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Definition of Individual Insurance

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Individual Insurance

insurance that is offered to individuals rather than groups.

Related Terms:

Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation

Better known as CDIC, this is an organization which insures qualifying deposits and GICs at savings institutions, mainly banks and trust companys, which belong to the CDIC for amounts up to $60,000 and for terms of up to five years. Many types of deposits are not insured, such as mortgage-backed deposits, annuities of duration of more than five years, and mutual funds.


In medical insurance, the insured person and the insurer sometimes share the cost of services under a policy in a specified ratio, for example 80% by the insurer and 20% by the insured. By this means, the cost of coverage to the insured is reduced.

Dead Peasants Insurance

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.

Disability Insurance

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.

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.

Level Premium Life Insurance

This is a type of insurance for which the cost is distributed evenly over the premium payment period. The premium remains the same from year to year and is more than actual cost of protection in the earlier years of the policy and less than the actual cost of protection in the later years. The excess paid in the early years builds up a reserve to cover the higher cost in the later years.

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Mortgage Insurance

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.
The cost of mortgage lender's insurance group coverage is based on a blended non-smoker/smoker rate, not having any advantage to either male or female. Mortgage lender's group insurance certificate specifies that it [the lender] is the sole beneficiary entitled to receive the death benefit. Mortgage lender's group insurance is not portable and is not guaranteed. Generally speaking, your coverage is void if you do not occupy the house for a period of time, rent the home, fall into arrears on the mortgage, and there are a few others which vary by institution. If, for example, you sell your home and buy another, your current mortgage insurance coverage ends and you will have to qualify for new coverage when you purchase your next home. Maybe you won't be able to qualify. Not being guaranteed means that it is possible for the lending institution's group insurance carrier to cancel all policy holder's coverages if they are experiencing too many death benefit claims.
Mortgage insurance purchased from a life insurance company, is priced, based on gender, smoking status, health and lifestyle of the purchaser. Once obtained, it is a unilateral contract in your favour, which cannot be cancelled by the insurance company unless you say so or unless you stop paying for it. It pays upon the death of the life insured to any "named beneficiary" you choose, tax free. If, instead of reducing term life insurance, you have purchased enough level or increasing life insurance coverage based on your projection of future need, you can buy as many new homes in the future as you want and you won't have to worry about coverage you might loose by renewing or increasing your mortgage.
It is worth mentioning mortgage creditor protection insurance since it is many times mistakenly referred to simply as mortgage insurance. If a home buyer has a limited amount of down payment towards a substantial home purchase price, he/she may qualify for a high ratio mortgage on a home purchase if a lump sum fee is paid for mortgage creditor protection insurance. The only Canadian mortgage lenders currently known to offer this option through the distribution system of banks and trust companies, are General Electric Capital [GE Capital] and Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation [CMHC]. The lump sum fee is mandatory when the mortgage is more than 75% of the value of the property being purchased. The lump sum fee is usually added onto the mortgage. It's important to realize that the only beneficiary of this type of coverage is the morgage lender, which is the bank or trust company through which the buyer arranged their mortgage. If the buyer for some reason defaults on this kind of high ratio mortgage and the value of the property has dropped since being purchased, the mortgage creditor protection insurance makes certain that the bank or trust company gets paid. However, this is not the end of the story, because whatever the difference is, between the disposition value of the property and whatever sum of unpaid mortgage money is outstanding to either GE Capital or CMHC will be the subject of collection procedures against the defaulting home buyer. Therefore, one should conclude that this kind of insurance offers protection only to the bank or trust company and absolutely no protection to the home buyer.

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.

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.

Yearly Renewable Term Insurance

Sometimes, simply called YRT, this is a form of term life insurance that may be renewed annually without evidence of insurability to a stated age.

Accidental Dismemberment: (Credit Insurance)

Provides additional financial security should an insured person be dismembered or lose the use of a limb as the result of an accident.

Amortization (Credit Insurance)

Refers to the reduction of debt by regular payments of interest and principal in order to pay off a loan by maturity.

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.

Borrower (Credit Insurance)

A consumer who borrows money from a lender.

Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA)

An association of most of the life and health insurance companies in Canada that conducts research and compiles information about the life and health insurance industry in Canada.

Child Insurance Rider (CIR)

insurance or insurability provided on current or future children of insured.

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.

Cost of Insurance

The cost of insuring a particular individual under the policy. It is based on the amount of coverage, as well as the underwriting class, age, sex and tobacco consumption of that individual.

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.

Critical Illness Insurance (Credit Insurance)

Coverage that provides a lump-sum payment should you become seriously ill with a specified illness. The payment is made to your creditors to pay off your debt owing.

Debt (Credit Insurance)

Money, goods or services that someone is obligated to pay someone else in accordance with an expressed or implied agreement. Debt may or may not be secured.

Disability Insurance (Credit Insurance)

Group insurance designed to cover monthly obligations due to a borrower being unable to work due to sickness or injury.

Equity-based insurance

Life insurance or annuity product in which the cash value and benefit level fluctuate according to the performance of an equity portfolio.

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.

Insurance Policy (Credit Insurance)

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

Job Loss Insurance (Credit Insurance)

Coverage that can pay down your debt should you become involuntarily unemployed. The payment is made to your creditors to reduce your debt owing.

Lease (Credit Insurance)

Contract granting use of real estate, equipment or other fixed assets for a specified period of time in exchange for payment. The owner or a leased property is the lessor and the user the lessee.

Lender (Credit Insurance)

individual or firm that extends money to a borrower with the expectation of being repaid, usually with interest. Lenders create debt in the form of loans. Lenders include financial institutions, leasing companies government lending agencies and automobile dealers.

Life Insurance

insurance that provides protection against an economic loss caused by death of the person insured.

Life Insurance (Credit Insurance)

Group Term life insurance that pays or reduces the balance due on a loan if the borrower dies before the loan is repaid.

Mortgage Life insurance (Credit Insurance)

Decreasing term life insurance that provides a death benefit amount corresponding to the decreasing amount owed on a mortgage.

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.

Personal Line of credit (Credit Insurance)

A bank's commitment to make loans to a borrower up to a specified maximum during a specific period, usually one year.

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 (Credit Insurance)

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

Refinancing (Credit Insurance)

Extending the maturity date or increasing the amount of existing debt or both. Also, revising a payment schedule, usually to reduce the monthly payments and often to modify interest charges.


Process in which the risk of potential loss is shared between two or more insurers.

Strike Insurance (Credit Insurance)

Coverage that can pay down your debt should you become unemployed due to a legal strike in your place of work. The payment is made to your creditors to reduce your debt owing.

Terminal Illness Insurance (Credit Insurance)

Coverage that provides a lump-sum payment should you become terminally ill. The payment is made to your creditors to pay off your debt owing.

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).

CMHC or GEMICO Insurance Premium

Mortgage insurance insures the lender against loss in case of default by the borrower. Mortgage insurance is provided to the lender by CMHC or GEMICO and the premium is paid by the borrower.

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.

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.

Mortgage Life Insurance

A form of reducing term insurance recommended for all mortgagors. If you die, have a terminal illness, or suffer an accident, the insurance can pay the balance owing on the mortgage. The intent is to protect survivors from the loss of their homes.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

insurance that protects mortgage lenders against default on loans by providing a way for mortgage companies to recoup the costs of foreclosure. PMI is usually required if the down payment is less than 20 percent of the sale price. Home buyers pay for the coverage in monthly installments. PMI should be terminated when the home buyer has built up 20 percent equity in the property.

Title insurance

insurance that protects against loss from disputes over ownership of a property. A policy may protect the mortgage lender, the home buyer, or both.

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.


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.
Another way to avoid probate fees or creditor claims against life insurance proceeds is for the insured person to designate and register with his/her insurance company's head office an irrevocable beneficiary. By making such a designation, the insured gives up the right to make any changes to his/her policy without the consent of the irrevocable beneficiary. Because of the seriousness of the implications, an irrevocable designation should only be made for good reason and where the insured fully understands the consequences.
NoteA successful challenge of the rules relating to beneficiaries was concluded in an Ontario court in 1996. The insurance Act says its provisions relating to beneficiaries are made "notwithstanding the Succession Law Reform Act." There are two relevent provisions of the Succession Law Reform Act. One section of the act gives a judge the power to make any order concerning an estate if the deceased person has failed to provide for a dependant. Another section says money from a life insurance policy can be considered part of the estate if an order is made to support a dependant. In the case in question, the deceased had attempted to deceive his lawful dependents by making his common-law-spouse the beneficiary of an insurance policy which by court order was supposed to name his ex-spouse and children as beneficiaries.

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.

Creditor Proof Protection

The creditor proof status of such things as life insurance, non-registered life insurance investments, life insurance RRSPs and life insurance RRIFs make these attractive products for high net worth individuals, professionals and business owners who may have creditor concerns. Under most circumstances the creditor proof rules of the different provincial insurance acts take priority over the federal bankruptcy rules.
The provincial insurance acts protect life insurance products which have a family class beneficiary. Family class beneficiaries include the spouse, parent, child or grandchild of the life insured, except in Quebec, where creditor protection rules apply to spouse, ascendants and descendants of the insured. Investments sold by other financial institutions do not offer the same security should the holder go bankrupt. There are also circumstances under which the creditor proof protections do not hold for life insurance products. Federal bankruptcy law disallows the protection for any transfers made within one year of bankruptcy. In addition, should it be found that a person shifted money to an insurance company fund in bad faith for the specific purpose of avoiding creditors, these funds will not be creditor proof.

First 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 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.

Insurable Interest

In England in the 1700's it was popular to bet on the date of death of certain prominent public figures. Anyone could buy life insurance on another's life, even without their consent. Unfortunately, some died before it was their time, dispatched prematurely in order that the life insurance proceeds could be collected. In 1774, English Parliament passed a law which restricted the right to be a beneficiary on a life insurance contract to those who would suffer an economic loss when the life insured died. The law also provided that a person has an unlimited insurable interest in his own life. It is still a legal stipulation that an insurance contract is not valid unless insurable interest exists at the time the policy is issued. Life insurance companies will not, however, issue unlimited amounts of coverage to an individual. The amount of life insurance which will be approved has to approximate the loss caused by the death of the individual and must not result in a windfall for the beneficiary.

Evidence of Insurability

Evidence submitted to Canada Life that is used to determine whether an individual is eligible for the insurance coverage the individual has applied for.







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