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Definition of A/C

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A/C

An abbreviation for air conditioner or air conditioning.



Related Terms:

A/C Condenser

The outside fan unit of the air conditioning system. It removes the heat from the freon gas, "turns" the gas back into a liquid, and pumps the liquid back to the coil in the furnace.


A/C Disconnect

The main electrical ON-OFF switch near the A/C condenser.


Annuity

A contract which provides an income for a specified period of time, such as a certain number of years or for life. An annuity is like a life insurance policy in reverse. The purchaser gives the life insurance company a lump sum of money and the life insurance company pays the purchaser a regular income, usually monthly.


Assuris

Assuris is a not for profit organization that protects Canadian policyholders in the event that their life insurance company should become insolvent. Their role is to protect policyholders by minimizing loss of benefits and ensuring a quick transfer of their policies to a solvent company where their benefits will continue to be honoured. Assuris is funded by the life insurance industry and endorsed by government. If you are a Canadian citizen or resident, and you purchased a product from a member life insurance company in Canada, you are protected by Assuris.
All life insurance companies authorized to sell in Canada are required, by the federal, provincial and territorial regulators, to become members of Assuris. Members cannot terminate their membership as long as they are licensed to write business in Canada or have any in force business in Canada.
If your life insurance company fails, your policies will be transferred to a solvent company. Assuris guarantees that you will retain at least 85% of the insurance benefits you were promised. Insurance benefits include Death, Health Expense, Monthly Income and Cash Value. Your deposit type products will also be transferred to a solvent company. For these products, Assuris guarantees that you will retain 100% of your Accumulated Value up to $100,000. Deposit type products include accumulation annuities, universal life overflow accounts, premium deposit accounts and dividend deposit accounts. The key to Assuris protection is that it is applied to all benefits of a similar type. If you have more than one policy with the failed company, you will need to add together all similar benefits before applying the Assuris protection. The Assuris website can be found at www.assuris.ca.


Cash Surrender Value

This is the amount available to the owner of a life insurance policy upon voluntary termination of the policy before it becomes payable by the death of the life insured. This does not apply to term insurance but only to those policies which have reduced paid up values and cash surrender values. A cash surrender in lieu of death benefit usually has tax implications.



Compound Interest

Interest earned on an investment at periodic intervals and added to principal and previous interest earned. Each time new interest earned is calculated it is on a combined total of principal and previous interest earned. Essentially, interest is paid on top of interest.


Contingent Beneficiary

This is the person designated to receive the death benefit of a life insurance policy if the primary beneficiary dies before the life insured. This is a consideration when husband and wife make each other the beneficiary of their coverage. Should they both die in the same car accident or plane crash, the death benefits would go to each others estate and creditor claims could be made against them. Particularly if minor children could be survivors, then a trustee contingent beneficiary should be named.


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Conversion Right

Term life insurance products are offered as non-convertible or convertible to a certain time in the future. The coversion right has a time limit, usually to the policy holder's age 60 or possibly even age 70. This right means that the policy holder has the right to convert their existing policy to another specific different plan of permanent insurance within the specified time period, without providing evidence of insurability. There is a slightly higher cost for a term policy with the conversion priviledge but it is a valuable feature should a policy holder's health change for the worst and continued insurance coverage becomes a necessity.
Most often this right is also granted to individuals covered under employee group benefit policies where individuals leaving the employee group have a limited amount of time, usually anywhere from 30 to 90 days, to convert to a specific permanent individual policy without evidence of insurability.


Dividend

As the term dividend relates to a corporation's earnings, a dividend is an amount paid per share from a corporation's after tax profits. Depending on the type of share, it may or may not have the right to earn any dividends and corporations may reduce or even suspend dividend payments if they are not doing well. Some dividends are paid in the form of additional shares of the corporation. Dividends paid by Canadian corporations qualify for the dividend tax credit and are taxed at lower rates than other income.
As the term dividend relates to a life insurance policy, it means that if that policy is "participating", the policy owner is entitled to participate in an equitable distribution of the surplus earnings of the insurance company which issued the policy. Surpluses arise primarily from three sources:
1) the difference between anticipated and actual operating expenses,
2) the difference between anticipated and actual claims experience, and
3) interest earned on investments over and above the rate required to maintain policy reserves. Having regard to the source of the surplus, the "dividend" so paid can be considered, in part at least, as a refund of part of the premium paid by the policy owner.
Life insurance policy owners of participating policies usually have four and sometimes five dividend options from which to choose:
1) take the dividend in cash,
2) apply the dividend to reduce current premiums,
3) leave the dividends on deposit with the insurance company to accumulate at interest like a savings plan,
4) use the dividends to purchase paid-up whole life insurance to mature at the same time as the original policy,
5) use the dividends to purchase one year term insurance equal to the guaranteed cash value at the end of the policy year, with any portion of the dividend not required for this purpose being applied under one of the other dividend options.
NOTE: It is suggested here that if you have a participating whole life policy and at the time of purchase received a "dividend projection" of incredible future savings, ask for a current projection. Life insurance company's surpluses are not what they used to be.


Endowment

Life insurance payable to the policyholder, if living on the maturity date stated in the policy, or to a beneficiary if the insured dies before that date. For example, some Term to age 100 policies offer the option of taking the face amount of the policy as a cash payout at age 100 if the policyholder is still alive and paying all required income taxes on the amount received or leaving the policy to pay out upon death whereupon the payout is tax free.


Errors and Omissions Insurance

Insurance coverage purchased by the agent/broker which provides protection against loss incurred by a client because of some negligent act, error, oversight, or omission by the agent/broker.


Group Life Insurance

This is a very common form of life insurance which is found in employee benefit plans and bank mortgage insurance. In employee benefit plans the form of this insurance is usually one year renewable term insurance. The cost of this coverage is based on the average age of everyone in the group. Therefore a group of young people would have inexpensive rates and an older group would have more expensive rates.
Some people rely on this kind of insurance as their primary coverage forgetting that group life insurance is a condition of employment with their employer. The coverage is not portable and cannot be taken with you if you change jobs. If you have a change in health, you may not qualify for new coverage at your new place of employment.
Bank mortgage insurance is also usually group insurance and you can tell this by virtue of the fact that you only receive a certificate of insurance, and not a complete policy. The only form in which bank mortgage insurance is sold is reducing term insurance, matching the declining mortgage balance. The only beneficiary that can be chosen for this kind of insurance is the bank. In both cases, employee benefit plan group insurance and bank mortgage insurance, the coverage is not guaranteed. This means that coverage can be cancelled by the insurance company underwriting that particular plan, if they are experiencing excessive claims.


Independent Broker

This is a provincial government licensed independent businessperson who usually represents five or more life insurance companies in a sales and service capacity and who is paid a commission by those life insurance companies for sales and service of life insurance products. We for example, have been in business for 12 years and regularly place new business with over twenty different life insurance companies.


Living Benefit

Some insurance companies include this benefit option at no cost to their policy holders. The insurer considers on a case to case basis, the need for insurance funds before death. If the insured can demonstrate a shortened life of less than two years and with some insurers one year, the insurer will consider releasing up to 50% or a maximum of $100,000 of the life insurance coverage held by the insured. Not all insurers offer this benefit for free. The need has resulted in specific stand alone living benefit/critical illness policies coming into existence. Look under "Different types of Life Insurance" for further information. You might have heard of "Viatical Settlements", the practice of seriously ill people selling the rights to their life insurance policies to third parties. This practice is common in the United States but has not caught on in Canada.


Owner

This is the person who owns the insurance policy. It is usually the same person as the insured but it could be someone else who has the permission of the insured to be the owner, like a spouse, a common-law-spouse, an offspring, a parent, a corporation with insurable interest or a business partner with insurable interest. In order for someone else to be an owner of your policy, they have to have a legitimate insurable interest in you.


Policyholder

This is the person who owns a life insurance policy. This is usually the insured person, but it may also be a relative of the insured, a partnership or a corporation. There are instances in marriage breakup (or relationship breakup with dependent children) where appropriate life insurance on the support provider, owned and paid for by the ex-spouse receiving the support is an acceptable method of ensuring future security.


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Registered Pension Plan

Commonly referred to as an RPP this is a tax sheltered employee group plan approved by Federal and Provincial governments allowing employees to have deductions made directly from their wages by their employer with a resulting reduction of income taxes at source. These plans are easy to implement but difficult to dissolve should the group have a change of heart. Employer contributions are usually a percentage of the employee's salary, typically from 3% to 5%, with a maximum of the lessor of 20% or $3,500 per annum. The employee has the same right of contribution. Vesting is generally set at 2 years, which means that the employee has right of ownership of both his/her and his/her employers contributions to the plan after 2 years. It also means that all contributions are locked in after 2 years and cannot be cashed in for use by the employee in a low income year. Should the employee change jobs, these funds can only be transferred to the RPP of a new employer or the funds can be transferred to an individual RRSP (or any number of RRSPs) but in either scenario, the funds are locked in and cannot be accessed until at least age 60. The only choices available to access locked in RPP funds after age 60 are the conversion to a Life Income Fund or a Unisex Annuity.
To further define an RPP, Registered Pension Plans take two forms; Defined Benefit or Defined Contribution (also known as money purchase plans). The Defined Benefit plan establishes the amount of money in advance that is to be paid out at retirement based usually on number of years of employee service and various formulae involving percentages of average employee earnings. The Defined Benefit plan is subject to constant government scrutiny to make certain that sufficient contributions are being made to provide for the predetermined pension payout. On the other hand, the Defined Contribution plan is considerably easier to manage. The employer simply determines the percentage to be contributed within the prescribed limits. Whatever amount has grown in the employee's reserve by retirement determines how much the pension payout will be by virtue of the amount of LIF or Annuity payout it will purchase.
The most simple group RRSP plan is a group billed RRSP. This means that each employee has his own RRSP plan and the employer deducts the contributions directly from the employee's wages and sends them directly to the RRSP plan administrator. Regular RRSP rules apply in that maximum contribution in the current year is the lessor of 18% or $13,500. Generally, to encourage this kind of plan, the employer also agrees to make a regular contribution to the employee's plans, knowing full well that any contributions made immediately belong to the employee. Should the employee change jobs, he/she can take their plan with them and continue making contributions or cash it in and pay tax in the year in which the money is taken into income.


Registered Retirement Savings Plan (Canada)

Commonly referred to as an RRSP, this is a tax sheltered and tax deferred savings plan recognized by the Federal and Provincial tax authorities, whereby deposits are fully tax deductable in the year of deposit and fully taxable in the year of receipt. The ability to defer taxes on RRSP earnings allows one to save much faster than is ordinarily possible. The new rules which apply to RRSP's are that the holder of such a plan must convert it into income by the end of the year in which the holder turns age 69. The choices for conversion are to simply cash it in an pay full tax in the year of receipt, convert it to a RRIF and take a varying stream of income, paying tax on the amount received annually until the income is exhausted, or converting it into an annuity with guaranteed payments for a chosen number of years, again paying tax each year on moneys received.
If you are currently 69 years of age, you may still contribute to your own RRSP until December 31st of this year and realize a tax deduction on this year's income. You must also, however, make provisions before December 31st of the year for converting your RRSP into either a RRIF or an annuity, otherwise, the full balance of your RRSP becomes taxable on January 1 of the following year. If you are older than age 69, still have earned income, and have a younger spouse, you may continue to contribute to a spousal RRSP until that spouse reaches 69 years of age. Contributions would be based on your own contribution level and are deducted from your taxable income.



Replacement

This subject of replacement of existing policies is covered because sometimes existing life insurance policies are unnecessarily replaced with new coverage resulting in a loss of valuable benefits. If someone suggests replacing your existing coverage, insist on having a comparison disclosure statement completed.
The most important policies to examine in detail are those which were issued in Canada prior to December 2, 1982. If you have a policy of this vintage with a significant cash surrender value, you may want to consider keeping it. It has special tax advantages over policies issued after December 2, 1982.
Basically, the difference is this. The cash surrender value of a pre December, 1982 policy can be converted to an annuity in accordance with the settlement options in the policy and as a result, the tax on any policy gain can be spread over the duration of the annuity. Since only the interest element of the annuity payment will be taxed, there will be less of a tax impact on the annuitant. Policies issued after December 2, 1982 which have their cash surrender value annuitized trigger a disposition and the annuitant must pay tax on the total policy gain immediately. If you still decide to replace existing coverage, don't cancel what you have until the new coverage has been issued.


Temporary Life Insurance

Temporary insurance coverage is available at time of application for a life insurance policy if certain conditions are met. Normally, temporary coverage relates to free coverage while the insurance company which is underwriting the risk, goes through the process of deciding whether or not they will grant a contract of coverage. The qualifications for temporary coverage vary from insurance company to insurance company but generally applicants will qualify if they are between the ages of 18 and 65, have no knowledge or suspicions of ill health, have not been absent from work for more than 7 days within the prior 6 months because of sickness or injury and total coverage applied for from all sources does not exceed $500,000. Normally a cheque covering a minimum of one months premium is required to complete the conditions for this kind of coverage. The insurance company applies this deposit towards the cost of a policy at its issue date, which may be several weeks in the future.


Term Life Insurance

A plan of insurance which covers the insured for only a certain period of time and not necessarily for his or her entire life. The policy pays a death benefit only if the insured dies during the term.


Viatical Settlement

A dictionary meaning for the word viatica is "the eucharist as given to a dying person or to one in danger of death". In the context of Viatical Settlement it means the selling of one's own life insurance policy to another in exchange for an immediate percentage of the death benefit. The person or in many cases, group of persons buying the rights to the policy have high expectation of the imminent death of the previous owner. The sooner the death of the previous owner, the higher the profit. Consumer knowledge about this subject is poor and little is known about the entities that fund the companies that purchase policies. People should be very careful when considering the sale of their policy, and they should remember a sale of their life insurance means some group of strangers now owns a contract on their life. If a senior finds it difficult to pay for an insurance policy it might be a better choice to request that current beneficiaries take over the burden of paying the premium. The practice selling personal life insurance policies common in the United States and is spilling over into Canada. It would appear to have a definite conflict with Canada's historical view of 'insurable interest'.


Annual Premium

Yearly amount payable by a client for a policy or component.


Benefit

An instruction that pays a cash amount upon the occurrence of a specific event.


Bond

Fixed interest security issued by a corporation or government, having a specific maturity date.


Borrower (Credit Insurance)

A consumer who borrows money from a lender.


Commercial Business Loan (Credit Insurance)

An agreement between a creditor and a borrower, where the creditor has loaned an amount to the borrower for business purposes.


Creditor (Credit Insurance)

A lender or lending institution that offers financing and loans to a borrower, for the purpose of acquiring a commodity.



Critical Illness Insurance

Coverage that provides a lump-sum payment should you be diagnosed with a critical illness and survive a pre-determined period of time. There are no restrictions on how you use your benefit.


Illustration

An illustration is a computer-generated spreadsheet that takes into account a number of assumptions in order to show how a specific policy might perform for a specific individual.


Insurance Act

In Canada, a general statute that contains most of the insurance law of a common law province, and regulates the conduct of insurers and insurance agents within the province.


Mortgage (Credit Insurance)

An agreement between a creditor and a borrower, where the creditor has loaned an amount to the borrower for purposes of purchasing a loan secured by a home.


Pre-Authorized Cheque (PAC)

Withdrawals generated by a company (with client's permission) against a client's bank account on a predetermined schedule for a predetermined amount.


Pre-existing medical condition (Credit Insurance)

A medical condition that existed before you became insured. Most policies exclude benefits if the condition is related to the event that triggers a claim if occurs within a certain period (6-12 months) after you became insured.


Premium

Annual amount payable, by a client, for selected product or service.


Premium (Credit Insurance)

Annual or monthly amounts payable, by a client, for a selected insurance coverage to insure debt obligations to their creditors are protected.


Terminate

Cease all legal obligations under a contract.


Underwriter

Person that uses various types of evidence to evaluate the insurability of a client.


Underwriting

Evaluating and classifying potential risk of a client.


Waiting Period (Credit Insurance)

A specific time that must pass following the onset of a covered disability before any benefits will be paid under a creditor disability policy. (Also known as an elimination period).


Agreement of Purchase and Sale

A legal agreement that offers a certain price for a home. The offer may be firm (no conditions attached), or conditional (certain conditions must be fulfilled before the deal can be closed).


Fire Insurance

Before a mortgage can be advanced, the purchaser must have arranged fire insurance. A certificate or binder from the insurance company may be required on closing.


Interest Rate Differential Amount (IRD)

An IRD amount is a compensation charge that may apply if you pay off your mortgage principal prior to the maturity date or pay the mortgage principal down beyond the prepayment privilege amount. The IRD amount is calculated on the amount being prepaid using an interest rate equal to the difference between your existing mortgage interest rate and the interest rate that we can now charge when re-lending the funds for the remaining term of the mortgage. For more information, click on compensation amounts.


Prepayment Charge

A fee charged by the lender when the borrower prepays all or part of a closed mortgage more quickly than is set out in the mortgage agreement.


Binder

An offer to purchase or earnest money receipt, acknowledging a deposit along with agreement to enter into a contract for the sale of real estate.


Contingency

A condition that must be satisfied before a contract is binding. Inspection and obtaining financing are the two most common.


Courtyard home

A home with a courtyard as its main entrance.


Lock

Fixing of an interest rate or points at a certain level.


Mortgage broker

An independent individual (or company) who brings together borrowers and lenders together. Unlike a mortgage banker, a mortgage broker does not fund the loan. Instead, the broker originates and processes the loan, and places it with a funding source, such as a bank or thrift. Brokers typically require a fee or a commission for their services.


Recording fee

A charge from the city or county for recording the transfer of the property.


Architect

One who has completed a course of study in building and design, and is licensed by the state as an architect. One who draws up plans and sometimes supervises the construction of homes.


Bay Window

A window that projects outward in a curve.


Braced Framing

A construction method in two-story homes in which the frame is reinforced with posts and braces.


Builder's Risk Insurance

Insurance coverage on a construction project during construction, including extended coverage that may be added for the contract for the customer's protections.


Building Code

A comprehensive set of laws that controls the construction or remodeling of a home or other structure.


Circuit Breaker

A device which looks like a switch and is usually located inside the electrical panel or circuit breaker box. It is designed to (1) shut of the power to portions or all of the house and (2) to limit the amount of power flowing through a circuit (measured in amperes). 110 volt household circuits require a fuse or circuit breaker with a rating of 15 or a maximum of 20 amps. '220' volt circuits may be designed for higher amperage loads e.g. a hot water heater may be designed for a 30 amp load and would therefore need a 30 amp fuse or breaker. also see GFI


Closed Loop

A system in which each component is connected to the next component with the last component being connected to the original device. Forms a complete circle.


Coffered Ceiling

A ceiling with recessed square panels, bordered with trim for ornamental purposes.


Convection

Convection is the transfer of heat in fluid or air, caused by the movement of the heated air or fluid itself. In a building space, warm air rises and cold air settles to create a convection loop and is termed free convection. Convection can also be caused mechanically by a fan and is termed forced convection.


Draw

The amount of progress billings on a contract that is currently available to a contractor under a contract with a fixed payment schedule.


Flashing

The building component used to connect portions of a roof, deck, or siding material to another surface such as a chimney, wall, or vent pipe. Often made out of various metals, rubber or tar and is mostly intended to prevent water entry.


Flat Ceiling

A ceiling with no change in elevation.


Forced Air Heating

A common form of heating with natural gas, propane, oil or electricity as a fuel. Air is heated in the furnace and distributed through a set of metal ducts to various areas of the house.


Ground Fault Current Interrupter

An electrical device used to prevent injury from contact with faulty electrical appliances and faulty wiring
electrical shocks. GFIs should not be confused with AFIs, the later are designed to prevent electrical fires. GFIs are required in new home bathrooms, kitchen, garage, out of doors and in other locations where one might be in contact with a grounded surface or body of water and an electrical appliance. Most GFI's are located in the receptacle itself or a curcuit breaker and can be identified by the presence of a 'test' and a 'reset' button.


Header

A crossbeam above a window or door.


Ice Dam

A condition which can occur with snow and freezing conditions. When snow or ice melts on a roof over a heated or partially heated attic space, the melting water may refreeze over an unheated areas such as a roof overhang. This re-frozen water may create a "dam" and allow additional melt water to back up under shingles and cause leaks (Illustration "A"). Solutions include: proper roof venting and insulation (Illustration "B"), membrane roofing or roofing underlayment, and heat tapes. Once an ice dam occurs, remedies are difficult and or dangerous. Working on a frozen roof should be avoided, as should the use of any open flames. The use of hot water to melt the ice may help, it may also increase the amount of leakage.


KS

Knee space in a cabinet or under a desk.


Low-Voltage System

Provides security, entertainment, communications, environmental control, networking, and other functions generally powered by a signal cable, phone line or data cable. Is not typically metered.


Mullion

A vertical piece of stone, metal, or wood that divides the panes of a window, the panels of a screen or the doors of a cabinet.


Palladian Window

One larger window with a circle top window above and usually has two smaller, rectangular windows on each side.


Plenum

A chamber which can serve as a distribution area for heating or cooling systems, generally between a false ceiling and the actual ceiling.


Porte-cochere

A carriage entrance leading through a building or wall into an inner courtyard. Also, a roofed structure covering a driveway at the entrance of a building to provide shelter while entering or leaving a vehicle.


R Value

A measure of insulation. A measure of a material's resistance to the passage of heat. The higher the R value, the more insulating "power" it has. For example, typical new home's walls are usually insulated with 4" of batt insulation with an R value of R-13, and a ceiling insulation of R-30.


Radiation

Radiation is the transfer of heat or energy from a hot surface to a cold surface through air or through a vacuum.


Reflective Insulation System

Reflective Insulation System is formed by a combination of low emittance surfaces and air spaces that provide reflective cavities, which have low levels of radiant energy transmission.


Scotia

A concave molding.


Seepage Pit

A sewage disposal system composed of a septic tank and a connected cesspool.


Vaulted Ceiling

A ceiling that angles upward on one or both sides to create volume in the room.


Window Buck

Square or rectangular box that is installed within a concrete foundation or block wall. A window will eventually be installed in this "buck" during the siding stage of construction.



 

 

 

 

 

 

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