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Definition of Variable Annuity

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Variable Annuity

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.



Related Terms:

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.


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.


Deferred Annuity

An annuity providing for income payments to commence at a specified future time.


Annuity

Periodic payments made to an individual under the terms of the policy.


Annuity Period

The time between each payment under an annuity.



Guaranteed Interest Annuity (GIA)

Interest bearing investment with fixed rate and term.


Variable Rate Mortgage

A mortgage for which the rate of interest may change if other market conditions change. This is sometimes referred to as a floating rate mortgage.


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Accrued Income

income that has been earned but not yet received. For instance, if you have a non-registered guaranteed investment Certificate (GIC), Mutual Fund or Segregated Equity Fund, growth accrues annually or semi-annually and is taxable annually even though the gain is only paid at maturity of your investment.


Application

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.


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.


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.


Co-insurance

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.


Deferred Annuity

An annuity providing for income payments to commence at a specified future time.


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.


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Fiat Money

Fiat money is paper currency made legal tender by law or fiat. It is not backed by gold or silver and is not necessarily redeemable in coin. This practice has had widespread use for about the last 70 years. If governments produce too much of it, there is a loss of confidence. Even so, governments print it routinely when they need it. The value of fiat money is dependent upon the performance of the economy of the country which issued it. Canada's currency falls into This category.


Grace Period

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.
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.


Income Splitting

This is a tax planning strategy of arranging for income to be transferred to family members who are in lower tax brackets than the one earning the income, thus reducing taxes. Even though attribution rules limit income splitting, there are still a number of legitimate ways to do so, such as through the use of spousal RRSPs.


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.


Life Expectancy

The average number of years of life remaining for a group of people of a given age and gender according to a particular mortality table.


Life Income Fund

Commonly known as a LIF, This is one of the options available to locked in Registered Pension Plan (RPP) holders for income payout as opposed to Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) holders choice of payout through Registered Retirement income funds (RRIF). A LIF must be converted to a unisex annuity by the time the holder reaches age 80.


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.


Money Laundering

This is the process by which "dirty money" generated by criminal activities is converted through legitimate businesses into assets that cannot be easily traced back to their illegal origins.


Medical Information Bureau

This organization was established in 1902. The Medical Information Bureau (M.I.B.) is a non-profit association of life insurance companies. Its purpose is to detect and deter fraud by providing warnings called, alerts, to member companies. For example, if an insurance applicant advised one insurance company of a heart attack and then applied to another insurance company omitting This history, codes, reported by the first insurance company, indicating a heart attack would alert the second insurance company to the undisclosed history. It is a rarity, However, that the alert is the only notice of a specific medical impairement as most applicants completely disclose their history.


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.


Non-Smoker Discount

In October 1996 it was announced in the international news that scientists had finally located the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. In the early 1980's, some Canadian life insurance companies had already started recognizing that non-smokers had a better life expectancy than smokers so commenced offering premium discounts for life insurance to new applicants who have been non-smokers for at least 12 months before applying for coverage. today, most life insurance companies offer these discounts.
Savings to non-smokers can be up to 50% of regular premium depending on age and insurance company. most life insurance companies offering non-smoker rates insist that the person applying for coverage have abstained from any form of tobacco or marijuana for at least twelve months, some companies insist on longer periods, up to 15 years.
Tobacco use is generally considered to be cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, nicorette gum, snuff, marijuana and nicotine patches. In addition to these, if anyone tests positive to cotinine, a by-product of nicotine, they are also considered a smoker. There are some insurance companies which allow moderate or occasional use of cigars, cigarillos or pipes as acceptable for non-smoker status. Experienced brokers are aware of how to locate these insurance companies and save you money.
Special care should be taken by applicants for coverage who qualify for non-smoker rates by virtue of having ceased a smoking habit for the required period before application, but for some reason, fall back into the smoking habit some time after obtaining coverage. While contractually, the insurance company is still bound to a non-smoking rate, the facts of the applicant's smoking hiatus may become vague over the subsequent years of the resumed habit and at time of death claim, the insurance company may decide to contest the original non-smoking declaration. The consequence is not simply a need to back pay the difference between non-smoker and smoker rates but in reality the possibility of denial of death claim. It is therefore, important to advise the servicing broker as well as the insurance company of the change in smoking habits to make certain that sufficient evidence is documented to track the non-smoking period.



Non-Medical Limit

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.


Preferred Rates

As non-smoking rates caused a major reduction in the cost of life insurance in the early 1980's, the emergence of preferred non-smoker rates in 1998 has caused another noteworthy reduction in rates. A growing number of insurance companies are offering better rates which go beyond simply looking at gender or smoking habits. Other health related factors such as physical build, lifestyle, avocation and personal and family health history indicating longer life expectancy can add up to significant cost savings to new life insurance applicants. Make certain to ask about these new preferred rates.


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.


Registered Retirement Income Fund (Canada)

Commonly referred to as a RRIF, This is one of the options available to RRSP holders to convert their tax sheltered savings into taxable income.


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.


Underwriter

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.


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 Death and Dismemberment

Coverage that provides a lump-sum payment to you or your survivors if an accident results in the loss of a limb, paralysis or your death.


Accidental Death Benefit (ADB)

Coverage against accidental death usually payable in addition to base amount of coverage.


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.


Account Value

The sum of all the interest options in your policy, including interest.


Accumulated Value

An amount of money invested plus the interest earned on that money.


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.


Annuity Period

The time between each payment under an annuity.


Automatic Benefits Payment

Automatic payment of moneys derived from a benefit.


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.


Benefit

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


Benefit Value

The amount of cash payable on a benefit.


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.


Cash Surrender Value

benefit that entitles a policy owner to an amount of money upon cancellation of a policy.


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.


Death Benefit

amount paid on death of an insured.


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.


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.


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.


Equity investment

through equity investment, investors gain part ownership of the corporation. The primary type of equity investment is corporate stock.


Guaranteed Interest Annuity (GIA)

Interest bearing investment with fixed rate and term.


Guaranteed Interest Certificate (GIC)

Interest bearing investment with fixed rate and term.


Guaranteed Renewal

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.


Individual Insurance

insurance that is offered to individuals rather than groups.


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.


Issue

When an item is approved and released for sale, or when a policy or sales contract is accepted.


Issue Age

Age of an insured as at the policy issue date, using "age nearest" next birthday formula.


Issue Date

Date on which a policy is approved.


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.


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.


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.


Life Insured

The person who's life is protected by an individual policy.


Life Underwriter

insurance Agent.


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.


Non-participating Policy

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


Paid-Up Additions

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


Participating Policy

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


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.


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.


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.


Reinsurance

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


RRSP

Registered Retirement Savings Plan - A plan enabling Canadian citizens to establish tax-sheltered accounts to accumulate money towards retirement.


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.


Term

The time period during which a policy is in force, or the time it takes for a policy to reach maturity.


Term Life

A product that provides life coverage for a specified duration typically not beyond the age of 75.


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.


Terminate

Cease all legal obligations under a contract.


Underwriter

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



 

 

 

 

 

 

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