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Definition of Benefit
An instruction that pays a cash amount upon the occurrence of a specific event.
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.
Coverage against accidental death usually payable in addition to base amount of coverage.
Automatic payment of moneys derived from a benefit.
The amount of cash payable on a benefit.
Amount paid on death of an insured.
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.
This is the person who benefits from the terms of a trust, a will, an RRSP, a RRIF, a LIF, an annuity or a life insurance policy. In relation to RRSP's, RRIF's, LIF's, Annuities and of course life insurance, if the beneficiary is a spouse, parent, offspring or grand-child, they are considered to be a preferred beneficiary. If the insured has named a preferred beneficiary, the death benefit is invariably protected from creditors. There have been some court challenges of this right of protection but so far they have been unsuccessful. See "Creditor Protection" below. A beneficiary under the age of 18 must be represented by an individual guardian over the age of 18 or a public official who represents minors generally. A policy owner may, in the designation of a beneficiary, appoint someone to act as trustee for a minor. Death benefits are not subject to income taxes. If you make your beneficiary your estate, the death benefit will be included in your assets for probate. Probate filing fees are currently $14 per thousand of estate value in British Columbia and $15 per thousand of estate value in Ontario.
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.
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.
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.
Also known as "Dead Janitors Insurance", this is the practice, where allowed, in several U.S. states, of numerous well known large American Corporations taking out corporate owned life insurance policies on millions of their regular employees, often without the knowledge or consent of those employees. Corporations profiting from the deaths of their employees [and sometimes ex-employees] have attracted adverse publicity because ultimate death benefits are seldom, even partially passed down to surviving families.
Insurance that pays you an ongoing income if you become disabled and are unable to pursue employment or business activities. There are limits to how much you can receive based on your pre-disability earnings. Rates will vary based on occupational duties and length of time in a particular industry. This kind of coverage has a waiting period before you can begin collecting benefits, usually 30, 60 or 90 days. The benefit paying period also varies from 2 years to age 65. A short waiting period will cost more that a longer waiting period. As well, a long benefit paying period will cost more than a short benefit paying period.
Investing so that all your eggs are not in the same basket. By spreading your investments over different kinds of investments, you cushion your portfolio against sudden swings in any one area. Segregated equity funds have become a popular and secure way for average investors to get the benefits of greater diversification.
This means that there are two or more life insured on the same policy but the death benefit is paid out on the first death only. If two or more persons at the same address are purchasing life insurance at the same time, it is wise to compare the cost of this kind of coverage with individual policies having a multiple policy discount.
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.
This is the person covered by the life insurance policy. Upon this person's death, a tax free benefit will be paid to that person's estate or a named beneficiary.
Insured Retirement Plan
This is a recently coined phrase describing the concept of using Universal Life Insurance to tax shelter earnings which can be used to generate tax-free income in retirement. The concept has been described by some as "the most effective tax-neutralization strategy that exists in Canada today."
This refers to the termination of an insurance policy due to the owner of the policy failing to pay the premium within the grace period [Usually within 30 days after the last regular premium was required and not paid]. It is possible to re-instate the coverage with the same premium and benefits intact but the life insured will have to qualify for this coverage all over again and bring up to date all unpaid premiums.
This refers to the practice of some life insurance companies to offer policies which are lower in price because they have assumed a high probability that the policies will be cashed in by their owners for one reason or another before the death benefit becomes available. It is a bold and risky offer by the insurance company because sometimes the purchasers of these policies simply don't lapse them.
Last To Die Coverage
This means that there are two or more life insured on the same policy but the death benefit is paid out on the last person to die. The cost of this type of coverage is much less than a first to die policy and it is generally used to protect estate value for children where there might be substantial capital gains taxes due upon the death of the last parent. This kind of policy is also valuable when one of two people covered has health problems which would prohibit obtaining individual coverage.
Commonly sold in the form of reducing term life insurance by lending institutions, this is life insurance with a death benefit reducing to zero over a specific period of time, usually 20 to 25 years. In most instances, the cost of coverage remains level, while the death benefit continues to decline. Re-stated, the cost of this kind of insurance is actually increasing since less death benefit is paid as the outstanding mortgage balance decreases while the cost remains the same. Lending institutions are the most popular sources for this kind of coverage because it is usually sold during the purchase of a new mortgage. The untrained institution mortgage sales person often gives the impression that this is the only place mortgage insurance can be purchased but it is more efficiently purchased at a lower cost and with more flexibility, directly from traditional life insurance companies. No matter where it is purchased, the reducing term insurance death benefit reduces over a set period of years. Most consumers are up-sizing their residences, not down-sizing, so it is likely that more coverage is required as years pass, rather than less coverage.
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.
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.
Split Dollar Life Insurance
The split dollar concept is usually associated with cash value life insurance where there is a death benefit and an accumulation of cash value. The basic premise is the sharing of the costs and benefits of a life insurance policy by two or more parties. Usually one party owns and pays for the insurance protection and the other owns and pays for the cash accumulation. There is no single way to structure a split dollar arrangement. The possible structures are limited only by the imagination of the parties involved.
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.
A type of life insurance or annuity first introduced by Lorenzo Tonti, a Neopolitan banker, in France in the 17th century. It consisted of a fund to which a group of persons contribute, the benefits ultimately accruing to the last survivor or to those surviving after a specified time, in equal shares. The only insurance plans available today which we are aware of that display characteristics of a tontine are some children's Registered Educational Savings Plans (RESP's). These plans generally stipulate that if the child who is covered under the plan does not use the accumulated savings to attend an accredited university, then only the principal invested is returned. All growth in the plan is held to be distributed to other plan holders who do go on to attend university.
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'.
Waiver of Premium
This is an option available to the applicant for life insurance which sets certain conditions under which an insurance policy will be kept in full force by the insurance company without the payment of premiums. Very specifically, a life insured would have to become totally disabled through injury or illness for a period of six months before the benefit kicks in. When it does, the insurance company retroactively pays premiums from the beginning of the disability until the time the insured is able to perform some form of regular activity. 'Totally disabled' is highlited here, because that is what is required to receive this benefit.
Automatic Waiver of Premium
A benefit that automatically forfeits premium payments.
The person designated to receive proceeds entitled by a benefit. Payment of a benefit is triggered by an event.
Beneficiary (Credit Insurance)
The person or party designated to receive proceeds entitled by a benefit. Payment of a benefit is triggered by an event. In the case of credit insurance, the beneficiary will always be the creditor.
Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
A plan that provides retirement and long term disability income benefits to residents of Canadian provinces (excluding Quebec).
Cash Surrender Value
benefit that entitles a policy owner to an amount of money upon cancellation of a policy.
Request for payment of benefits under the terms of an insurance policy.
Person or party making request for payment of benefits under the terms of an insurance policy.
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.
A flat amount that an insured must pay before the insurance company makes any benefit payments under a health insurance policy.
Life insurance or annuity product in which the cash value and benefit level fluctuate according to the performance of an equity portfolio.
A type of contract in which the amount of the benefit to be paid is based on the actual amount of financial loss determined at the time of the loss - for example, hospital expense insurance.
The adjustment of benefits to compensate for the effects of inflation.
Insurance Policy (Credit Insurance)
A policy under which the insurance company promises to pay a benefit of the person who is insured.
The party in an insurance contract that promises to pay a benefit if a specified loss occurs. Usually an insurance company.
Mortgage Life insurance (Credit Insurance)
Decreasing term life insurance that provides a death benefit amount corresponding to the decreasing amount owed on a mortgage.
Two or more death benefits based on one definition with different insureds.
A written document that serves as evidence of insurance coverage and contains pertinent information about the benefits, coverage and owner, as well as its associated directives and obligations.
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.
Quebec Pension Plan
A plan that primarily provides retirement and long-term disability income benefits for residents of Quebec.
An attachment to an insurance policy that becomes part of the insurance contract and expands the benefits payable.
A form of annuity policy under which the amount of each benefit is not guaranteed or specified. The amounts fluctuate according to the earnings of a separate investment account.
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).
Waiver of Premium
A benefit that allows CLA to pay premiums on behalf of the insured.
Mortgage Critical Illness Insurance
Mortgage Critical Illness Insurance is available as an enhancement to Mortgage Life Insurance. It is usually underwritten by the Assurance Company. Complete details of benefits, exclusions and limitations are contained in the Certificate of Insurance. It is recommended for all mortgagors. It can pay off your mortgage -- up predefined limit -- if you are diagnosed with life-threatening cancer, heart attack or stroke.
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