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Definition of 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.
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.
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.
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.
A policy under which the insurance company promises to pay a benefit of the person who is insured.
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.
A type of insurance policy or annuity in which the owner does not receive dividends.
A policy offers the potential of sharing in the success of an insurance company through the receipt of dividends.
Yearly event linked to a policy. Usually the date issued.
Date on which the insurance company assumes responsibilities for the obligations outlined in a policy.
Administrative charge included in a policy Premium.
Period between two policy anniversaries.
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.
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.
A signed statement of facts made by a person applying for life insurance and then used by the insurance company to decide whether or not to issue a policy. The application becomes part of the insurance contract when the policy is issued.
This is the legal transfer on one person's interest in an insurance policy to another person or entity, such as to a bank to qualify for a loan
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.
A procedure for making the effective date of a policy earlier than the application date. Backdating is often used to make the age of the consumer at policy issue lower than it actually was in order to get a lower premium.
Back To Back Annuity
This term refers to the simultaneous issue of a life annuity with a non-guaranteed period and a guaranteed life insurance policy [usually whole life or term to 100]. The face value of the life insurance would be the same amount that was used to purchase the annuity. This combination of life annuity providing the highest payout of all types of annuities, along with a guaranteed life insurance policy allowed an uninsurable person to convert his/her RRSP into the best choice of annuity and guarantee that upon his/her death, the full value of the annuity would be paid tax free through the life insurance policy to his family members. However, in the early 1990's, the Federal tax authorities put a stop to the issuing of standard life rates to rated or uninsurable applicants. Insuring a life annuity in this manner is still an excellent way to provide guaranteed tax free funds to family members but the application for the annuity and the application for the life insurance are separate transactions and today, most likely conducted through two different insurance companies so that there is no suspicion of preferential treatment given to the life insurance application.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is the person designated to become the new owner of a life insurance policy if the original owner dies before the life insured.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A specific period of time after a premium payment is due during which the policy owner may make a payment, and during which, the protection of the policy continues. The grace period usually ends in 30 days.
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.
This clause in regular life insurance policy provides for voiding the contract of insurance for up to two years from the date of issue of the coverage if the life insured has failed to disclose important information or if there has been a misrepresentation of a material fact which would have prevented the coverage from being issued in the first place. After the end of two years from issue, a misrepresentation of smoking habits or age can still void or change the policy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is the maximum value of a policy that an insurance company will issue without the applicant taking a medical examination, although medical questions are invariably asked during the application process. When a non-medical issue is made through group insurance, in most cases, medical data is not requested at all.
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.
This is a provision in some term insurance policies that allow the insured the right to renew the policy at a more favourable rate by providing updated evidence of insurability.
This is the restoration of a lapsed life insurance policy. The life insurance company will require evidence of continuing good health and the payment of all past due premiums plus interest.
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.
Generally, a suicide clause in a regular life insurance policy provides for voiding the contract of insurance if the life insured commits suicide within two years of the date of issue of the coverage.
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.
This could be the person (broker or agent) who helps you choose the proper type of life insurance or disability insurance and the insurance company for your particular needs. This could also be the person at the insurance company's head office who reviews your application for coverage to determine whether or not the insurance company will issue a policy to you.
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.
The sum of all the interest options in your policy, including interest.
Yearly amount payable by a client for a policy or component.
Periodic payments made to an individual under the terms of the policy.
The party applying for an insurance policy.
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.
The act of changing from one type of life insurance policy to another, without having to give evidence of insurability.
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.
A flat amount that an insured must pay before the insurance company makes any benefit payments under a health insurance policy.
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.
The time it takes for a policy or annuity to reach maturity.
A specific condition or circumstance listed in the policy that are not covered by the policy
A promise that a life insurance policy will be renewed without penalty or medical examination after the term has expired. The renewal rate can also be guaranteed.
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.
Person whose life is protected under a specific policy.
One of several investment accounts in which your premiums may be invested within your life insurance policy.
When an item is approved and released for sale, or when a policy or sales contract is accepted.
Age of an insured as at the policy issue date, using "age nearest" next birthday formula.
Date on which a policy is approved.
Termination when a policy has no cash value after all attempts at conservation have failed.
Policies which are sold but do not remain in force because the policyholder fails to pay premiums.
A premium that remains unchanged throughout the life of a policy
The person who's life is protected by an individual policy.
The time when a policy or annuity reaches the end of its span.
The amount of money the company must spend on overhead, distribution, taxes, underwriting the risk and servicing the policy. It is a factor in calculating premium rates.
A type of insurance policy or annuity in which the owner receives dividends, typically increases the death.
Payment schedule of policy premiums, usually selected by the policy owner (monthly, quarterly, annually).
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.
An attachment to an insurance policy that becomes part of the insurance contract and expands the benefits payable.
A pool of assets held by the insurer, to back a specific liability to a policyholder. Segregated Funds flucuate in value depending on the market value of a specific group of assets the company must maintain separately.
Give up certain rights under a policy, or give up the policy itself.
Expense charges applied when the owner of a policy surrenders a policy for its cash value.
The time period during which a policy is in force, or the time it takes for a policy to reach maturity.
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).
Insurance that protects against loss from disputes over ownership of a property. A policy may protect the mortgage lender, the home buyer, or both.
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