INSURANCE

Insurance, in law and economics, is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for a premium, and can be thought of a guaranteed small loss to prevent a large, possibly devastating loss. An insurer is a company selling the insurance. The insurance rate is a factor used to determine the amount, called the premium, to be charged for a certain amount of insurance coverage. Risk management, the practice of appraising and controlling risk, has evolved as a discrete field of study and practice.

Contents
• • • • • 1 2 3 4 5 Principles of insurance Indemnification Insurers' business model History of insurance Types of insurance o5.1 Auto insurance o5.2 Home insurance o5.3 Health o5.4 Disability o5.5 Casualty o5.6 Life o5.7 Property o5.8 Liability o5.9 Credit o5.10 Other types o5.11 Insurance financing vehicles o5.12 Closed community self-insurance 6 Insurance companies

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7 Global insurance industry 8 Controversies o8.1 Insurance insulates too much o8.2 Complexity of insurance policy contracts o8.3 Redlining o8.4 Insurance patents o8.5 The insurance industry and rent seeking o8.6 Criticism of insurance companies • 9 Glossary • 10 See also • 11 Notes • 12 External links FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF INSURANCE Some useful terms in Insurance: INDEMNITY A contract of insurance contained in a fire, marine, burglary or any other policy (excepting life assurance and personal accident and sickness insurance) is a contract of indemnity. This means that the insured, in case of loss against which the policy has been issued, shall be paid the actual amount of loss not exceeding the amount of the policy, i.e. he shall be fully indemnified. The object of every contract of insurance is to place the insured in the same financial position, as nearly as possible, after the loss, as if he loss had not taken place at all. It would be against public policy to allow an insured to make a profit out of his loss or damage.

UTMOST GOOD FAITH Since insurance shifts risk from one party to another, it is essential that there must be utmost good faith and mutual confidence between the insured and the insurer. In a contract of insurance the insured knows more about the subject matter of the contract than the insurer. Consequently, he is duty bound to disclose accurately all material facts and nothing should be withheld or concealed. Any fact is material, which goes to the root of the contract of insurance and has a bearing on the risk involved. It is only when the insurer knows the whole truth that he is in a position to judge (a) whether he should accept the risk and (b) what premium he should charge. If that were so, the insured might be tempted to bring about the event insured against in order to get money. · Insurable Interest - A contract of insurance effected without insurable interest is void. It means that the insured must have an actual pecuniary interest and not a mere anxiety or sentimental interest in the subject matter of the insurance. The insured must be so situated with regard to the thing insured that he would have benefit by its existence and loss from its destruction. The owner of a ship run a risk of losing his ship, the charterer of the ship runs a risk of losing his freight and the owner of the cargo incurs the risk of losing his goods and profit. So, all these persons have something at stake and all of them have insurable interest. It is the existence of insurable interest in a contract of insurance, which distinguishes it from a mere watering agreement. ·

Causa Proxima - The rule of causa proxima means that the cause of
the loss must be proximate or immediate and not remote. If the proximate cause of the loss is a peril insured against, the insured can recover. When a loss has been brought about by two or more causes, the question arises as to which is the causa proxima, although the result could not have happened without the remote cause. But if the loss is brought about by any cause attributable to the misconduct of the insured, the insurer is not liable. · Risk - In a contract of insurance the insurer undertakes to protect the insured from a specified loss and the insurer receive a premium for running the risk of such loss. Thus, risk must attach to a policy. · Mitigation of Loss - In the event of some mishap to the insured property, the insured must take all necessary steps to mitigate or minimize the loss, just as any prudent person would do in those circumstances. If he does not do so, the insurer can avoid the payment of loss attributable to his negligence. But it must be remembered that though the insured is bound to do his best for his insurer, he is, not bound to do so at the risk of his life. · Subrogation - The doctrine of subrogation is a corollary to the principle of indemnity and applies only to fire and marine insurance. According to it, when an insured has received full indemnity in respect of his loss, all rights and remedies which he has against third person will pass on to the insurer and will be exercised for his benefit until he (the insurer) recoups the amount he has paid under the policy. It must be clarified here that the insurer's right of subrogation arises only when he has paid for the loss for which he is liable under the policy and this right extend only to the rights and remedies available to the insured in respect

of the thing to which the contract of insurance relates.
•Offer

& Acceptance - In order to create a valid insurance contract,

there should be a lawful acceptance of the same by the insurer. Term lawful means offer and its acceptance must cofirm to the rules laid down in the Indian cotract act regarding valid offer and acceptance. •Lawful Object - Insurance contract will be invalid if hte object of insurance is illegal or against public policy. So the object of the insurance contract should be legal. It means insurance policy can not be taken against unlawful object. •Contract - Insurance is a form of contract under which one party agrees in return of a consideration to pay an agreed amount of money to another party to make good for a loss, damages, injury to some thing of value in which the insured has a pecuniary intrest as a result of some uncretain event. So it is a contract between the insurer and the insured in which insured akes a valid offer and insuer accepts his offer

Commercially insurable risks typically share seven common characteristics.
1. A large number of homogeneous exposure units. The vast majority of insurance policies are provided for individual members of very large classes. Automobile insurance, for example, covered about 175 million automobiles in the United States in 2004.[2] The existence of a large number of homogeneous exposure units allows insurers to benefit from the so-called “law of large numbers,” which in effect states that as the number of exposure units increases, the actual results are increasingly likely to become close to expected results. There are exceptions to this criterion. Lloyd's of London is famous for insuring the life or health of actors, actresses and sports figures. Satellite Launch insurance covers events that are infrequent. Large commercial property policies may insure exceptional properties for which there are no ‘homogeneous’ exposure units. Despite failing on this criterion,

many exposures like these are generally considered to be insurable. 2. Definite Loss. The event that gives rise to the loss that is subject to insurance should, at least in principle, take place at a known time, in a known place, and from a known cause. The classic example is death of an insured person on a life insurance policy. Fire, automobile accidents, and worker injuries may all easily meet this criterion. Other types of losses may only be definite in theory. Occupational disease, for instance, may involve prolonged exposure to injurious conditions where no specific time, place or cause is identifiable. Ideally, the time, place and cause of a loss should be clear enough that a reasonable person, with sufficient information, could objectively verify all three elements. 3. Accidental Loss. The event that constitutes the trigger of a claim should be fortuitous, or at least outside the control of the beneficiary of the insurance. The loss should be ‘pure,’ in the sense that it results from an event for which there is only the opportunity for cost. Events that contain speculative elements, such as ordinary business risks, are generally not considered insurable. 4. Large Loss. The size of the loss must be meaningful from the perspective of the insured. Insurance premiums need to cover both the expected cost of losses, plus the cost of issuing and administering the policy, adjusting losses, and supplying the capital needed to reasonably assure that the insurer will be able to pay claims. For small losses these latter costs may be several times the size of the expected cost of losses. There is little point in paying such costs unless the protection offered has real value to a buyer.

5. Affordable Premium. If the likelihood of an insured event is so high, or the cost of the event so large, that the resulting premium is large relative to the amount of protection offered, it is not likely that anyone will buy insurance, even if on offer. Further, as the accounting profession formally recognizes in financial accounting standards, the premium cannot be so large that there is not a reasonable chance of a significant loss to the insurer. If there is no such chance of loss, the transaction may have the form of insurance, but not the substance. (See the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board standard number 113) 6. Calculable Loss. There are two elements that must be at least estimable, if not formally calculable: the probability of loss, and the attendant cost. Probability of loss is generally an empirical exercise, while cost has more to do with the ability of a reasonable person in possession of a copy of the insurance policy and a proof of loss associated with a claim presented under that policy to make a reasonably definite and objective evaluation of the amount of the loss recoverable as a result of the claim. 7. Limited risk of catastrophically large losses. The essential risk is often aggregation. If the same event can cause losses to numerous policyholders of the same insurer, the ability of that insurer to issue policies becomes constrained, not by factors surrounding the individual characteristics of a given policyholder, but by the factors surrounding the sum of all policyholders so exposed. Typically, insurers prefer to limit their exposure to a loss from a single event to some small portion of their capital base, on the order of 5 percent. Where the loss can be aggregated, or an individual policy could produce exceptionally large claims, the capital constraint will restrict an insurer's appetite for additional policyholders. The classic example is earthquake insurance, where the ability of an underwriter to issue a new policy depends on the number and size of the policies that it has already underwritten.

Wind insurance in hurricane zones, particularly along coast lines, is another example of this phenomenon. In extreme cases, the aggregation can affect the entire industry, since the combined capital of insurers and reinsurers can be small compared to the needs of potential policyholders in areas exposed to aggregation risk. In commercial fire insurance it is possible to find single properties whose total exposed value is well in excess of any individual insurer’s capital constraint. Such properties are generally shared among several insurers, or are insured by a single insurer who syndicates the risk into the reinsurance market.

Indemnification
The technical definition of "indemnity" means to make whole again. There are two types of insurance contracts; 1) an "indemnity" policy and 2) a "pay on behalf" or "on behalf of" policy. The difference is significant on paper, but rarely material in practice. An "indemnity" policy will never pay claims until the insured has paid out of pocket to some third party; for example, a visitor to your home slips on a floor that you left wet and sues you for $10,000 and wins. Under an "indemnity" policy the homeowner would have to come up with the $10,000 to pay for the visitor's fall and then would be "indemnified" by the insurance carrier for the out of pocket costs (the $10,000). Under the same situation, a "pay on behalf" policy, the insurance carrier would pay the claim and the insured (the homeowner) would not be out of pocket for anything. Most modern liability insurance is written on the basis of "pay on behalf" language. An entity seeking to transfer risk (an individual, corporation, or association of any type, etc.) becomes the 'insured' party once risk is assumed by an 'insurer', the insuring party, by means of a contract, called an insurance 'policy'. Generally, an insurance contract includes, at a minimum, the following elements: the parties (the insurer, the insured, the beneficiaries), the premium, the period of coverage, the particular loss event covered, the amount of coverage (i.e., the amount to be paid to the insured or beneficiary in the event of a loss), and exclusions (events not covered). An insured is thus said to be "indemnified" against the loss events covered in the policy. When insured parties experience a loss for a specified peril, the

coverage entitles the policyholder to make a 'claim' against the insurer for the covered amount of loss as specified by the policy. The fee paid by the insured to the insurer for assuming the risk is called the 'premium'. Insurance premiums from many insureds are used to fund accounts reserved for later payment of claims—in theory for a relatively few claimants—and for overhead costs. So long as an insurer maintains adequate funds set aside for anticipated losses (i.e., reserves), the remaining margin is an insurer's profit.

Insurers' business model
Profit = earned premium + investment income - incurred loss underwriting expenses. Insurers make money in two ways: (1) through underwriting, the process by which insurers select the risks to insure and decide how much in premiums to charge for accepting those risks and (2) by investing the premiums they collect from insured parties. The most complicated aspect of the insurance business is the underwriting of policies. Using a wide assortment of data, insurers predict the likelihood that a claim will be made against their policies and price products accordingly. To this end, insurers use actuarial science to quantify the risks they are willing to assume and the premium they will charge to assume them. Data is analyzed to fairly accurately project the rate of future claims based on a given risk. Actuarial science uses statistics and probability to analyze the risks associated with the range of perils covered, and these scientific principles are used to determine an insurer's overall exposure. Upon termination of a given policy, the amount of premium collected and the investment gains thereon minus the amount paid out in claims is the insurer's underwriting profit on that policy. Of course, from the insurer's perspective, some policies are winners (i.e., the insurer pays out less in claims and expenses than it receives in premiums and investment income) and some are losers (i.e., the insurer pays

out more in claims and expenses than it receives in premiums and investment income). An insurer's underwriting performance is measured in its combined ratio. The loss ratio (incurred losses and loss-adjustment expenses divided by net earned premium) is added to the expense ratio (underwriting expenses divided by net premium written) to determine the company's combined ratio. The combined ratio is a reflection of the company's overall underwriting profitability. A combined ratio of less than 100 percent indicates underwriting profitability, while anything over 100 indicates an underwriting loss. Insurance companies also earn investment profits on “float”. “Float” or available reserve is the amount of money, at hand at any given moment, that an insurer has collected in insurance premiums but has not been paid out in claims. Insurers start investing insurance premiums as soon as they are collected and continue to earn interest on them until claims are paid out. In the United States, the underwriting loss of property and casualty insurance companies was $142.3 billion in the five years ending 2003. But overall profit for the same period was $68.4 billion, as the result of float. Some insurance industry insiders, most notably Hank Greenberg, do not believe that it is forever possible to sustain a profit from float without an underwriting profit as well, but this opinion is not universally held. Naturally, the “float” method is difficult to carry out in an economically depressed period. Bear markets do cause insurers to shift away from investments and to toughen up their underwriting standards. So a poor economy generally means high insurance premiums. This tendency to swing between profitable and unprofitable periods over time is commonly known as the "underwriting" or insurance cycle. [6] Property and casualty insurers currently make the most money from their auto insurance line of business. Generally better statistics are available on auto losses and underwriting on this line of business has benefited greatly from advances in computing.

Additionally, property losses in the United States, due to natural catastrophes, have exacerbated this trend. Finally, claims and loss handling is the materialized utility of insurance. In managing the claims-handling function, insurers seek to balance the elements of customer satisfaction, administrative handling expenses, and claims overpayment leakages. As part of this balancing act, fraudulent insurance practices are a major business risk that must be managed and overcome.

History of insurance
In some sense we can say that insurance appears simultaneously with the appearance of human society. We know of two types of economies in human societies: money economies (with markets, money, financial instruments and so on) and non-money or natural economies (without money, markets, financial instruments and so on). The second type is a more ancient form than the first. In such an economy and community, we can see insurance in the form of people helping each other. For example, if a house burns down, the members of the community help build a new one. Should the same thing happen to one's neighbour, the other neighbours must help. Otherwise, neighbours will not receive help in the future. This type of insurance has survived to the present day in some countries where modern money economy with its financial instruments is not widespread (for example countries in the territory of the former Soviet Union). Turning to insurance in the modern sense (i.e., insurance in a modern money economy, in which insurance is part of the financial sphere), early methods of transferring or distributing risk were practised by Chinese and Babylonian traders as long ago as the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC, respectively. Chinese merchants travelling treacherous river rapids would redistribute their wares across many vessels to limit the loss due to any single vessel's capsizing. The Babylonians developed a system which was recorded in the famous Code of Hammurabi, c. 1750 BC, and

practised by early Mediterranean sailing merchants. If a merchant received a loan to fund his shipment, he would pay the lender an additional sum in exchange for the lender's guarantee to cancel the loan should the shipment be stolen. Achaemenian monarchs of Iran were the first to insure their people and made it official by registering the insuring process in governmental notary offices. The insurance tradition was performed each year in Norouz (beginning of the Iranian New Year); the heads of different ethnic groups as well as others willing to take part, presented gifts to the monarch. The most important gift was presented during a special ceremony. When a gift was worth more than 10,000 Derrik (Achaemenian gold coin) the issue was registered in a special office. This was advantageous to those who presented such special gifts. For others, the presents were fairly assessed by the confidants of the court. Then the assessment was registered in special offices. The purpose of registering was that whenever the person who presented the gift registered by the court was in trouble, the monarch and the court would help him. Jahez, a historian and writer, writes in one of his books on ancient Iran: "[W]henever the owner of the present is in trouble or wants to construct a building, set up a feast, have his children married, etc. the one in charge of this in the court would check the registration. If the registered amount exceeded 10,000 Derrik, he or she would receive an amount of twice as much."[1] A thousand years later, the inhabitants of Rhodes invented the concept of the 'general average'. Merchants whose goods were being shipped together would pay a proportionally divided premium which would be used to reimburse any merchant whose goods were jettisoned during storm or sinkage. The Greeks and Romans introduced the origins of health and life insurance c. 600 AD when they organized guilds called "benevolent societies" which cared for the families and paid funeral expenses of members upon death. Guilds in the Middle Ages served a similar purpose. The Talmud deals with

several aspects of insuring goods. Before insurance was established in the late 17th century, "friendly societies" existed in England, in which people donated amounts of money to a general sum that could be used for emergencies. Separate insurance contracts (i.e., insurance policies not bundled with loans or other kinds of contracts) were invented in Genoa in the 14th century, as were insurance pools backed by pledges of landed estates. These new insurance contracts allowed insurance to be separated from investment, a separation of roles that first proved useful in marine insurance. Insurance became far more sophisticated in post-Renaissance Europe, and specialized varieties developed. Toward the end of the seventeenth century, London's growing importance as a centre for trade increased demand for marine insurance. In the late 1680s, Edward Lloyd opened a coffee house that became a popular haunt of ship owners, merchants, and ships’ captains, and thereby a reliable source of the latest shipping news. It became the meeting place for parties wishing to insure cargoes and ships, and those willing to underwrite such ventures. Today, Lloyd's of London remains the leading market (note that it is not an insurance company) for marine and other specialist types of insurance, but it works rather differently than the more familiar kinds of insurance. Insurance as we know it today can be traced to the Great Fire of London, which in 1666 devoured 13,200 houses. In the aftermath of this disaster, Nicholas Barbon opened an office to insure buildings. In 1680, he established England's first fire insurance company, "The Fire Office," to insure brick and frame homes. The first insurance company in the United States underwrote fire insurance and was formed in Charles Town (modern-day Charleston), South Carolina, in 1732. Benjamin Franklin helped to popularize and make standard the practice of insurance, particularly against fire in the form of perpetual insurance. In 1752, he founded the Philadelphia Contributionship for

the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire. Franklin's company was the first to make contributions toward fire prevention. Not only did his company warn against certain fire hazards, it refused to insure certain buildings where the risk of fire was too great, such as all wooden houses. In the United States, regulation of the insurance industry is highly Balkanized, with primary responsibility assumed by individual state insurance departments. Whereas insurance markets have become centralized nationally and internationally, state insurance commissioners operate individually, though at times in concert through a national insurance commissioners' organization. In recent years, some have called for a dual state and federal regulatory system (commonly referred to as the Optional Federal Charter (OFC)) for insurance similar to that which oversees state banks and national banks.

Types of insurance
Any risk that can be quantified can potentially be insured. Specific kinds of risk that may give rise to claims are known as "perils". An insurance policy will set out in detail which perils are covered by the policy and which are not. Below are (non-exhaustive) lists of the many different types of insurance that exist. A single policy may cover risks in one or more of the categories set out below. For example, auto insurance would typically cover both property risk (covering the risk of theft or damage to the car) and liability risk (covering legal claims from causing an accident). A homeowner's insurance policy in the U.S. typically includes property insurance covering damage to the home and the owner's belongings, liability insurance covering certain legal claims against the owner, and even a small amount of coverage for medical expenses of guests who are injured on the owner's property. Business insurance can be any kind of insurance that protects

businesses against risks. Some principal subtypes of business insurance are (a) the various kinds of professional liability insurance, also called professional indemnity insurance, which are discussed below under that name; and (b) the business owner's policy (BOP), which bundles into one policy many of the kinds of coverage that a business owner needs, in a way analogous to how homeowners insurance bundles the coverages that a homeowner needs.

Auto insurance
Auto insurance protects you against financial loss if you have an accident. It is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay your losses as defined in your policy. Auto insurance provides property, liability and medical coverage: (1) Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car. (2) Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage. and (3) Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses. An auto insurance policy is comprised of six different kinds of coverage. Most states require you to buy some, but not all, of these coverages. If you're financing a car, your lender may also have requirements. Most auto policies are for six months to a year. Your insurance company should notify you by mail when it’s time to renew the policy and to pay your premium.

Home insurance
What is homeowners insurance? Homeowners insurance provides financial protection against disasters. A standard policy insures the home itself and the things

you keep in it. Homeowners insurance is a package policy. This means that it covers both damage to your property and your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage you or members of your family cause to other people. This includes damage caused by household pets. Damage caused by most disasters is covered but there are exceptions. The most significant are damage caused by floods, earthquakes and poor maintenance. You must buy two separate policies for flood and earthquake coverage. Maintenance-related problems are the homeowners' responsibility.

Health
Almost all developed countries have government-supplied insurance for health Health insurance policies by the National Health Service in the United Kingdom (NHS) or other publicly-funded health programs will cover the cost of medical treatments. Dental insurance, like medical insurance, is coverage for individuals to protect them against dental costs. In the U.S., dental insurance is often part of an employer's benefits package, along with health insurance. Most countries rely on public funding to ensure that all citizens have universal access to health care.

Disability
• Disability insurance policies provide financial support in the event the policyholder is unable to work because of disabling illness or injury. It provides monthly support to help pay such obligations as mortgages and credit cards. • Total permanent disability insurance provides benefits when a person is permanently disabled and can no longer work in their profession, often taken as an adjunct to life insurance.

• Disability overhead insurance allows business owners to cover the overhead expenses of their business while they are unable to work. • Workers' compensation insurance replaces all or part of a worker's wages lost and accompanying medical expenses incurred because of a job-related injury.

Casualty
Casualty insurance insures against accidents, not necessarily tied to any specific property. • Crime insurance is a form of casualty insurance that covers the policyholder against losses arising from the criminal acts of third parties. For example, a company can obtain crime insurance to cover losses arising from theft or embezzlement. • Political risk insurance is a form of casualty insurance that can be taken out by businesses with operations in countries in which there is a risk that revolution or other political conditions will result in a loss.

Life Insurance
Life insurance provides a monetary benefit to a descedent's family or other designated beneficiary, and may specifically provide for income to an insured person's family, burial, funeral and other final expenses. Life insurance policies often allow the option of having the proceeds paid to the beneficiary either in a lump sum cash payment or an annuity. Annuities provide a stream of payments and are generally classified as insurance because they are issued by insurance companies and regulated as insurance and require the same kinds of actuarial and investment management expertise that life insurance requires. Annuities and pensions that pay a benefit for life are sometimes regarded as insurance against the possibility that

a retiree will outlive his or her financial resources. In that sense, they are the complement of life insurance and, from an underwriting perspective, are the mirror image of life insurance. Certain life insurance contracts accumulate cash values, which may be taken by the insured if the policy is surrendered or which may be borrowed against. Some policies, such as annuities and endowment policies, are financial instruments to accumulate or liquidate wealth when it is needed. In many countries, such as the U.S. and the UK, the tax law provides that the interest on this cash value is not taxable under certain circumstances. This leads to widespread use of life insurance as a tax-efficient method of saving as well as protection in the event of early death. In U.S., the tax on interest income on life insurance policies and annuities is generally deferred. However, in some cases the benefit derived from tax deferral may be offset by a low return. This depends upon the insuring company, the type of policy and other variables (mortality, market return, etc.). Moreover, other income tax saving vehicles (e.g., IRAs, 401(k) plans, Roth IRAs) may be better alternatives for value accumulation. A combination of lowcost term life insurance and a higher-return tax-efficient retirement account may achieve better investment return.

Life insurance or life assurance is a contract
between the policy owner and the insurer, where the insurer agrees to pay a sum of money upon the occurrence of the insured individual's or individuals' death or other event, such as terminal illness or critical illness. In return, the policy owner agrees to pay a stipulated amount called a premium at regular intervals or in lump sums. There may be designs in some countries where bills and death expenses plus catering for after funeral expenses should be

included in Policy Premium. In the United States, the predominant form simply specifies a lump sum to be paid on the insured's demise. As with most insurance policies, life insurance is a contract between the insurer and the policy owner whereby a benefit is paid to the designated beneficiaries if an insured event occurs which is covered by the policy. To be a life policy the insured event must be based upon the lives of the people named in the policy. Insured events that may be covered include: • Serious illness Life policies are legal contracts and the terms of the contract describe the limitations of the insured events. Specific exclusions are often written into the contract to limit the liability of the insurer; for example claims relating to suicide, fraud, war, riot and civil commotion. Life-based contracts tend to fall into two major categories: • Protection policies - designed to provide a benefit in the event of specified event, typically a lump sum payment. A common form of this design is term insurance. • Investment policies - where the main objective is to facilitate the growth of capital by regular or single premiums. Common forms (in the US anyway) are whole life, universal life and variable life policies.

Contents • o o o o • • o o     o • o 1 Overview 1.1 Parties to contract 1.2 Contract terms 1.3 Costs, insurability, and underwriting 1.4 Death proceeds 2 Insurance vs. assurance 3 Types of life insurance 3.1 Temporary (Term) 3.2 Permanent 3.2.1 Whole life coverage 3.2.2 Universal life coverage 3.2.3 Limited-pay 3.2.4 Endowments 3.3 Accidental death 4 Related life insurance products 4.1 Senior and preneed products

5 Investment policies o 5.1 With-profits policies o 5.2 Insurance/Investment Bonds o 5.3 Pensions • 6 Annuities • 7 Tax and life insurance o 7.1 Taxation of life insurance in the United States o 7.2 Taxation of life assurance in the United Kingdom  7.2.1 Pension Term Assurance • 8 History o 8.1 Market trends • 9 Criticism • 10 See also • 11 References o 11.1 Specific references • 12 External links

Overview
Parties to contract There is a difference between the insured and the policy owner (policy holder), although the owner and the insured are often the same person. For example, if Joe buys a policy on his own life, he is both the owner and the insured. But if Jane, his wife, buys a policy on Joe's life, she is the owner and he is the insured. The policy owner is the guarantee and he or she will be the person who will pay for the policy. The insured is a participant in the contract, but not necessarily a party to it. The beneficiary receives policy proceeds upon the insured's death. The owner designates the beneficiary, but the beneficiary is not a party to the policy. The owner can change the beneficiary unless

the policy has an irrevocable beneficiary designation. With an irrevocable beneficiary, that beneficiary must agree to any beneficiary changes, policy assignments, or cash value borrowing. In cases where the policy owner is not the insured (also referred to as the cestui qui vit or CQV), insurance companies have sought to limit policy purchases to those with an "insurable interest" in the CQV. For life insurance policies, close family members and business partners will usually be found to have an insurable interest. The "insurable interest" requirement usually demonstrates that the purchaser will actually suffer some kind of loss if the CQV dies. Such a requirement prevents people from benefiting from the purchase of purely speculative policies on people they expect to die. With no insurable interest requirement, the risk that a purchaser would murder the CQV for insurance proceeds would be great. In at least one case, an insurance company which sold a policy to a purchaser with no insurable interest (who later murdered the CQV for the proceeds), was found liable in court for contributing to the wrongful death of the victim (Liberty National Life v. Weldon, 267 Ala.171 (1957)).

Contract terms
Special provisions may apply, such as suicide clauses wherein the policy becomes null if the insured commits suicide within a specified time (usually two years after the purchase date; some states provide a statutory one-year suicide clause). Any misrepresentations by the insured on the application is also grounds for nullification. Most US states specify that the contestability period cannot be longer than two years; only if the insured dies within this period will the insurer have a legal right to contest the claim on the basis of misrepresentation and request additional information before deciding to pay or deny the claim. The face amount on the policy is the initial amount that the policy

will pay at the death of the insured or when the policy matures, although the actual death benefit can provide for greater or lesser than the face amount. The policy matures when the insured dies or reaches a specified age (such as 100 years old).

Costs, insurability, and underwriting
The insurer (the life insurance company) calculates the policy prices with intent to fund claims to be paid and administrative costs, and to make a profit. The cost of insurance is determined using mortality tables calculated by actuaries. Actuaries are professionals who employ actuarial science, which is based in mathematics (primarily probability and statistics). Mortality tables are statistically-based tables showing expected annual mortality rates. It is possible to derive life expectancy estimates from these mortality assumptions. Such estimates can be important in taxation regulation.[1] [2] The three main variables in a mortality table have been age, gender, and use of tobacco. More recently in the US, preferred class specific tables were introduced. The mortality tables provide a baseline for the cost of insurance. In practice, these mortality tables are used in conjunction with the health and family history of the individual applying for a policy in order to determine premiums and insurability. Mortality tables currently in use by life insurance companies in the United States are individually modified by each company using pooled industry experience studies as a starting point. In the 1980s and 90's the SOA 1975-80 Basic Select & Ultimate tables were the typical reference points, while the 2001 VBT and 2001 CSO tables were published more recently. The newer tables include separate mortality tables for smokers and non-smokers and the CSO tables include separate tables for preferred classes. [3] Recent US select mortality tables predict that roughly 0.35 in 1,000 non-smoking males aged 25 will die during the first year of coverage after underwriting.[2] Mortality approximately doubles for every extra ten years of age so that the mortality rate in the first

year for underwritten non-smoking men is about 2.5 in 1,000 people at age 65.[3] Compare this with the US population male mortality rates of 1.3 per 1,000 at age 25 and 19.3 at age 65 (without regard to health or smoking status).[4] The mortality of underwritten persons rises much more quickly than the general population. At the end of 10 years the mortality of that 25 year-old, non-smoking male is 0.66/1000/year. Consequently, in a group of one thousand 25 year old males with a $100,000 policy, all of average health, a life insurance company would have to collect approximately $50 a year from each of a large group to cover the relatively few expected claims. (0.35 to 0.66 expected deaths in each year x $100,000 payout per death = $35 per policy). Administrative and sales commissions need to be accounted for in order for this to make business sense. A 10 year policy for a 25 year old non-smoking male person with preferred medical history may get offers as low as $90 per year for a $100,000 policy in the competitive US life insurance market. The insurance company receives the premiums from the policy owner and invests them to create a pool of money from which it can pay claims and finance the insurance company's operations. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of the money that insurance companies make comes directly from premiums paid, as money gained through investment of premiums can never, in even the most ideal market conditions, vest enough money per year to pay out claims.[citation needed] Rates charged for life insurance increase with the insurer's age because, statistically, people are more likely to die as they get older. Given that adverse selection can have a negative impact on the insurer's financial situation, the insurer investigates each proposed insured individual unless the policy is below a companyestablished minimum amount, beginning with the application process. Group Insurance policies are an exception. This investigation and resulting evaluation of the risk is termed underwriting. Health and lifestyle questions are asked. Certain responses or information received may merit further investigation.

Life insurance companies in the United States support the Medical Information Bureau (MIB) [4], which is a clearinghouse of information on persons who have applied for life insurance with participating companies in the last seven years. As part of the application, the insurer receives permission to obtain information from the proposed insured's physicians.[5] Underwriters will determine the purpose of insurance. The most common is to protect the owner's family or financial interests in the event of the insurer's demise. Other purposes include estate planning or, in the case of cash-value contracts, investment for retirement planning. Bank loans or buy-sell provisions of business agreements are another acceptable purpose. Life insurance companies are never required by law to underwrite or to provide coverage to anyone, with the exception of Civil Rights Act compliance requirements. Insurance companies alone determine insurability, and some people, for their own health or lifestyle reasons, are deemed uninsurable. The policy can be declined (turned down) or rated.[citation needed] Rating increases the premiums to provide for additional risks relative to the particular insured.[citation needed] Many companies use four general health categories for those evaluated for a life insurance policy. These categories are Preferred Best, Preferred, Standard, and Tobacco.[citation needed] Preferred Best is reserved only for the healthiest individuals in the general population. This means, for instance, that the proposed insured has no adverse medical history, is not under medication for any condition, and his family (immediate and extended) have no history of early cancer, diabetes, or other conditions.[5] Preferred means that the proposed insured is currently under medication for a medical condition and has a family history of particular illnesses.[citation needed] Most people are in the Standard category.[citation needed] Profession, travel, and lifestyle factor into whether the proposed insured will be granted a policy, and which category the insured falls. For example, a person who would otherwise be classified as Preferred Best may be denied a policy if

he or she travels to a high risk country.[citation needed] Underwriting practices can vary from insurer to insurer which provide for more competitive offers in certain circumstances. Life insurance contracts are written on the basis of utmost good faith. That is, the proposer and the insurer both accept that the other is acting in good faith. This means that the proposer can assume the contract offers what it represents without having to fine comb the small print and the insurer assumes the proposer is being honest when providing details to underwriter.[citation needed]

Death proceeds
Upon the insured's death, the insurer requires acceptable proof of death before it pays the claim. The normal minimum proof required is a death certificate and the insurer's claim form completed, signed (and typically notarized).[citation needed] If the insured's death is suspicious and the policy amount is large, the insurer may investigate the circumstances surrounding the death before deciding whether it has an obligation to pay the claim. Proceeds from the policy may be paid as a lump sum or as an annuity, which is paid over time in regular recurring payments for either a specified period or for a beneficiary's lifetime.[citation needed]

Insurance vs. assurance

Outside the United States, the specific uses of the terms "insurance" and "assurance" are sometimes confused. In general, in these jurisdictions "insurance" refers to providing cover for an event that might happen (fire, theft, flood, etc.), while "assurance" is the provision of cover for an event that is certain to happen. However, in the United States both forms of coverage are called "insurance", principally due to many companies offering both types of policy, and rather than refer to themselves using both insurance and assurance titles, they instead use just one.

Types of life insurance
Life insurance may be divided into two basic classes – temporary and permanent or following subclasses - term, universal, whole life, variable, variable universal and endowment life insurance.

Temporary (Term)
Term life insurance or 'term assurance' provides for life insurance coverage for a specified term of years for a specified premium. The policy does not accumulate cash value. Term is generally considered "pure" insurance, where the premium buys protection in the event of death and nothing else. (See Theory of Decreasing Responsibility and buy term and invest the difference.) The three key factors to be considered in term insurance are: face amount (protection or death benefit), premium to be paid (cost to the insured), and length of coverage (term). Various (U.S.) insurance companies sell term insurance with many

different combinations of these three parameters. The face amount can remain constant or decline. The term can be for one or more years. The premium can remain level or increase. A common type of term is called annual renewable term. It is a one year policy but the insurance company guarantees it will issue a policy of equal or lesser amount without regard to the insurability of the insured and with a premium set for the insured's age at that time. Another common type of term insurance is mortgage insurance, which is usually a level premium, declining face value policy. The face amount is intended to equal the amount of the mortgage on the policy owner’s residence so the mortgage will be paid if the insured dies. A policy holder insures his life for a specified term. If he dies before that specified term is up, his estate or named beneficiary(ies) receive(s) a payout. If he does not die before the term is up, he receives nothing. In the past these policies would almost always exclude suicide. However, after a number of court judgments against the industry, payouts do occur on death by suicide (presumably except for in the unlikely case that it can be shown that the suicide was just to benefit from the policy). Generally, if an insured person commits suicide within the first two policy years, the insurer will return the premiums paid. However, a death benefit will usually be paid if the suicide occurs after the two year period.

Permanent
Permanent life insurance is life insurance that remains in force (inline) until the policy matures (pays out), unless the owner fails to pay the premium when due (the policy expires OR policies lapse). The policy cannot be canceled by the insurer for any reason except fraud in the application, and that cancellation must occur within a period of time defined by law (usually two years). Permanent insurance builds a cash value that reduces the amount at risk to the insurance company and thus the insurance expense over time. This means that a policy with a million dollars face value can be

relatively expensive to a 70 year old. The owner can access the money in the cash value by withdrawing money, borrowing the cash value, or surrendering the policy and receiving the surrender value. The three basic types of permanent insurance are whole life, universal life, and endowment.

Whole life coverage
Whole life insurance provides for a level premium, and a cash value table included in the policy guaranteed by the company. The primary advantages of whole life are guaranteed death benefits, guaranteed cash values, fixed and known annual premiums, and mortality and expense charges will not reduce the cash value shown in the policy. The primary disadvantages of whole life are premium inflexibility, and the internal rate of return in the policy may not be competitive with other savings alternatives. Riders are available that can allow one to increase the death benefit by paying additional premium. The death benefit can also be increased through the use of policy dividends. Dividends cannot be guaranteed and may be higher or lower than historical rates over time. Premiums are much higher than term insurance in the shortterm, but cumulative premiums are roughly equal if policies are kept in force until average life expectancy.

Cash value can be accessed at any time through policy "loans". Since these loans decrease the death benefit if not paid back, payback is optional. Cash values are not paid to the beneficiary upon the death of the insured; the beneficiary receives the death benefit only. If the dividend option: Paid up additions is elected, dividend cash values will purchase additional death benefit which will increase the death benefit of the policy to the named beneficiary.

Universal life coverage
Universal life insurance (UL) is a relatively new insurance product intended to provide permanent insurance coverage with greater flexibility in premium payment and the potential for a higher internal rate of return. There are several types of universal life insurance policies which include "interest sensitive" (also known as "traditional fixed universal life insurance"), variable universal life insurance, and equity indexed universal life insurance. A universal life insurance policy includes a cash account. Premiums increase the cash account. Interest is paid within the policy (credited) on the account at a rate specified by the company. This rate may have a guaranteed minimum (for fixed ULs) or no minimum (for variable ULs). Mortality charges and administrative costs are then charged against (reduce) the cash account. The surrender value of the policy is the amount remaining in the cash account less applicable surrender charges, if any. With all life insurance, there are basically two functions that make it work. There's a mortality function and a cash function. The mortality function would be the classical notion of pooling risk where the premiums paid by everybody else would cover the death benefit for the one or two who will die for a given period of time. The cash function inherent in all life insurance says that if a person is to reach age 95 to 100 (the age varies depending on state and company), then the policy matures and endows the face value of the policy.

Actuarially, it is reasoned that out of a group of 1000 people, if even 10 of them live to age 95, then the mortality function alone will not be able to cover the cash function. So in order to cover the cash function, a minimum rate of investment return on the premiums will be required in the event that a policy matures. Universal life insurance addresses the perceived disadvantages of whole life. Premiums are flexible. Depending on how interest is credited, the internal rate of return can be higher because it moves with prevailing interest rates (interest-sensitive) or the financial markets (Equity Indexed Universal Life and Variable Universal Life). Mortality costs and administrative charges are known. And cash value may be considered more easily attainable because the owner can discontinue premiums if the cash value allows it. And universal life has a more flexible death benefit because the owner can select one of two death benefit options, Option A and Option B. Option A pays the face amount at death as it's designed to have the cash value equal the death benefit at maturity (usually at age 95 or 100). With each premium payment, the policy owner is reducing the cost of insurance until the cash value reaches the face amount upon maturity. Option B pays the face amount plus the cash value, as it's designed to increase the net death benefit as cash values accumulate. Option B offers the benefit of an increasing death benefit every year that the policy stays in force. The drawback to option B is that because the cash value is accumulated "on top of" the death benefit, the cost of insurance never decreases as premium payments are made. Thus, as the insured gets older, the policy owner is faced with an ever increasing cost of insurance (it costs more money to provide the same initial face amount of insurance as the insured gets older). Both death benefit options - A (level) and B (increasing) - are subject to the same IRS rules and guidelines concerning premium payments and tax-favored treatment of cash values. In order for the policy to keep its tax favored life insurance status, it must stay within a corridor specified by state and federal laws that prevent

abuses such as attaching a million dollars in cash value to a two dollar insurance policy. The interesting part about this corridor is that for those people who can make it to age 95-100, this corridor requirement goes away and your cash value can equal exactly the face amount of insurance. If this corridor is ever violated, then the universal life policy will be treated as, and in effect turn into, a Modified Endowment Contract (or more commonly referred to as a MEC). But universal life has its own disadvantages which stem primarily from this flexibility. The policy lacks the fundamental guarantee that the policy will be in force unless sufficient premiums have been paid and cash values are not guaranteed. Early universal life policies are sometimes erroneously referred to as self-sustaining policies. In the 1980s, when interest rates were high, the cash value accumulated at a more accelerated rate, and universal life coverage was often sold by agents as a policy that could be self-paying. Many policies did sustain themselves for a prolonged period, but the combination of lower interest rates and an increasing cost of insurance as the insured ages meant that for many policies, the cash option was diminished or depleted.

Interest-Sensitive Universal Life Insurance An interest
sensitive UL policy was the first attempt at creating a flexible premium life insurance policy and was created in the 1980s. Interest-sensitive UL policies guarantee, to some extent, the death proceeds, but not the cash function - thus the flexible premiums and interest returns. If interest rates are high, then the investment returns help reduce the required premiums needed to keep the policy in force. If interest rates are low, then the customer would have to pay additional premiums in order to keep the policy in force. When interest rates are above the minimum required or minimum guaranteed interest rate, then the customer has the flexibility to pay less as investment returns cover the remainder to keep the policy in force.

Equity-Indexed Universal Life Insurance
Equity-Indexed Universal Life Insurance or "EIUL" for short, is a fixed universal life insurance policy that was created in the mid 1990s to address concerns about market volatility and provide an alternative to the low interest rates being offered by interestsensitive UL policies. EIULs differ from interest-sensitive UL policies in that they credit interest to the policy's cash values based on the upward movement of a particular stock market index - usually the S&P500. The insurance company can then credit the gains in the stock market according to one of several different crediting methods. The most popular is the "point-to-point" method. When the policy is issued, the insurance company "pegs" the stock market's value. At the anniversary of the policy, the insurance company checks the value of the underlying stock index and credits the cash value with the difference up to a cap (specified by the company). For example, if a policy owner purchased an EIUL on January, and the insurance company used the S&P500 as the underlying index when crediting interest to policy cash values, and the company set a 12 % cap, the process would work like this: If the S&P500 was 1,100 in January, the insurance company would record the value of the index. On the anniversary of the policy (the next January), the insurance company would record the new value of the S&P500. If the new value of the index was 1,188, that would represent a gain of 8%. The insurance company would credit the policy cash values with 8% for that year. If the S&P500 lost value (i.e. the value went from 1,100 to 980), the insurance company would simply record a "0", and the policy would show a year of no growth. The policy owner would not; however, lose any money (principal or interest from a previous

year) as a result of a negative return on the S&P500. If the S&P500 was 1,100 in January, the insurance company would record the value of the index. On the anniversary of the policy (the next January), the insurance company would record the new value of the S&P500. If the new value of the index was 1,320, that would represent a gain of 20%. The cap set by the insurance company is 12%, so the insurance company would credit the policy cash values with 12% for that year. Since the insurance company is assuming the risk for any losses, it represents a trade off for the policy owner: The policy owner gets most of the upside potential of the stock market without any of the downside risks associated with an investment in the stock market. To accomplish this feat, the insurance company uses a precise mix of bonds and index call options.[6] Most of the premium received for this type of policy is used to buy bonds. A small portion of the premium is used to buy stock options (call options) on an underlying stock index. When the value of the stock index rises, the underlying stock option increases by a multiple of 5, 7, or 10. This produces the gains necessary to credit the policy with the "upside potential" of the stock market without actually having the policy owner invest directly in the stock market. Variable Universal Life Insurance (VUL) is another type of universal life insurance. There are typically no guarantees associated with this type of life insurance policy. The cash account within a VUL is held in the insurer's "separate account" (generally in mutual funds, managed by a fund manager). The policy owner then chooses the investments he or she wishes to invest in. If those investments do well, the insurance company credits the policy's cash values accordingly. If the underlying investments do poorly, the policy owner can lose their cash value. If the investments do poorly enough, it could cause the policy to lapse due to insufficient funds to cover the costs of insurance.

Limited-pay
Another type of permanent insurance is Limited-pay life insurance, in which all the premiums are paid over a specified period after which no additional premiums are due to keep the policy in force. Common limited pay periods include 10-year, 20-year, and paid-up at age 65.

Endowments
Endowments are policies in which the cash value built up inside the policy, equals the death benefit (face amount) at a certain age. The age this commences is known as the endowment age. Endowments are considerably more expensive (in terms of annual premiums) than either whole life or universal life because the premium paying period is shortened and the endowment date is earlier. In the United States, the Technical Corrections Act of 1988 tightened the rules on tax shelters (creating modified endowments). These follow tax rules as annuities and IRAs do. Endowment Insurance is paid out whether the insured lives or dies, after a specific period (e.g. 15 years) or a specific age (e.g. 65).

Accidental death
Accidental death is a limited life insurance that is designed to cover the insured when they pass away due to an accident. Accidents include anything from an injury, but do not typically cover any deaths resulting from health problems or suicide. Because they only cover accidents, these policies are much less expensive than other life insurances. It is also very commonly offered as "accidental death and dismemberment insurance", also known as an AD&D policy. In an AD&D policy, benefits are available not only for accidental death, but also for loss of limbs or bodily functions such as sight and hearing, etc. Accidental death and AD&D policies very rarely pay a benefit; either the cause of death is not covered, or the coverage is not maintained after the accident until death occurs. To be aware of what coverage they have, an insured should always review their policy for what it covers and what it excludes. Often, it does not cover an insured who puts themselves at risk in activities such as: parachuting, flying an airplane, professional sports, or involvement in a war (military or not). Also, some insurers will exclude death and injury caused by proximate causes due to (but not limited to) racing on wheels and mountaineering. Accidental death benefits can also be added to a standard life insurance policy as a rider. If this rider is purchased, the policy will generally pay double the face amount if the insured dies due to an accident. This used to be commonly referred to as a double indemnity coverage. In some cases, some companies may even offer a triple indemnity cover.

Related life insurance products
Riders are modifications to the insurance policy added at the same time the policy is issued. These riders change the basic policy to provide some feature desired by the policy owner. A common rider is accidental death, which used to be commonly referred to as "double indemnity", which pays twice the amount of the policy face value if death results from accidental causes, as if both a full coverage policy and an accidental death policy were in effect on the insured. Another common rider is premium waiver, which waives future premiums if the insured becomes disabled. Joint life insurance is either a term or permanent policy insuring two or more lives with the proceeds payable on the first death. Survivorship life or second-to-die life is a whole life policy insuring two lives with the proceeds payable on the second (later) death. Single premium whole life is a policy with only one premium which is payable at the time the policy is issued. Modified whole life is a whole life policy that charges smaller premiums for a specified period of time after which the premiums increase for the remainder of the policy. Group life insurance is term insurance covering a group of people, usually employees of a company or members of a union or association. Individual proof of insurability is not normally a consideration in the underwriting. Rather, the underwriter considers the size and turnover of the group, and the financial strength of the group. Contract provisions will attempt to exclude the possibility of adverse selection. Group life insurance often has a provision that a member exiting the group has the right to buy individual insurance coverage.

Senior and preneed products
Insurance companies have in recent years developed products to offer to niche markets, most notably targeting the senior market to address needs of an aging population. Many companies offer policies tailored to the needs of senior applicants. These are often low to moderate face value whole life insurance policies, to allow a senior citizen purchasing insurance at an older issue age an opportunity to buy affordable insurance. This may also be marketed as final expense insurance, and an agent or company may suggest (but not require) that the policy proceeds could be used for end-of-life expenses. Preneed (or prepaid) insurance policies are whole life policies that, although available at any age, are usually offered to older applicants as well. This type of insurance is designed specifically to cover funeral expenses when the insured person dies. In many cases, the applicant signs a prefunded funeral arrangement with a funeral home at the time the policy is applied for. The death proceeds are then guaranteed to be directed first to the funeral services provider for payment of services rendered. Most contracts dictate that any excess proceeds will go either to the insured's estate or a designated beneficiary. These products are sometimes assigned into a trust at the time of issue, or shortly after issue. The policies are irrevocably assigned to the trust, and the trust becomes the owner. Since a whole life policy has a cash value component, and a loan provision, it may be considered an asset; assigning the policy to a trust means that it can no longer be considered an asset for that individual. This can impact an individual's ability to qualify for Medicare or Medicaid.

Investment policies
With-profits policies
Some policies allow the policyholder to participate in the profits of the insurance company these are with-profits policies. Other policies have no rights to participate in the profits of the company, these are non-profit policies. With-profits policies are used as a form of collective investment to achieve capital growth. Other policies offer a guaranteed return not dependent on the company's underlying investment performance; these are often referred to as without-profit policies which may be construed as a misnomer.

Insurance/Investment Bonds Pensions
Pensions are a form of life assurance. However, whilst basic life assurance, permanent health insurance and non-pensions annuity business includes an amount of mortality or morbidity risk for the insurer, for pensions there is a longevity risk. A pension fund will be built up throughout a person's working life. When the person retires, the pension will become in payment, and at some stage the pensioner will buy an annuity contract, which will guarantee a certain pay-out each month until death.

Annuities
An annuity is a contract with an insurance company whereby the purchaser pays an initial premium or premiums into a tax-deferred account, which pays out a sum at pre-determined intervals. There are two periods: the accumulation (when payments are paid into the account) and the annuitization (when the insurance company pays out). For example, a policy holder may pay £10,000, and in return receive £150 each month until he dies; or £1,000 for each of 14 years or death benefits if he dies before the full term of the annuity has elapsed. Tax penalties and insurance company surrender charges may apply to premature withdrawals (if indeed these are allowed; in most markets outside the U.S. the policy owner has no right to end the contract prematurely). Tax and life insurance Taxation of life insurance in the United States Premiums paid by the policy owner are normally not deductible for federal and state income tax purposes.[7] Proceeds paid by the insurer upon death of the insured are not included in gross income for federal and state income tax purposes; [8] however, if the proceeds are included in the "estate" of the deceased, it is likely they will be subject to federal and state estate and inheritance tax. Cash value increases within the policy are not subject to income taxes unless certain events occur. For this reason, insurance policies can be a legal and legitimate tax shelter wherein savings can increase without taxation until the owner withdraws the money from the policy. On flexible-premium policies, large deposits of premium could cause the contract to be considered a "Modified Endowment Contract" by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which negates many of the tax advantages associated with life insurance. The insurance company, in most cases, will inform the policy owner of this danger before applying their premium. Tax deferred benefit from a life insurance policy may be offset by

its low return in some cases. This depends upon the insuring company, type of policy and other variables (mortality, market return, etc.). Also, other income tax saving vehicles (i.e. Individual Retirement Account (IRA), 401K or Roth IRA) may be better alternatives for value accumulation. This will depend on the individual and their specific circumstances. The tax ramifications of life insurance are complex. The policy owner would be well advised to carefully consider them. As always, the United States Congress or the state legislatures can change the tax laws at any time. Taxation of life assurance in the United Kingdom Premiums are not usually allowable against income tax or corporation tax, however qualifying policies issued prior to 14 March 1984 do still attract LAPR (Life Assurance Premium Relief) at 15% (with the net premium being collected from the policyholder). Non-investment life policies do not normally attract either income tax or capital gains tax on claim. If the policy has as investment element such as an endowment policy, whole of life policy or an investment bond then the tax treatment is determined by the qualifying status of the policy. Qualifying status is determined at the outset of the policy if the contract meets certain criteria. Essentially, long term contracts (10 years plus) tend to be qualifying policies and the proceeds are free from income tax and capital gains tax. Single premium contracts and those run for a short term are subject to income tax depending upon your marginal rate in the year you make a gain. All (UK) insurers pay a special rate of corporation tax on the profits from their life book; this is deemed as meeting the lower rate (20% in 2005-06) liability for policyholders. Therefore a policyholder who is a higher rate taxpayer (40% in 2005-06), or becomes one through the transaction, must pay tax on the gain at the difference between the higher and the lower rate. This gain is reduced by applying a calculation called top-slicing based on the number of

years the policy has been held. Although this is complicated, the taxation of life assurance based investment contracts may be beneficial compared to alternative equity-based collective investment schemes (unit trusts, investment trusts and OEICs). One feature which especially favors investment bonds is the '5% cumulative allowance' – the ability to draw 5% of the original investment amount each policy year without being subject to any taxation on the amount withdrawn. If not used in one year, the 5% allowance can roll over into future years, subject to a maximum tax deferred withdrawal of 100% of the premiums payable. The withdrawal is deemed by the HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) to be a payment of capital and therefore the tax liability is deferred until maturity or surrender of the policy. This is an especially useful tax planning tool for higher rate taxpayers who expect to become basic rate taxpayers at some predictable point in the future (e.g. retirement), as at this point the deferred tax liability will not result in tax being due. The proceeds of a life policy will be included in the estate for death duty (in the UK, inheritance tax (IHT)) purposes, except that policies written in trust may fall outside the estate. Trust law and taxation of trusts can be complicated, so any individual intending to use trusts for tax planning would usually seek professional advice from an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) and/or a solicitor.

Pension Term Assurance
Although available before April 2006, from this date pension term assurance became widely available in the UK. Most UK product providers adopted the name "life insurance with tax relief" for the product. Pension term assurance is effectively normal term life assurance with tax relief on the premiums. All premiums are paid net of basic rate tax at 22%, and higher rate tax payers can gain an extra 18% tax relief via their tax return. Although not suitable for all, PTA briefly became one of the most common forms of life assurance sold in the UK until the Chancellor, Gordon Brown,

announced the withdrawal of the scheme in his pre-budget announcement on 6 December 2006. The tax relief ceased to be available to new policies transacted after 6 December 2006, however, existing policies have been allowed to enjoy tax relief so far.

History
Insurance began as a way of reducing the risk of traders, as early as 5000 BC in China and 4500 BC in Babylon. Life insurance dates only to ancient Rome; "burial clubs" covered the cost of members' funeral expenses and helped survivors monetarily. Modern life insurance started in late 17th century England, originally as insurance for traders: merchants, ship owners and underwriters met to discuss deals at Lloyd's Coffee House, predecessor to the famous Lloyd's of London. The first insurance company in the United States was formed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1732, but it provided only fire insurance. The sale of life insurance in the U.S. began in the late 1760s. The Presbyterian Synods in Philadelphia and New York created the Corporation for Relief of Poor and Distressed Widows and Children of Presbyterian Ministers in 1759; Episcopalian priests organized a similar fund in 1769. Between 1787 and 1837 more than two dozen life insurance companies were started, but fewer than half a dozen survived. Prior to the American Civil War, many insurance companies in the United States insured the lives of slaves for their owners. In response to bills passed in California in 2001 and in Illinois in 2003, the companies have been required to search their records for such policies. New York Life for example reported that Nautilus sold 485 slaveholder life insurance policies during a two-year period in the 1840s; they added that their trustees voted to end the sale of such policies 15 years before the Emancipation Proclamation.

Market trends
Life insurance premiums written in 2005 According to a study by Swiss Re, the EU was the largest market for life insurance premiums written in 2005 followed by the USA and Japan.

Criticism
Although some aspects of the application process (such as underwriting and insurable interest provisions) make it difficult, life insurance policies have been used in cases of exploitation and fraud. In the case of life insurance, there is a motivation to purchase a life insurance policy, particularly if the face value is substantial, and then kill the insured. The television series Forensic Files has included episodes that feature this scenario. There was also a documented case in 2006, where two elderly women are accused of taking in homeless men and assisting them. As part of their assistance, they took out life insurance on the men. After the contestability period ended on the policies (most life contracts have a standard contestability period of two years), the women are alleged to have had the men killed via hit-and-run car crashes.[9] Recently, viatical settlements have thrown the life insurance industry into turmoil. A viatical settlement involves the purchase of a life insurance policy from an elderly or terminally ill policy holder. The policy holder sells the policy (including the right to name the beneficiary) to a purchaser for a price discounted from the policy value. The seller has cash in hand, and the purchaser will realize a profit when the seller dies and the proceeds are delivered to the purchaser. In the meantime, the purchaser continues to pay the premiums. Although both parties have reached an agreeable settlement, insurers are troubled by this trend.

Insurers calculate their rates with the assumption that a certain portion of policy holders will seek to redeem the cash value of their insurance policies before death. They also expect that a certain portion will stop paying premiums and forfeit their policies. However, viatical settlements ensure that such policies will with absolute certainty be paid out. Some purchasers, in order to take advantage of the potentially large profits, have even actively sought to collude with uninsured elderly and terminally ill patients, and created policies that would have not otherwise been purchased. Likewise, these policies are guaranteed losses from the insurers' perspective

Property
This tornado damage to an Illinois home would be considered an "Act of God" for insurance purposes Property insurance provides protection against risks to property, such as fire, theft or weather damage. This includes specialized forms of insurance such as fire insurance, flood insurance, earthquake insurance, home insurance, inland marine insurance or boiler insurance. • Automobile insurance, known in the UK as motor insurance, is probably the most common form of insurance and may cover both legal liability claims against the driver and loss of or damage to the insured's vehicle itself. Throughout the United States an auto insurance policy is required to legally operate a motor vehicle on public roads. In some jurisdictions, bodily injury compensation for automobile accident victims has been changed to a no-fault system, which reduces or eliminates the ability to sue for compensation but provides automatic eligibility for benefits. Credit card companies insure against damage on rented cars.

o Driving School Insurance insurance provides cover for any authorized driver whilst undergoing tuition, cover also unlike other motor policies provides cover for instructor liability where both the pupil and driving instructor are equally liable in the event of a claim. • Aviation insurance insures against hull, spares, deductibles, hull wear and liability risks. • Boiler insurance (also known as boiler and machinery insurance or equipment breakdown insurance) insures against accidental physical damage to equipment or machinery. • Builder's risk insurance insures against the risk of physical loss or damage to property during construction. Builder's risk insurance is typically written on an "all risk" basis covering damage due to any cause (including the negligence of the insured) not otherwise expressly excluded. • Crop insurance "Farmers use crop insurance to reduce or manage various risks associated with growing crops. Such risks include crop loss or damage caused by weather, hail, drought, frost damage, insects, or disease, for instance."[10] • Earthquake insurance is a form of property insurance that pays the policyholder in the event of an earthquake that causes damage to the property. Most ordinary homeowners insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage. Most earthquake insurance policies feature a high deductible. Rates depend on location and the probability of an earthquake, as well as the construction of the home. • A fidelity bond is a form of casualty insurance that covers policyholders for losses that they incur as a result of fraudulent acts by specified individuals. It usually insures a business for losses caused by the dishonest acts of its employees. • Flood insurance protects against property loss due to flooding. Many insurers in the U.S. do not provide flood insurance in some portions of the country. In response to this, the federal

government created the National Flood Insurance Program which serves as the insurer of last resort. • Home insurance or homeowners' insurance: See "Property insurance". • Marine insurance and marine cargo insurance cover the loss or damage of ships at sea or on inland waterways, and of the cargo that may be on them. When the owner of the cargo and the carrier are separate corporations, marine cargo insurance typically compensates the owner of cargo for losses sustained from fire, shipwreck, etc., but excludes losses that can be recovered from the carrier or the carrier's insurance. Many marine insurance underwriters will include "time element" coverage in such policies, which extends the indemnity to cover loss of profit and other business expenses attributable to the delay caused by a covered loss. • Surety bond insurance is a three party insurance guaranteeing the performance of the principal. • Terrorism insurance provides protection against any loss or damage caused by terrorist activities. • Volcano insurance is an insurance that covers volcano damage in Hawaii. • Windstorm insurance is an insurance covering the damage that can be caused by hurricanes and tropical cyclones.

Liability
Liability insurance is a very broad superset that covers legal claims against the insured. Many types of insurance include an aspect of liability coverage. For example, a homeowner's insurance policy will normally include liability coverage which protects the insured in the event of a claim brought by someone who slips and falls on the property; automobile insurance also includes an aspect of liability insurance that indemnifies against the harm that a crashing car can cause to others' lives, health, or property. The protection offered by a liability insurance policy is twofold: a legal defense in the event of a lawsuit commenced against the policyholder and indemnification (payment on behalf of the insured) with respect to a settlement or court verdict. Liability policies typically cover only the negligence of the insured, and will not apply to results of wilful or intentional acts by the insured. • Environmental liability insurance protects the insured from bodily injury, property damage and cleanup costs as a result of the dispersal, release or escape of pollutants. • Errors and omissions insurance: See "Professional liability insurance" under "Liability insurance". • Professional liability insurance, also called professional indemnity insurance, protects insured professionals such as architectural corporation and medical practice against potential negligence claims made by their patients/clients. Professional liability insurance may take on different names depending on the profession. For example, professional liability insurance in reference to the medical profession may be called malpractice insurance. Notaries public may take out errors and omissions insurance (E&O). Other potential E&O policyholders include, for example, real estate brokers, home inspectors, appraisers, and website developers.

• Directors and officers liability insurance protects an organization (usually a corporation) from costs associated with litigation resulting from mistakes made by directors and officers for which they are liable. In the industry, it is usually called "D&O" for short. • Prize indemnity insurance protects the insured from giving away a large prize at a specific event. Examples would include offering prizes to contestants who can make a half-court shot at a basketball game, or a hole-in-one at a golf tournament.

Credit
Credit insurance repays some or all of a loan when certain things happen to the borrower such as unemployment, disability, or death. • Mortgage insurance insures the lender against default by the borrower. Mortgage insurance is a form of credit insurance, although the name credit insurance more often is used to refer to policies that cover other kinds of debt.

Other types
• Collateral protection insurance or CPI, insures property (primarily vehicles) held as collateral for loans made by lending institutions. • Defense Base Act Workers' compensation or DBA Insurance provides coverage for civilian workers hired by the government to perform contracts outside the U.S. and Canada. DBA is required for all U.S. citizens, U.S. residents, U.S. Green Card holders, and all employees or subcontractors hired on overseas government contracts. Depending on the country, Foreign Nationals must also be covered under DBA. This coverage typically includes expenses related to medical treatment and loss of

wages, as well as disability and death benefits. • Expatriate insurance provides individuals and organizations operating outside of their home country with protection for automobiles, property, health, liability and business pursuits. • Financial loss insurance protects individuals and companies against various financial risks. For example, a business might purchase coverage to protect it from loss of sales if a fire in a factory prevented it from carrying out its business for a time. Insurance might also cover the failure of a creditor to pay money it owes to the insured. This type of insurance is frequently referred to as "business interruption insurance." Fidelity bonds and surety bonds are included in this category, although these products provide a benefit to a third party (the "obligee") in the event the insured party (usually referred to as the "obligor") fails to perform its obligations under a contract with the obligee. • Kidnap and ransom insurance • Locked funds insurance is a little-known hybrid insurance policy jointly issued by governments and banks. It is used to protect public funds from tamper by unauthorized parties. In special cases, a government may authorize its use in protecting semi-private funds which are liable to tamper. The terms of this type of insurance are usually very strict. Therefore it is used only in extreme cases where maximum security of funds is required. • Nuclear incident insurance covers damages resulting from an incident involving radioactive materials and is generally arranged at the national level. See the Nuclear exclusion clause and for the United States the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act) • Pet insurance insures pets against accidents and illnesses some companies cover routine/wellness care and burial, as well.

• Pollution Insurance, which consists of first-party coverage for contamination of insured property either by external or on-site sources. Coverage for liability to third parties arising from contamination of air, water, or land due to the sudden and accidental release of hazardous materials from the insured site. The policy usually covers the costs of cleanup and may include coverage for releases from underground storage tanks. Intentional acts are specifically excluded. • Purchase insurance is aimed at providing protection on the products people purchase. Purchase insurance can cover individual purchase protection, warranties, guarantees, care plans and even mobile phone insurance. Such insurance is normally very limited in the scope of problems that are covered by the policy. • Title insurance provides a guarantee that title to real property is vested in the purchaser and/or mortgagee, free and clear of liens or encumbrances. It is usually issued in conjunction with a search of the public records performed at the time of a real estate transaction. • Travel insurance is an insurance cover taken by those who travel abroad, which covers certain losses such as medical expenses, loss of personal belongings, travel delay, personal liabilities, etc.

Insurance financing vehicles
• Protected Self-Insurance is an alternative risk financing mechanism in which an organization retains the mathematically calculated cost of risk within the organization and transfers the catastrophic risk with specific and aggregate limits to an insurer so the maximum total cost of the program is known. A properly designed and underwritten Protected Self-Insurance Program reduces and stabilizes the cost of insurance and provides valuable risk management information. • Retrospectively Rated Insurance is a method of establishing a premium on large commercial accounts. The final premium is based on the insured's actual loss experience during the policy term, sometimes subject to a minimum and maximum premium, with the final premium determined by a formula. Under this plan, the current year's premium is based partially (or wholly) on the current year's losses, although the premium adjustments may take months or years beyond the current year's expiration date. The rating formula is guaranteed in the insurance contract. Formula: retrospective premium = converted loss + basic premium × tax multiplier. Numerous variations of this formula have been developed and are in use. • Fraternal insurance is provided on a cooperative basis by fraternal benefit societies or other social organizations.[11] • Formal self insurance is the deliberate decision to pay for otherwise insurable losses out of one's own money. This can be done on a formal basis by establishing a separate fund into which funds are deposited on a periodic basis, or by simply forgoing the purchase of available insurance and paying out-of-pocket. Self

insurance is usually used to pay for high-frequency, low-severity losses. Such losses, if covered by conventional insurance, mean having to pay a premium that includes loadings for the company's general expenses, cost of putting the policy on the books, acquisition expenses, premium taxes, and contingencies. While this is true for all insurance, for small, frequent losses the transaction costs may exceed the benefit of volatility reduction that insurance otherwise affords. • No-fault insurance is a type of insurance policy (typically automobile insurance) where insureds are indemnified by their own insurer regardless of fault in the incident. • Reinsurance is a type of insurance purchased by insurance companies or self-insured employers to protect against unexpected losses. Financial reinsurance is a form of reinsurance that is primarily used for capital management rather than to transfer insurance risk. • Stop-loss insurance provides protection against catastrophic or unpredictable losses. It is purchased by organizations who do not want to assume 100% of the liability for losses arising from the plans. Under a stop-loss policy, the insurance company becomes liable for losses that exceed certain limits called deductibles. • Social insurance can be many things to many people in many countries. But a summary of its essence is that it is a collection of insurance coverages (including components of life insurance, disability income insurance, unemployment insurance, health insurance, and others), plus retirement savings, that requires participation by all citizens. By forcing everyone in society to be a policyholder and pay premiums, it ensures that everyone can become a claimant when or if he/she needs to. Along the way this inevitably becomes related to other concepts such as the justice system and the welfare state. This is a large, complicated topic that engenders tremendous debate, which can be further studied in the following articles (and others):

o o o o o o

Social welfare provision Social security Social safety net National Insurance Social Security (United States) Social Security debate (United States)

Closed community self-insurance
Some communities prefer to create virtual insurance amongst themselves by other means than contractual risk transfer, which assigns explicit numerical values to risk. A number of religious groups, including the Amish and some Muslim groups, depend on support provided by their communities when disasters strike. The risk presented by any given person is assumed collectively by the community who all bear the cost of rebuilding lost property and supporting people whose needs are suddenly greater after a loss of some kind. In supportive communities where others can be trusted to follow community leaders, this tacit form of insurance can work. In this manner the community can even out the extreme differences in insurability that exist among its members. Some further justification is also provided by invoking the moral hazard of explicit insurance contracts. In the United Kingdom, The Crown (which, for practical purposes, meant the Civil service) did not insure property such as government buildings. If a government building was damaged, the cost of repair would be met from public funds because, in the long run, this was cheaper than paying insurance premiums. Since many UK government buildings have been sold to property companies, and rented back, this arrangement is now less common and may have disappeared altogether.

Insurance companies
Insurance companies may be classified into two groups: • Life insurance companies, which sell life insurance, annuities and pensions products. • Non-life, General, or Property/Casualty insurance companies, which sell other types of insurance. General insurance companies can be further divided into these sub categories. • Standard Lines • Excess Lines In most countries, life and non-life insurers are subject to different regulatory regimes and different tax and accounting rules. The main reason for the distinction between the two types of company is that life, annuity, and pension business is very long-term in nature — coverage for life assurance or a pension can cover risks over many decades. By contrast, non-life insurance cover usually covers a shorter period, such as one year. In the United States, standard line insurance companies are "main stream" insurers. These are the companies that typically insure autos, homes or businesses. They use pattern or "cookie-cutter" policies without variation from one person to the next. They usually have lower premiums than excess lines and can sell

directly to individuals. They are regulated by state laws that can restrict the amount they can charge for insurance policies. Excess line insurance companies (aka Excess and Surplus) typically insure risks not covered by the standard lines market. They are broadly referred as being all insurance placed with nonadmitted insurers. Non-admitted insurers are not licensed in the states where the risks are located. These companies have more flexibility and can react faster than standard insurance companies because they are not required to file rates and forms as the "admitted" carriers do. However, they still have substantial regulatory requirements placed upon them. State laws generally require insurance placed with surplus line agents and brokers not to be available through standard licensed insurers. Insurance companies are generally classified as either mutual or stock companies. Mutual companies are owned by the policyholders, while stockholders (who may or may not own policies) own stock insurance companies. Demutualization of mutual insurers to form stock companies, as well as the formation of a hybrid known as a mutual holding company, became common in some countries, such as the United States, in the late 20th century. Other possible forms for an insurance company include reciprocals, in which policyholders 'reciprocate' in sharing risks, and Lloyds organizations. Insurance companies are rated by various agencies such as A. M. Best. The ratings include the company's financial strength, which measures its ability to pay claims. It also rates financial instruments issued by the insurance company, such as bonds, notes, and securitization products. Reinsurance companies are insurance companies that sell policies to other insurance companies, allowing them to reduce their risks and protect themselves from very large losses. The reinsurance market is dominated by a few very large companies, with huge reserves. A reinsurer may also be a direct writer of insurance risks as well. Captive insurance companies may be defined as limited-

purpose insurance companies established with the specific objective of financing risks emanating from their parent group or groups. This definition can sometimes be extended to include some of the risks of the parent company's customers. In short, it is an inhouse self-insurance vehicle. Captives may take the form of a "pure" entity (which is a 100% subsidiary of the self-insured parent company); of a "mutual" captive (which insures the collective risks of members of an industry); and of an "association" captive (which self-insures individual risks of the members of a professional, commercial or industrial association). Captives represent commercial, economic and tax advantages to their sponsors because of the reductions in costs they help create and for the ease of insurance risk management and the flexibility for cash flows they generate. Additionally, they may provide coverage of risks which is neither available nor offered in the traditional insurance market at reasonable prices. The types of risk that a captive can underwrite for their parents include property damage, public and product liability, professional indemnity, employee benefits, employers' liability, motor and medical aid expenses. The captive's exposure to such risks may be limited by the use of reinsurance. Captives are becoming an increasingly important component of the risk management and risk financing strategy of their parent. This can be understood against the following background: • heavy and increasing premium costs in almost every line of coverage; • difficulties in insuring certain types of fortuitous risk; • differential coverage standards in various parts of the world; • rating structures which reflect market trends rather than individual loss experience; • insufficient credit for deductibles and/or loss control efforts.

There are also companies known as 'insurance consultants'. Like a mortgage broker, these companies are paid a fee by the customer to shop around for the best insurance policy amongst many companies. Similar to an insurance consultant, an 'insurance broker' also shops around for the best insurance policy amongst many companies. However, with insurance brokers, the fee is usually paid in the form of commission from the insurer that is selected rather than directly from the client. Neither insurance consultants nor insurance brokers are insurance companies and no risks are transferred to them in insurance transactions. Third party administrators are companies that perform underwriting and sometimes claims handling services for insurance companies. These companies often have special expertise that the insurance companies do not have. The financial stability and strength of an insurance company should be a major consideration when buying an insurance contract. An insurance premium paid currently provides coverage for losses that might arise many years in the future. For that reason, the viability of the insurance carrier is very important. In recent years, a number of insurance companies have become insolvent, leaving their policyholders with no coverage (or coverage only from a government-backed insurance pool or other arrangement with less attractive payouts for losses). A number of independent rating agencies, such as Best's, Fitch, Standard & Poor's, and Moody's Investors Service, provide information and rate the financial viability of insurance companies.

Global insurance industry
Life insurance premia written in 2005 Non-life insurance premia written in 2005 Global insurance premiums grew by 8.0% in 2006 (or 5% in real terms) to reach $3.7 trillion due to improved profitability and a benign economic environment characterised by solid economic growth, moderate inflation and strong equity markets. Profitability improved in both life and non-life insurance in 2006 compared to the previous year. Life insurance premiums grew by 10.2% in 2006 as demand for annuity and pension products rose. Non-life insurance premiums grew by 5.0% due to growth in premium rates. Over the past decade, global insurance premiums rose by more than a half as annual growth fluctuated between 2% and 11%. Advanced economies account for the bulk of global insurance. With premium income of $1,485bn, Europe was the most important region, followed by North America ($1,258bn) and Asia ($801bn). The top four countries accounted for nearly two-thirds of premiums in 2006. The U.S. and Japan alone accounted for 43% of world insurance, much higher than their 7% share of the global population. Emerging markets accounted for over 85% of the world’s population but generated only around 10% of premiums. The volume of UK insurance business totalled $418bn in 2006 or 11.2% of global premiums. [12]

Controversies
Insurance insulates too much
By creating a "security blanket" for its insureds, an insurance company may inadvertently find that its insureds may not be as risk-averse as they might otherwise be (since, by definition, the insured has transferred the risk to the insurer). This problem is known to the insurance industry as moral hazard. To reduce their own financial exposure, insurance companies have contractual clauses that mitigate their obligation to provide coverage if the insured engages in behavior that grossly magnifies their risk of loss or liability. For example, life insurance companies may require higher premiums or deny coverage altogether to people who work in hazardous occupations or engage in dangerous sports. Liability insurance providers do not provide coverage for liability arising from intentional torts committed by the insured. Even if a provider were so irrational as to want to provide such coverage, it is against the public policy of most countries to allow such insurance to exist, and thus it is usually illegal.

Complexity of insurance policy contracts
Insurance policies can be complex and some policyholders may not understand all the fees and coverages included in a policy. As a result, people may buy policies on unfavorable terms. In response to these issues, many countries have enacted detailed statutory and

regulatory regimes governing every aspect of the insurance business, including minimum standards for policies and the ways in which they may be advertised and sold. Many institutional insurance purchasers buy insurance through an insurance broker. Brokers represent the buyer (not the insurance company), and typically counsel the buyer on appropriate coverage and policy limitations. A broker generally holds contracts with many insurers, thereby allowing the broker to "shop" the market for the best rates and coverage possible. Insurance may also be purchased through an agent. Unlike a broker, who represents the policyholder, an agent represents the insurance company from whom the policyholder buys. An agent can represent more than one company.

Redlining
Redlining is the practice of denying insurance coverage in specific geographic areas, supposedly because of a high likelihood of loss, while the alleged motivation is unlawful discrimination. Racial profiling or redlining has a long history in the property insurance industry in the United States. From a review of industry underwriting and marketing materials, court documents, and research by government agencies, industry and community groups, and academics, it is clear that race has long affected and continues to affect the policies and practices of the insurance industry.[13] All states have provisions in their rate regulation laws or in their fair trade practice acts that prohibit unfair discrimination, often called redlining, in setting rates and making insurance available.[14] In determining premiums and premium rate structures, insurers consider quantifiable factors, including location, credit scores, gender, occupation, marital status, and education level.

However, the use of such factors is often considered to be unfair or unlawfully discriminatory, and the reaction against this practice has in some instances led to political disputes about the ways in which insurers determine premiums and regulatory intervention to limit the factors used. An insurance underwriter's job is to evaluate a given risk as to the likelihood that a loss will occur. Any factor that causes a greater likelihood of loss should theoretically be charged a higher rate. This basic principle of insurance must be followed if insurance companies are to remain solvent. Thus, "discrimination" against (i.e., negative differential treatment of) potential insureds in the risk evaluation and premium-setting process is a necessary byproduct of the fundamentals of insurance underwriting. For instance, insurers charge older people significantly higher premiums than they charge younger people for term life insurance. Older people are thus treated differently than younger people (i.e., a distinction is made, discrimination occurs). The rationale for the differential treatment goes to the heart of the risk a life insurer takes: Old people are likely to die sooner than young people, so the risk of loss (the insured's death) is greater in any given period of time and therefore the risk premium must be higher to cover the greater risk. However, treating insureds differently when there is no actuarially sound reason for doing so is unlawful discrimination. What is often missing from the debate is that prohibiting the use of legitimate, actuarially sound factors means that an insufficient amount is being charged for a given risk, and there is thus a deficit in the system. The failure to address the deficit may mean insolvency and hardship for all of a company's insureds. The options for addressing the deficit seem to be the following: Charge the deficit to the other policyholders or charge it to the government (i.e., externalize outside of the company to society at large).

Insurance patents
New insurance products can now be protected from copying with a business method patent in the United States. A recent example of a new insurance product that is patented is Usage Based auto insurance. Early versions were independently invented and patented by a major U.S. auto insurance company, Progressive Auto Insurance () and a Spanish independent inventor, Salvador Minguijon Perez . Many independent inventors are in favor of patenting new insurance products since it gives them protection from big companies when they bring their new insurance products to market. Independent inventors account for 70% of the new U.S. patent applications in this area. One such example is titled "Method of Expediting Insurance Claims" Patent 7,203,654 issued April 10, 2007. Many insurance executives are opposed to patenting insurance products because it creates a new risk for them. The Hartford insurance company, for example, recently had to pay $80 million to an independent inventor, Bancorp Services, in order to settle a patent infringement and theft of trade secret lawsuit for a type of corporate owned life insurance product invented and patented by Bancorp. There are currently about 150 new patent applications on insurance inventions filed per year in the United States. The rate at which patents have issued has steadily risen from 15 in 2002 to 44 in

2006. [15] Inventors can now have their insurance U.S. patent applications reviewed by the public in the Peer to Patent program.[16]

The insurance industry and rent seeking
Certain insurance products and practices have been described as rent seeking by critics. That is, some insurance products or practices are useful primarily because of legal benefits, such as reducing taxes, as opposed to providing protection against risks of adverse events. Under United States tax law, for example, most owners of variable annuities and variable life insurance can invest their premium payments in the stock market and defer or eliminate paying any taxes on their investments until withdrawals are made. Sometimes this tax deferral is the only reason people use these products. Another example is the legal infrastructure which allows life insurance to be held in an irrevocable trust which is used to pay an estate tax while the proceeds themselves are immune from the estate tax.

Criticism of insurance companies
The neutrality of this article is disputed. Please see the discussion on the talk page. (September 2008) Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. Some people believe that modern insurance companies are moneymaking businesses which have little interest in insurance. They argue that the purpose of insurance is to spread risk so the reluctance of insurance companies to take on high-risk cases (e.g. houses in areas subject to flooding, or young drivers) runs counter

to the principle of insurance. Other criticisms include: • Insurance policies contain too many exclusion clauses. For example, some house insurance policies do not cover damage to garden walls.

• Many insurance companies now use call centres and staff attempt to answer questions by reading from a script. It is difficult to speak to anybody with expert knowledge. While policyholders find their premium payments decrease when dealing with companies who sacrifice the use of trained insurance agents, they also risk greater financial loss due to inadequate coverage protection. Those companies who invest in educated insurance agents provide a valued service to the community. Policyholders who work with knowledgeable insurance agents are more likely to identify needs, evaluate options, purchase sufficient insurance protection, and minimize the risk of heavy financial loss for themselves and their family.

About ICICI PRU Life
ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company is a joint venture between ICICI Bank - one of India's foremost financial services companies-and Prudential plc - a leading international financial services group headquartered in the United Kingdom. Total capital infusion stands at Rs. 42.72 billion, with ICICI Bank holding a stake of 74% and Prudential plc holding 26%. We began our operations in December 2000 after receiving approval from Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA). Today, our nation-wide team comprises of over 2000 branches (inclusive of 1,095 micro-offices), over 261,000 advisors; and 24 bancassurance partners. ICICI Prudential is the first life insurer in India to receive a National Insurer Financial Strength rating of AAA (Ind) from Fitch ratings. For three years in a row, ICICI Prudential has been voted as India's Most Trusted Private Life Insurer, by The Economic Times - AC Nielsen ORG Marg survey of 'Most Trusted Brands'. As we grow our distribution, product range and customer base, we continue to tirelessly uphold our commitment to deliver world-class financial solutions to customers all over India.

The ICICI Prudential Edge
The ICICI Prudential edge comes from our commitment to our customers, in all that we do - be it product development, distribution, the sales process or servicing. Here's a peek into what makes us leaders. 1. Our products have been developed after a clear and thorough understanding of customers' needs. It is this research that helps us develop Education plans that offer the ideal way to truly guarantee your child's education, Retirement solutions that are a hedge against inflation and yet promise a fixed income after you retire, or Health insurance that arms you with the funds you might need to recover from a dreaded disease. 2. Having the right products is the first step, but it's equally important to ensure that our customers can access them easily and quickly. To this end, ICICI Prudential has an advisor base across the length and breadth of the country, and also partners with leading banks, corporate agents and brokers to distribute our products .

3. Robust risk management and underwriting practices form the core of our business. With clear guidelines in place, we ensure equitable costing of risks, and thereby ensure a smooth and hasslefree claims process. 4. Entrusted with helping our customers meet their long-term goals, we adopt an investment philosophy that aims to achieve risk adjusted returns over the long-term. 5. Last but definitely not the least, our 28,000 plus strong team is given the opportunity to learn and grow, every day in a multitude of ways. We believe this keeps them engaged and enthusiastic, so that they can deliver on our promise to cover you, at every step in life.

Vision & Values
Our vision:
To be the dominant Life, Health and Pensions player built on trust by world-class people and service. This we hope to achieve by: • Understanding the needs of customers and offering them superior products and service • Leveraging technology to service customers quickly, efficiently and conveniently • Developing and implementing superior risk management and investment strategies to offer sustainable and stable returns to our policyholders

• Providing an enabling environment to foster growth and learning for our employees • And above all, building transparency in all our dealings The success of the company will be founded in its unflinching commitment to 5 core values -- Integrity, Customer First, Boundaryless, Ownership and Passion. Each of the values describe what the company stands for, the qualities of our people and the way we work. We do believe that we are on the threshold of an exciting new opportunity, where we can play a significant role in redefining and reshaping the sector. Given the quality of our parentage and the commitment of our team, there are no limits to our growth.

Our values :
Every member of the ICICI Prudential team is committed to 5 core values: Integrity, Customer First, Boundaryless, Ownership, and Passion. These values shine forth in all we do, and have become the keystones of our success.

Promoters
ICICI Bank
ICICI Bank Limited (NYSE:IBN) is India's largest private sector bank and the second largest bank in the country, with consolidated total assets of $121 billion as of March 31, 2008. ICICI Bank’s subsidiaries include

India’s leading private sector insurance companies and among its largest securities brokerage firms, mutual funds and private equity firms. ICICI Bank’s presence currently spans 19 countries, including India.

Prudential Plc
Established in London in 1848, Prudential plc, through its businesses in the UK, Europe, US, Asia and the Middle East, provides retail financial services products and services to more than 20 million customers, policyholder and unit holders and manages over £267 billion of funds worldwide (as of December 31, 2007). In Asia, Prudential is the leading European life insurance company with life operations in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Prudential is one of the largest retail fund managers for Asian sourced assets ex-Japan. Its fund management business has expanded into ten markets, comprising of China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam and United Arab Emirates.

Fact Sheet
The Company
ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company is a joint venture between ICICI Bank, a premier financial powerhouse, and Prudential plc, a leading international financial services group headquartered in the United Kingdom. ICICI Prudential was amongst the first private sector insurance companies to begin operations in December 2000 after receiving approval from Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA).

ICICI Prudential Life's capital stands at Rs. 42.72 billion (as of June 30, 2008) with ICICI Bank and Prudential plc holding 74% and 26% stake respectively. For the quarter ended June 30, 2008, the company garnered Retail Weighted New Business Premium of Rs. 1,174 crores as against Rs 810 crores for the quarter ended June 30, 2007, thereby posting a growth of 45% and has underwritten over 6 lakh policies over this period. The company has assets held over Rs. 30,600 crore as on August 31, 2008. ICICI Prudential Life is also the only private life insurer in India to receive a National Insurer Financial Strength rating of AAA (Ind) from Fitch ratings. The AAA (Ind) rating is the highest rating, and is a clear assurance of ICICI Prudential's ability to meet its obligations to customers at the time of maturity or claims. For the past seven years, ICICI Prudential Life has retained its leadership position in the life insurance industry with a wide range of flexible products that meet the needs of the Indian customer at every step in life.

Distribution
ICICI Prudential Life has one of the largest distribution networks amongst private life insurers in India. It has a strong presence across India with over 2000 branches (includung 1,095 micro-offices) and an advisor base of over 261,000 (as on August 31, 2008). The company has 24 bancassurance partners having tie-ups with ICICI Bank, Bank of India, South Indian Bank, Shamrao Vitthal Co-Op Bank, Jalgaon Peoples Co-op Bank, Ernakulam District Co-op Bank, Idukki District Co-op Bank, Ratnagiri Sindhudurg Gramin Bank, Solapur Gramin Bank, Wainganga Kshetriya Gramin Bank, Aryawart Gramin Bank,

Jharkhand Gramin Bank, Narmada Malwa Gramin Bank, Baitarani Gramya Bank, Ratnagiri District Central Co-op Bank, Seva Vikas Co-op Bank, Sangli Urban Co-Operative Bank, Baramati Co-operative Bank, Ballia Kshetriya Co-Operative Bank, The Haryana State Co-Operative Bank, Renuka Nagrik Sahakari Bank, Amanath Co-Operative Bank, Arvind Sahakari Bank, Bhandara Urban Co Operative Bank

Products
Insurance Solutions for Individuals
ICICI Prudential Life Insurance offers a range of innovative, customercentric products that meet the needs of customers at every life stage. Its products can be enhanced with up to 4 riders, to create a customized solution for each policyholder.

Savings & Wealth Creation Solutions
• Save'n'Protect is a traditional endowment savings plan that offers life protection along with adequate returns. • CashBak is an anticipated endowment policy ideal for meeting milestone expenses like a child's marriage, expenses for a child's higher education or purchase of an asset. It is available for terms of 15 and 20 years.

• LifeTime Gold is a unit-linked plan that offers customers the flexibility and control to customize the policy to meet the changing needs at different life stages. It offers 7 fund options - Preserver,

Protector, Balancer, Flexi Balanced Multiplier, R.I.C.H and Flexi Growth. • LifeStage RP is unit linked plan that provides you with an option of lifecycle-based portfolio strategy that continuously re-distributes your money across various asset classes based on your life stage. This will help you achieve the right Asset Allocation to meet your desired financial goals. • LifeLink Super is a single premium unit linked insurance plan which combines life insurance cover with the opportunity to stay invested in the stock market. • Premier Life Gold is a limited premium paying plan specially structured for long-term wealth creation. • InvestShield Life New is a unit linked plan that provides premium guarantee on the invested premiums and ensures that the customer receives only the benefits of fund appreciation without any of the risks of depreciation. • InvestShield Cashbak is a unit linked plan that provides premium guarantee on the invested premiums along with flexible liquidity options. • LifeStage Assure a unit linked insurance plan that provide upto 450 % of first year premium guarantee on maturity, with the additional advantage of a lifecycle based portfolio strategy that allocates the investor’s money across various asset classes based on his life stage and risk appetite.

Protection Solutions
• LifeGuard is a protection plan, which offers life cover at low cost. It is available in 3 options - level term assurance, level term assurance

with return of premium & single premium. • HomeAssure is a mortgage reducing term assurance plan designed specifically to help customers cover their home loans in a simple and cost-effective manner.

Education Solutions
• SmartKid New ULRP provides guaranteed educational benefits to a child along with life insurance cover for the parent who purchases the policy. The policy is designed to provide money at important milestones in the child's life. SmartKid plans are also available in traditional form.

Retirement Solutions
• ForeverLife is a traditional retirement product that offers guaranteed returns for the first 4 years and then declares bonuses annually. • LifeTime Super Pension is a regular premium unit linked pension plan that helps one accumulate over the long term and offers 5 annuity options (life annuity, life annuity with return of purchase price, joint life last survivor annuity with return of purchase price, life annuity guaranteed for 5, 10 and 15 years & for life thereafter, joint life, last survivor annuity without return of purchase price) at the time of retirement. • LifeStage Pension is a regular premium unit linked pension plan that provides you with a unique lifecycle-based strategy that continuously re-distributes your money across various asset classes based on your life stage, eventually providing you with a customized retirement solution. • LifeLink Super Pension is a single premium unit linked pension plan. • Immediate Annuity is a single premium annuity product that guarantees income for life at the time of retirement. It offers the

benefit of 5 payout options. • PremierLife Pension is a unique and convenient retirement solution with a limited premium paying term of three or five years, to suit professionals and businessmen, especially those who require more flexibility and customization while planning their finances.

Health Solutions
• Health Assure Plus: Health Assure is a regular premium plan which provides long term cover against 6 critical illnesses by providing policyholder with financial assistance, irrespective of the actual medical expenses. Health Assure Plus offers the added advantage of an equivalent life insurance cover. • Cancer Care: is a regular premium plan that pays cash benefit on the diagnosis as well as at different stages in the treatment of various cancer conditions. • Cancer Care Plus: is a wellness plan that includes all the benefits of Cancer Care and also provides an additional benefit of free periodical cancer screenings. • Diabetes Care: Diabetes Care is a unique critical illness product specially developed for individuals with Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. It makes payments on diagnosis on any of 6 diabetes related critical illnesses, and also offers a coordinated care approach to managing the condition. Diabetes Care Plus also offers life cover. • Diabetes Care Plus: is a unique insurance policy that provides an additional benefit of life cover for Type 2 diabetics and pre-diabetics • Hospital Care: is a fixed benefit plan covering various stages of treatment - hospitalisation, ICU, procedures & recuperating allowance. It covers a range of medical conditions (900 surgeries) and has a long term guaranteed coverage upto 20 years.

• Crisis Cover : is a 360-degree product that will provide long-term coverage against 35 critical illnesses, total and permanent disability, and death. • MediAssure is a health insurance policy that provides assured insurability till age 75 years, assured coverage for accepted preexisting illnesses after 2 years and an assured price for 3 years. • Group Insurance Solutions ICICI Prudential Life also offers Group Insurance Solutions for companies seeking to enhance benefits to their employees. • Group Gratuity Plan: ICICI Prudential Life's group gratuity plan helps employers fund their statutory gratuity obligation in a scientific manner and also avail of tax benefits as applicable to approved gratuity funds. • Group Superannuation Plan: ICICI Prudential Life offers a flexible market linked scheme that provides substantial benefits to both employers and employees. Both defined contribution (DC) and defined benefit (DB) schemes are offered to optimise returns for members of the trust and rationalise cost. Members have the option of choosing from various annuity options or opting for a partial commutation of the annuity at the time of retirement.

• Group Immediate Annuities: ICICI Prudential Life realises the importance of prudent retirement planning. With this in mind, we have developed a suite of annuity products that not only give you an income for life but also provide you options to match your needs. In addition to the

annuities offered to existing superannuation customers, we offer immediate annuities to superannuation funds not managed by us. • Group Term Plan: ICICI Prudential Life's flexible group term solution helps provide an affordable cover to members of a group. The cover could be uniform or based on designation/rank or a multiple of salary. The benefit under the policy is paid to the beneficiary nominated by the member on his/her death.

Flexible Rider Options
ICICI Prudential Life offers flexible riders, which can be added to the basic policy at a marginal cost, depending on the specific needs of the customer. 1. Accident & disability benefit: If death occurs as the result of an accident during the term of the policy, the beneficiary receives an additional amount equal to the rider sum assured under the policy. If an accident results in total and permanent disability, 10% of rider sum assured will be paid each year, from the end of the 1st year after the disability date for the remainder of the base policy term or 10 years, whichever is lesser. If the death occurs while travelling in an authorized mass transport vehicle, the beneficiary will be entitled to twice the sum assured as additional benefit. 2. Critical Illness Benefit: protects the insured against financial loss in the event of 9 specified critical illnesses. Benefits are payable to the insured for medical expenses prior to death. 3. Waiver of Premium: In case of total and permanent disability due to an accident, the future premiums continue to be paid by the company till the time of maturity. This rider is available with SmartKid,

LifeTime Plus, LifeTime Super and LifeTime Super Pension. 4. Income benefit rider: In case of death of the life assured during the term of the policy, 10% of the sum assured is paid annually to the nominee on each policy anniversary till the maturity of the rider.

About the Promoters
ICICI Bank
ICICI Bank Limited (NYSE:IBN) is India's largest private sector bank and the second largest bank in the country, with consolidated total assets of $1 1 2.6 billion as of June 30 , 2008. ICICI Bank’s subsidiaries include India’s leading private sector insurance companies and among its largest securities brokerage firms, mutual funds and private equity firms. ICICI Bank’s presence currently spans 19 countries, including India. Established in London in 1848, Prudential plc, through its businesses in the UK, Europe, US, Asia and the Middle East, provides retail financial services products and services to more than 21 million customers, policyholder and unit holders and manages over £256 billion of funds worldwide (as of June 30, 2008). In Asia, Prudential is the leading Europebased life insurer with life operations in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Prudential is one of the largest asset management companies in terms of overall assets sourced in Asia ex-japan, with £34.3 billion funds under management (as of June 30, 2008) and operations in ten markets including China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam and United Arab Emirates.

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