Coverage for businesses operating abroad against loss due to political upheaval such as war, revolution, or confiscation of property.
Policies that cover property loss and liability arising from pollution-related damages, for sites that have been inspected and found uncontaminated. It is usually written on a claims-made basis so policies pay only claims presented during the term of the policy or within a specified time frame after the policy expires.
PREFERRED PROVIDER ORGANIZATION
Network of medical providers which charge on a fee-for-service basis, but are paid on a negotiated, discounted fee schedule.
The particular location of the property or a portion of it as designated in an insurance policy.
The price of an insurance policy, typically charged annually or semiannually
A state tax on premiums paid by its residents and businesses and collected by insurers.
PREMIUMS IN FORCE
The sum of the face amounts, plus dividend additions, of life insurance policies outstanding at a given time.
The total premiums on all policies written by an insurer during a specified period of time, regardless of what portions have been earned. Net premiums written are premiums written after reinsurance transactions.
In a reinsurance transaction, the insurance company that is reinsured.
Market for new issue securities where the proceeds go directly to the issuer.
Interest rate that banks charge to their most creditworthy customers. Banks set this rate according to their cost of funds and market forces.
PRIOR APPROVAL STATES
States where insurance companies must file proposed rate changes with state regulators, and gain approval before they can go into effect.
Securities that are not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and are sold directly to investors
A section of tort law that determines who may sue and who may be sued for damages when a defective product injures someone. No uniform federal laws guide manufacturer’s liability, but under strict liability, the injured party can hold the manufacturer responsible for damages without the need to prove negligence or fault.
PRODUCT LIABILITY INSURANCE
Protects manufacturers’ and distributors’ exposure to lawsuits by people who have sustained bodily injury or property damage through the use of the product.
PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE
Covers professionals for negligence and errors or omissions that injure their clients.
PROOF OF LOSS
Documents showing the insurance company that a loss occurred.
Covers damage to or loss of policyholders’ property and legal liability for damages caused to other people or their property. Property/casualty insurance, which includes auto, homeowners and commercial insurance, is one segment of the insurance industry. The other sector is life/health. Outside the United States, property/casualty insurance is referred to as nonlife or general insurance.
PROPERTY/CASUALTY INSURANCE CYCLE
Industry business cycle with recurrent periods of hard and soft market conditions. In the 1950s and 1960s, cycles were regular with three year periods each of hard and soft market conditions in almost all lines of property/casualty insurance. Since then they have been less regular and less frequent.
A November 1988 California ballot initiative that called for a statewide auto insurance rate rollback and for rates to be based more on driving records and less on geographical location. The initiative changed many aspects of the state’s insurance system and was the subject of lawsuits for more than a decade.
An entity that offers insurance to groups of similar businesses with similar exposures to risk.
PURE LIFE ANNUITY
A form of annuity that ends payments when the annuitant dies. Payments may be fixed or variable.
A form of annuity purchased with pretax dollars as part of a retirement plan that benefits from special tax treatment, such as a 401(k) plan.
The cost of a unit of insurance, usually per $1,000. Rates are based on historical loss experience for similar risks and may be regulated by state insurance offices.
The process by which states monitor insurance companies’ rate changes, done either through prior approval or open competition models.
Six major credit agencies determine insurers’ financial strength and viability to meet claims obligations. They are A.M. Best Co.; Duff & Phelps Inc.; Fitch, Inc.; Moody’s Investors Services; Standard & Poor’s Corp.; and Weiss Ratings, Inc. Factors considered include company earnings, capital adequacy, operating leverage, liquidity, investment performance, reinsurance programs, and management ability, integrity and experience. A high financial rating is not the same as a high consumer satisfaction rating
The insurance business is based on the spread of risk. The more widely risk is spread, the more accurately loss can be estimated. An insurance company can more accurately estimate the probability of loss on 100,000 homes than on ten. Years ago, insurers were required to use standardized forms and rates developed by rating agencies. Today, large insurers use their own statistical loss data to develop rates. But small insurers, or insurers focusing on special lines of business, with insufficiently broad loss data to make them actuarially reliable depend on pooled industry data collected by such organizations as the Insurance Services Office (ISO) which provides information to help develop rates such as estimates of future losses and loss adjustment expenses like legal defense costs.
REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS
Investments generally owned by life insurers that include commercial mortgage loans and real property
Amounts owed to a business for goods or services provided.
Literally means to draw a red line on a map around areas to receive special treatment. Refusal to issue insurance based solely on where applicants live is illegal in all states. Denial of insurance must be risk-based.
Insurance bought by insurers. A reinsurer assumes part of the risk and part of the premium originally taken by the insurer, known as the primary company. Reinsurance effectively increases an insurer's capital and therefore its capacity to sell more coverage. The business is global and some of the largest reinsurers are based abroad. Reinsurers have their own reinsurers, called retrocessionaires. Reinsurers don’t pay policyholder claims. Instead, they reimburse insurers for claims paid.
A form of insurance that covers a policyholder’s belongings against perils such as fire, theft, windstorm, hail, explosion, vandalism, riots, and others. It also provides personal liability coverage for damage the policyholder or dependents cause to third parties. It also provides additional living expenses, known as loss-of-use coverage, if a policyholder must move while his or her dwelling is repaired. It also can include coverage for property improvements. Possessions can be covered for their replacement cost or the actual cash value that includes depreciation.
Insurance that pays the dollar amount needed to replace damaged personal property or dwelling property without deducting for depreciation but limited by the maximum dollar amount shown on the declarations page of the policy.
REPURCHASE AGREEMENT /'REPO'
Agreement between a buyer and seller where the seller agrees to repurchase the securities at an agreed upon time and price. Repurchase agreements involving U.S. government securities are utilized by the Federal Reserve to control the money supply.
A company’s best estimate of what it will pay for claims.
Facilities, such as assigned risk plans and FAIR Plans, that exist to provide coverage for those who cannot get it in the regular market. Insurers doing business in a given state generally must participate in these pools. For this reason the residual market is also known as the shared market.
The amount of risk retained by an insurance company that is not reinsured.
The reinsurance bought by reinsurers to protect their financial stability.
A method of permitting the final premium for a risk to be adjusted, subject to an agreed-upon maximum and minimum limit based on actual loss experience. It is available to large commercial insurance buyers.
RETURN ON EQUITY
Net income divided by total equity. Measures profitability by showing how efficiently invested capital is being used.
An attachment to an insurance policy that alters the policy’s coverage or terms.
The chance of loss or the person or entity that is insured.
Management of the varied risks to which a business firm or association might be subject. It includes analyzing all exposures to gauge the likelihood of loss and choosing options to better manage or minimize loss. These options typically include reducing and eliminating the risk with safety measures, buying insurance, and self-insurance.
RISK RETENTION GROUPS
Insurance companies that band together as self-insurers and form an organization that is chartered and licensed as an insurer in at least one state to handle liability insurance.
The need for insurance companies to be capitalized according to the inherent riskiness of the type of insurance they sell. Higher-risk types of insurance, liability as opposed to property business, generally necessitate higher levels of capital.
Damaged property an insurer takes over to reduce its loss after paying a claim. Insurers receive salvage rights over property on which they have paid claims, such as badly-damaged cars. Insurers that paid claims on cargoes lost at sea now have the right to recover sunken treasures. Salvage charges are the costs associated with recovering that property.
A list of individual items or groups of items that are covered under one policy or a listing of specific benefits, charges, credits, assets or other defined items.
Market for previously issued and outstanding securities.
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION / SEC
The organization that oversees publicly-held insurance companies. Those companies make periodic financial disclosures to the SEC, including an annual financial statement (or 10K), and a quarterly financial statement (or 10-Q). Companies must also disclose any material events and other information about their stock.
Stock held by shareholders.
SECURITIZATION OF INSURANCE RISK
Using the capital markets to expand and diversify the assumption of insurance risk. The issuance of bonds or notes to third-party investors directly or indirectly by an insurance or reinsurance company or a pooling entity as a means of raising money to cover risks.
The concept of assuming a financial risk oneself, instead of paying an insurance company to take it on. Every policyholder is a self-insurer in terms of paying a deductible and co-payments. Large firms often self-insure frequent, small losses such as damage to their fleet of vehicles or minor workplace injuries. However, to protect injured employees state laws set out requirements for the assumption of workers compensation programs. Self-insurance also refers to employers who assume all or part of the responsibility for paying the health insurance claims of their employees. Firms that self insure for health claims are exempt from state insurance laws mandating the illnesses that group health insurers must cover.
Size of a loss. One of the criteria used in calculating premiums rates.
SEWER BACK-UP COVERAGE
An optional part of homeowners insurance that covers sewers.
SINGLE PREMIUM ANNUITY
An annuity that is paid in full upon purchase.
An environment where insurance is plentiful and sold at a lower cost, also known as a buyers’ market.
Insurance companies’ ability to pay the claims of policyholders. Regulations to promote solvency include minimum capital and surplus requirements, statutory accounting conventions, limits to insurance company investment and corporate activities, financial ratio tests, and financial data disclosure.
SPREAD OF RISK
The selling of insurance in multiple areas to multiple policyholders to minimize the danger that all policyholders will have losses at the same time. Companies are more likely to insure perils that offer a good spread of risk. Flood insurance is an example of a poor spread of risk because the people most likely to buy it are the people close to rivers and other bodies of water that flood.
Practice that increases the money available to pay auto liability claims. In states where this practice is permitted by law, courts may allow policyholders who have several cars insured under a single policy, or multiple vehicles insured under different policies, to add up the limit of liability available for each vehicle.
STATUTORY ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES / SAP
More conservative standards than under GAAP accounting rules, they are imposed by state laws that emphasize the present solvency of insurance companies. SAP helps ensure that the company will have sufficient funds readily available to meet all anticipated insurance obligations by recognizing liabilities earlier or at a higher value than GAAP and assets later or at a lower value. For example, SAP requires that selling expenses be recorded immediately rather than amortized over the life of the policy.
STOCK INSURANCE COMPANY
An insurance company owned by its stockholders who share in profits through earnings distributions and increases in stock value.
Legal agreement to pay a designated person, usually someone who has been injured, a specified sum of money in periodic payments, usually for his or her lifetime, instead of in a single lump sum payment
The legal process by which an insurance company, after paying a loss, seeks to recover the amount of the loss from another party who is legally liable for it.
A federal law enacted in 1980 to initiate cleanup of the nation’s abandoned hazardous waste dump sites and to respond to accidents that release hazardous substances into the environment. The law is officially called the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.
A contract guaranteeing the performance of a specific obligation. Simply put, it is a three-party agreement under which one party, the surety company, answers to a second party, the owner, creditor or “obligee,” for a third party’s debts, default or nonperformance. Contractors are often required to purchase surety bonds if they are working on public projects. The surety company becomes responsible for carrying out the work or paying for the loss up to the bond “penalty” if the contractor fails to perform.
The remainder after an insurer’s liabilities are subtracted from its assets. The financial cushion that protects policyholders in case of unexpectedly high claims
Property/casualty insurance coverage that isn’t available from insurers licensed in the state, called admitted companies, and must be purchased from a non-admitted carrier. Examples include risks of an unusual nature that require greater flexibility in policy terms and conditions than exist in standard forms or where the highest rates allowed by state regulators are considered inadequate by admitted companies. Laws governing surplus lines vary by state.
A charge for withdrawals from an insurance based contract before a designated surrender charge period.
The simultaneous buying, selling or exchange of one security for another among investors to change maturities in a bond portfolio, for example, or because investment goals have changed.
TERM CERTAIN ANNUITY
An form of annuity that pays out over a fixed period rather than when the annuitant dies.
A form of life insurance that covers the insured person for a certain period of time, the “term” that is specified in the policy. It pays a benefit to a designated beneficiary only when the insured dies within that specified period which can be one, five, 10 or even 20 years. Term life policies are renewable but premiums increase with age.
A method of classifying risks by geographic location to set a fair price for coverage. The location of the insured may have a considerable impact on the cost of losses. The chance of an accident or theft is much higher in an urban area than in a rural one, for example.
Included as a part of the package in standard commercial insurance policies before September 11, 2001 virtually free of charge. Since September 11, terrorism coverage prices have increased substantially to reflect the current risk.
Outside group that performs clerical functions for an insurance company.
Liability coverage purchased by the policyholder as a protection against possible lawsuits filed by a third party. The insured and the insurer are the first and second parties to the insurance contract.
Funds that are held in a savings account for a predetermined period of time at a set interest rate. Banks can refuse to allow withdrawals from these accounts until the period has expired or assess a penalty for early withdrawals.
Insurance that indemnifies the owner of real estate in the event that his or her clear ownership of property is challenged by the discovery of faults in the title.
A legal term denoting a wrongful act resulting in injury or damage on which a civil court action, or legal proceeding, may be based.
The body of law governing negligence, intentional interference, and other wrongful acts for which civil action can be brought, except for breach of contract, which is covered by contract law.
Refers to legislation designed to reduce liability costs through limits on various kinds of damages and through modification of liability rules.
The condition of an automobile or other property when damage is so extensive that repair costs would exceed the value of the vehicle or property.
A term used to explain the way information on financial matters, such as financial reports and actions of companies or markets, are communicated so that they are easily understood and frank.
Insurance to cover problems associated with traveling, generally including trip cancellation due to illness, lost luggage and other incidents.
Interest-bearing obligations of the U.S. government issued by the Treasury as a means of borrowing money to meet government expenditures not covered by tax revenues. Marketable Treasury securities fall into three categories — bills, notes and bonds. Marketable Treasury obligations are currently issued in book entry form only; that is, the purchaser receives a statement, rather than an engraved certificate.
A standing agreement between insurers and reinsurers. Under a treaty each party automatically accepts specific percentages of the insurer’s business.
Coverage for losses above the limit of an underlying policy or policies such as homeowners and auto insurance. While it applies to losses over the dollar amount in the underlying policies, terms of coverage are sometimes broader than those of underlying policies.
A form of annuity contract that gives purchasers the freedom to choose among certain optional features in their contract.
The result of the policyholder’s failure to buy sufficient insurance. An underinsured policyholder may only receive part of the cost of replacing or repairing damaged items covered in the policy.
Examining, accepting, or rejecting insurance risks and classifying the ones that are accepted, in order to charge appropriate premiums for them.
The insurer’s profit on the insurance sale after all expenses and losses have been paid. When premiums aren’t sufficient to cover claims and expenses, the result is an underwriting loss. Underwriting losses are typically offset by investment income.
The portion of a premium already received by the insurer under which protection has not yet been provided. The entire premium is not earned until the policy period expires, even though premiums are typically paid in advance.
Risks for which it is difficult for someone to get insurance.
UNINSURED MOTORISTS COVERAGE
Portion of an auto insurance policy that protects a policyholder from uninsured and hit-and-run drivers.
A policy under which the insurer pays a specified amount of money to or on behalf of the insured upon the occurrence of a defined loss. The money amount is not related to the extent of the loss. Life insurance policies are an example.
The malicious and often random destruction or spoilage of another person’s property.
An annuity whose contract value or income payments vary according to the performance of the stocks, bonds and other investments selected by the contract owner.
VARIABLE LIFE INSURANCE
A policy that combines protection against premature death with a savings account that can be invested in stocks, bonds, and money market mutual funds at the policyholder’s discretion.
VIATICAL SETTLEMENT COMPANIES
Insurance firms that buy life insurance policies at a steep discount from policyholders who are often terminally ill and need the payment for medications or treatments. The companies provide early payouts to the policyholder, assume the premium payments, and collect the face value of the policy upon the policyholder’s death.
A policy contract that for some reason specified in the policy becomes free of all legal effect. One example under which a policy could be voided is when information a policyholder provided is proven untrue.
A measure of the degree of fluctuation in a stock’s price. Volatility is exemplified by large, frequent price swings up and down.
Most homeowners policies cover damage from a volcanic eruption.
Number of shares a stock trades either per day or per week.
The surrender of a right or privilege. In life insurance, a provision that sets certain conditions, such as disablement, which allow coverage to remain in force without payment of premiums.
Special coverage on cargo in overseas ships against the risk of being confiscated by a government in wartime. It is excluded from standard ocean marine insurance and can be purchased separately. It often excludes cargo awaiting shipment on a wharf or on ships after 15 days of arrival in port.
WATER-DAMAGE INSURANCE COVERAGE
Protection provided in most homeowners insurance policies against sudden and accidental water damage, from burst pipes for example. Does not cover damage from problems resulting from a lack of proper maintenance such as dripping air conditioners. Water damage from floods is covered under separate flood insurance policies issued by the federal government.
An insurance or securities product used as a hedge by energy-related businesses and others whose sales tend to fluctuate depending on the weather.
A type of business interruption insurance that compensates for financial losses caused by adverse weather conditions, such as constant rain on the day scheduled for a major outdoor concert.
Insurance which provides coverage for an individual's whole life, rather than a specified term. The oldest kind of cash value life insurance that combines protection against premature death with a savings account. Premiums are fixed and guaranteed and remain level throughout the policy’s lifetime.
Insurance that pays for medical care and physical rehabilitation of injured workers and helps to replace lost wages while they are unable to work. State laws, which vary significantly, govern the amount of benefits paid and other compensation provisions.
Broad policy coordinated to cover liability exposures for a large group of businesses that have something in common. Might be used to insure all businesses working on a large construction project, such as an apartment complex.
To insure, underwrite, or accept an application for insurance.
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.