The Ahlbum Insurance Group

The Ahlbum Insurance Group is dedicated to helping people find the best insurance solutions for their medical needs and their finances. We know insurance can be confusing and we help you sort it out. We have been able to help many sort out the best solutions for:

  • Medicare Insurance
  • Medigap Insurance
  • Medicare Disability Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Long Term Care Insurance

National Association of Medical Supplement Advisors

Glossary of Insurance Terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | U | V | W

A

ACCIDENT AND HEALTH INSURANCE
Coverage for accidental injury, accidental death, and related health expenses. Benefits will pay for preventative services, medical expenses and catastrophic care, with limits.

ACTUARY
An insurance professional skilled in the analysis, evaluation and management of statistical information. Evaluates insurance firms’ reserves, determines rates and rating methods, and determines other business and financial risks.

ADDITIONAL TERM INSURANCE OPTION*
An option available to owners of participating insurance policies under which the insurer uses a policy dividend as a net single premium to purchase one-year term insurance on the insured’s life. Also known as fifth dividend option.

ADJUSTABLE LIFE INSURANCE*
A form of life insurance that allows policy owners to vary the type of coverage provided by their policies as their insurance needs change.

AGENT
Insurance is sold by two types of agents: independent agents, who are self-employed, represent several insurance companies and are paid on commission; and exclusive or captive agents, who represent only one insurance company and are either salaried or work on commission. Insurance companies that use exclusive or captive agents are called direct writers.

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B

BENEFICIARY*
The person or legal entity the owner of an insurance policy names to receive the policy benefit if the event insured against occurs. 

BROKER
An intermediary between a customer and an insurance company. Brokers typically search the market for coverage appropriate to their clients. They work on commission and usually sell commercial, not personal, insurance. In life insurance, agents must be licensed as securities brokers/dealers to sell variable annuities, which are similar to stock market-based investments.

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C

CAPTIVE AGENT
A person who represents only one insurance company and is restricted by agreement from submitting business to any other company, unless it is first rejected by the agent’s captive company. 

CASH DIVIDEND OPTION*
For participating insurance policies, a dividend option under which the insurer sends the policy owner a check in the amount of the policy dividend. 

CASH PAYMENT OPTION*
One of several nonforfeiture options included in life insurance policies and some annuity contracts that allows a policy owner to receive the cash surrender value of a life insurance policy or an annuity contract in a single payment. Also known as cash surrender option.

CASH SURRENDER VALUE*

  1. For life insurance, the amount, before adjustments for factors such as policy loans, that the owner of a permanent life insurance policy is entitled to receive if the policy does not remain in force until the insured’s death.
  2. For annuities, the amount of a deferred annuity’s accumulated value, less any surrender charges, that the contract holder is entitled to receive if the policy is surrendered during its accumulation period. Also known as cash value and surrender value.

COINSURANCE
In property insurance, requires the policyholder to carry insurance equal to a specified percentage of the value of property to receive full payment on a loss. For health insurance, it is a percentage of each claim above the deductible paid by the policyholder. For a 20 percent health insurance coinsurance clause, the policyholder pays for the deductible plus 20 percent of his covered losses. After paying 80 percent of losses up to a specified ceiling, the insurer starts paying 100 percent of losses.

CRITICAL ILLNESS (CI) INSURANCE*
A type of individual health insurance that pays a lump-sum benefit when the insured is diagnosed with a specified illness. Also known as critical diagnosis insurance. Contrast with specified disease coverage.

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D

DEATH BENEFIT*
(1) For a life insurance contract, the amount of money paid by an insurer to a beneficiary when a person insured under the life insurance policy dies. (2) For an annuity contract, the amount of money paid to a beneficiary if the contract owner dies before the annuity payments begin.

DECREASING TERM LIFE INSURANCE*
Term life insurance that provides a death benefit that decreases in amount over the policy term. Contrast with increasing term life insurance.
DEDUCTIBLE
The amount of loss paid by the policyholder. Either a specified dollar amount, a percentage of the claim amount, or a specified amount of time that must elapse before benefits are paid. The bigger the deductible, the lower the premium charged for the same coverage.

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E

EXTENDED TERM INSURANCE OPTION*
One of several nonforfeiture options included in life insurance policies that allows the owner of a policy with a cash value to discontinue premium payments and to use the policy’s net cash value to purchase term insurance for the full coverage amount provided under the original policy for as long a term as the net cash value can provide.

F

FAMILY BENEFIT COVERAGE*
A type of supplementary benefit rider offered in conjunction with a life insurance policy that insures the lives of the insured’s spouse and children. Also known as dependent life insurance and spouse and children’s insurance rider.

FLEXIBLE PREMIUM*
A premium payment method sometimes offered in connection with annuities and with some types of life insurance that allows the contract owner or policy owner to alter the amount and the frequency of payments, within specified boundaries defined by the insurer and the law.

FREE-LOOK PERIOD
A period of up to one month during which the purchaser of an annuity can cancel the contract with no penalty. Rules vary by state.

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G

GRACE PERIOD*
(1) For insurance premium payments, a specified length of time following a premium due date within which the renewal premium may be paid without penalty. The length of the grace period is specified in a grace period provision that is found in a life insurance, health insurance, or annuity policy. (2) For purchases made on credit, a period of time between the date of a purchase and the date the lender begins to charge interest during which no interest accrues.

GROUP INSURANCE
A single policy covering a group of individuals, usually employees of the same company or members of the same association and their dependents. Coverage occurs under a master policy issued to the employer or association.

GUARANTEED RENEWABLE POLICY*
An individual health insurance policy that requires the insurer to renew the policy—as long as premium payments are made—at least until the insured attains a specified age. The insurer can change premium rates for broad classes of insureds but not for an individual insured. Contrast with noncancellable and guaranteed renewable policy.

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H

HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE POLICY
The typical homeowners insurance policy covers the house, the garage and other structures on the property, as well as personal possessions inside the house such as furniture, appliances and clothing, against a wide variety of perils including windstorms, fire and theft. The extent of the perils covered depends on the type of policy. An all-risk policy offers the broadest coverage. This covers all perils except those specifically excluded in the policy.
Homeowners insurance also covers additional living expenses. Known as Loss of Use, this provision in the policy reimburses the policyholder for the extra cost of living elsewhere while the house is being restored after a disaster. The liability portion of the policy covers the homeowner for accidental injuries caused to third parties and/or their property, such as a guest slipping and falling down improperly maintained stairs. Coverage for flood and earthquake damage is excluded and must be purchased separately.

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I

INCREASING TERM LIFE INSURANCE*
A type of term life insurance that provides a death benefit that increases by some specified amount or percentage at stated intervals over the policy term. Contrast with decreasing term life insurance.

INDEPENDENT AGENT
Agent who is self-employed, is paid on commission, and represents several insurance companies.

INDETERMINATE PREMIUM LIFE INSURANCE POLICY*
A type of nonparticipating whole life policy that specifies two premium rates—both a maximum guaranteed rate and a lower rate. The insurer charges the lower premium rate when the policy is purchased and guarantees that rate for at least a stated period of time, after which the insurer uses its actual mortality, interest, and expense experience to establish a new premium rate that may be higher or lower than the previous premium rate. Also known as nonguaranteed premium life insurance policy and variable premium life insurance policy.

INSURABLE INTEREST*
In insurance, a person exhibits an insurable interest in a potential loss if that person will suffer a genuine economic loss if the event insured against occurs. Without the presence of insurable interest, an insurance contract is not formed for a lawful purpose and, thus, is not a valid contract.

INSURANCE
A system to make large financial losses more affordable by pooling the risks of many individuals and business entities and transferring them to an insurance company or other large group in return for a premium.

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J

JOINT UNDERWRITING ASSOCIATION / JUA
Insurers which join together to provide coverage for a particular type of risk or size of exposure, when there are difficulties in obtaining coverage in the regular market, and which share in the profits and losses associated with the program. JUAs may be set up to provide auto and homeowners insurance and various commercial coverages, such as medical malpractice. 

K

KEY PERSON INSURANCE
Insurance on the life or health of a key individual whose services are essential to the continuing success of a business and whose death or disability could cause the firm a substantial financial loss.

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L

LAPSE*
The termination of an insurance policy because a renewal premium is not paid by the end of the grace period.

LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE
Long-term care (LTC) insurance pays for services to help individuals who are unable to perform certain activities of daily living without assistance, or require supervision due to a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease. LTC is available as individual insurance or through an employer-sponsored or association plan.

LONG-TERM DISABILITY INCOME INSURANCE*
A type of disability income insurance that provides disability income benefits after short-term disability income benefits terminate and continues until the earlier of the date when the insured person returns to work, dies, or becomes eligible for pension benefits. Contrast with short-term disability income insurance.

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M

MANAGED CARE
Arrangement between an employer or insurer and selected providers to provide comprehensive health care at a discount to members of the insured group and coordinate the financing and delivery of health care. Managed care uses medical protocols and procedures agreed on by the medical profession to be cost effective, also known as medical practice guidelines.

MEDICARE
Federal program for people 65 or older that pays part of the costs associated with hospitalization, surgery, doctors’ bills, home health care, and skilled-nursing care.

MEDIGAP/MEDSUP
Policies that supplement federal insurance benefits particularly for those covered under Medicare.

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N

NONCANCELLABLE AND GUARANTEED RENEWABLE POLICY*
An individual health insurance policy, which stipulates that, until the insured reaches a specified age (usually age 65), the insurer will not cancel the coverage, increase the premiums, or change the policy provisions as long as the premiums are paid when due. Also known as noncancellable policy. Contrast with guaranteed renewable policy.

NURSING HOME INSURANCE
A form of long-term care policy that covers a policyholder’s stay in a nursing facility.

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O

ORDINARY LIFE INSURANCE
A life insurance policy that remains in force for the policyholder’s lifetime.

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P

POLICY
A written contract for insurance between an insurance company and policyholder stating details of coverage.

PRE-EXISTING CONDITION*
(1) According to most group health insurance policies, a condition for which an individual received medical care during the three months immediately prior to the effective date of her coverage. (2) According to most individual health insurance policies, an injury that occurred or a sickness that first appeared or manifested itself within a specified period—usually two years—before the policy was issued and that was not disclosed on the application for insurance.

PREMIUM
The price of an insurance policy, typically charged annually or semiannually.

PREMIUMS IN FORCE
The sum of the face amounts, plus dividend additions, of life insurance policies outstanding at a given time.

PRIMARY BENEFICIARY*
The party designated to receive the proceeds of a life insurance policy following the death of the insured. Also known as first beneficiary.

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R

RATE
The cost of a unit of insurance, usually per $1,000. Rates are based on historical loss experience for similar risks and may be regulated by state insurance offices.

RATED POLICY*
An insurance policy that is classified as having a greater-than-average likelihood of loss, usually issued with special exclusions, a premium rate that is higher than the rate for a standard policy, a reduced face amount, or any combination of these.

RENEWABLE TERM INSURANCE POLICY*
A term life insurance policy that gives the policy owner the option to continue the coverage at the end of the specified term without presenting evidence of insurability, although typically at a higher premium based on the insured’s attained age.

RIDER
An attachment to an insurance policy that alters the policy’s coverage or terms.

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S

SELF-INSURANCE
The concept of assuming a financial risk oneself, instead of paying an insurance company to take it on. Every policyholder is a self-insurer in terms of paying a deductible and co-payments. Large firms often self-insure frequent, small losses such as damage to their fleet of vehicles or minor workplace injuries. However, to protect injured employees state laws set out requirements for the assumption of workers compensation programs. Self-insurance also refers to employers who assume all or part of the responsibility for paying the health insurance claims of their employees. Firms that self insure for health claims are exempt from state insurance laws mandating the illnesses that group health insurers must cover.

SINGLE PREMIUM POLICIES*
A type of life insurance or annuity contract that is purchased by the payment of one lump sum. (1) A single-premium deferred annuity (SPDA) is an annuity contract purchased with a single premium payment whose periodic income payments generally do not begin until several years in the future. (2) A single premium immediate annuity (SPIA) contract is an annuity contract that is purchased with a single premium payment and that will begin making periodic income payments one annuity period after the contract’s issue date.

SUPPLEMENTAL COVERAGE*
An amount of coverage that adds to the amount of coverage specified in a basic insurance policy.

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T

TERM LIFE INSURANCE
A form of life insurance that covers the insured person for a certain period of time, the “term” that is specified in the policy. It pays a benefit to a designated beneficiary only when the insured dies within that specified period which can be one, five, 10 or even 20 years. Term life policies are renewable but premiums increase with age.

TOTAL DISABILITY*
For disability insurance purposes, an insured’s disability that meets the requirements of the definition of total disability included in the disability insurance policy or policy rider and that qualifies for payment of the specified disability benefits. When a disability begins, total disability is usually the complete and continuous inability of an insured to perform the essential duties of his regular occupation. After a disability has existed for a specified period, total disability usually exists only if the insured is prevented from working at any occupation for which he is reasonably fitted by education, training or experience.

TRAVEL INSURANCE
Insurance to cover problems associated with traveling, generally including trip cancellation due to illness, lost luggage and other incidents.

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U

UNDERWRITING
Examining, accepting, or rejecting insurance risks and classifying the ones that are accepted, in order to charge appropriate premiums for them.

UNIVERSAL LIFE INSURANCE
A flexible premium policy that combines protection against premature death with a type of savings vehicle, known as a cash value account, that typically earns a money market rate of interest. Death benefits can be changed during the life of the policy within limits, generally subject to a medical examination. Once funds accumulate in the cash value account, the premium can be paid at any time but the policy will lapse if there isn’t enough money to cover annual mortality charges and administrative costs.

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V

VARIABLE LIFE INSURANCE
A policy that combines protection against premature death with a savings account that can be invested in stocks, bonds, and money market mutual funds at the policyholder’s discretion.

VARIABLE PREMIUM LIFE INSURANCE POLICY*
See Indeterminate premium life insurance policy

VARIABLE UNIVERSAL LIFE (VUL) INSURANCE*
A form of permanent life insurance that combines the premium and death benefit flexibility of universal life insurance with the investment flexibility and risk of variable life insurance. With this type of policy, the death benefit and the cash value fluctuate according to the contract’s investment performance.

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W

WAITING PERIOD*
For a health insurance policy, the period of time that must pass from the date of policy issue before benefits are payable to an insured. Also known as elimination period and probationary period.

WHOLE LIFE INSURANCE
The oldest kind of cash value life insurance that combines protection against premature death with a savings account. Premiums are fixed and guaranteed and remain level throughout the policy’s lifetime.

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