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Definition of Dividend Policy

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Dividend Policy

This policy governs Canada Life's actions regarding distribution of dividends to policyholders. It's goal is to achieve a dividend distribution that is equitable and timely, and which gives full recognition of the need to ensure the ongoing solidity of the company. It also specifies that distribution to individual policyholders must be equitable between dividend classes and policyholder generations, and among policyholders within any class.



Related Terms:

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.


Policy Fee

This is an administrative fee which is part of most life insurance policies. It ranges from about $40 to as much as $100 per year per policy. It is not a separate fee. It is incorporated in the regular monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual payment that you make for your policy. Knowing about this hidden fee is important because some insurance companies offer a policy fee discount on additional policies purchased under certain conditions. Sometimes they reduce the policy fee or waive it altogether on one or more additional policies purchased at the same time and billed to the same address. The rules are slightly different depending on the insurance company. There could be enormous savings if several people in the same family or business were intending to purchase coverage at the same time.


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.


Dividend

Unlike dividends which are paid to company shareholders, participating insurance policy dividends are not based on the company's overall profits. Rather, they are determined by grouping policies by type and country of issue and looking at how each class contributes to the company's earnings and surplus.


Insurance Policy (Credit Insurance)

A policy under which the insurance company promises to pay a benefit of the person who is insured.



Joint Policy Life

One insurance policy that covers two lives, and generally provides for payment at the time of the first insured's death. It could also be structured to pay on second death basis for estate planning purposes.


Non-participating Policy

A type of insurance policy or annuity in which the owner does not receive dividends.


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Participating Policy

A policy offers the potential of sharing in the success of an insurance company through the receipt of dividends.


Policy

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.


Policy Anniversary

Yearly event linked to a policy. Usually the date issued.


Policy Date

Date on which the insurance company assumes responsibilities for the obligations outlined in a policy.


Policy Fee

Administrative charge included in a policy Premium.


Policy Year

Period between two policy anniversaries.


Policyowner

The person who owns and holds all rights under the policy, including the power to name and change beneficiaries, make a policy loan, assign the policy to a financial institution as collateral for a loan, withdraw funds or surrender the policy.


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.


Paid-Up Additions

A type of insurance policy or annuity in which the owner receives dividends, typically increases the death.


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Premium Offset

After premiums have been paid for a number of years, further annual premiums may be paid by the current dividends and the surrender of some of the paid-up additions which have built up in the policy. In effect, the policy can begin to pay for itself. Whether a policy becomes eligible for premium offset, the date on which it becomes eligible and whether it remains eligible once premium offset begins, will all depend on how the dividend scale changes over the years. Since dividends are not guaranteed, premium offset cannot be guaranteed either.



 

 

 

 

 

 

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