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Definition of Benefit

Benefit Image 1

Benefit

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



Related Terms:

Accidental Death Benefit (ADB)

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


Accumulated Benefit Obligation (ABO)

An approximate measure of the liability of a plan in the event of a
termination at the date the calculation is performed. Related: projected benefit obligation.


Automatic Benefits Payment

Automatic payment of moneys derived from a benefit.


Benefit Ratio Method

The proportion of unemployment benefits paid to a company’s
former employees during the measurement period, divided by the total
payroll during the period. This calculation is used by states to determine the unemployment
contribution rate to charge employers.


Benefit Value

The amount of cash payable on a benefit.



Benefit Wage Ratio Method

The proportion of total taxable wages for laid off
employees during the measurement period divided by the total payroll during
the period. This calculation is used by states to determine the unemployment
contribution rate to charge employers.


benefits-provided ranking

a listing of service departments in an order that begins with the one providing the most service
to all other corporate areas; the ranking ends with the
service department providing service primarily to revenueproducing
areas


Benefit Image 2

cafeteria plan a “menu” of fringe benefit options that include

cash or nontaxable benefits


Cost-Benefit Analysis

The calculation and comparison of the costs and benefits of a policy or project.


cost-benefit analysis the analytical process of comparing the

relative costs and benefits that result from a specific course
of action (such as providing information or investing in a
project)


Cost-benefit ratio

The net present value of an investment divided by the investment's initial cost. Also called
the profitability index.


Death Benefit

Amount paid on death of an insured.


Defined benefit plan

A pension plan in which the sponsor agrees to make specified dollar payments to
qualifying employees. The pension obligations are effectively the debt obligation of the plan sponsor.
Related: defined contribution plan


Defined Benefit Plan

A pension plan that pays out a predetermined dollar
amount to participants, based on a set of rules that typically combine the number
of years of employment and wages paid over the time period when each
employee worked for the company.


Equivalent annual benefit

The equivalent annual annuity for the net present value of an investment project.


Flat benefit formula

Method used to determine a participant's benefits in a defined benefit plan by
multiplying months of service by a flat monthly benefit.


Benefit Image 3

Incremental costs and benefits

Costs and benefits that would occur if a particular course of action were
taken compared to those that would occur if that course of action were not taken.


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.



Net benefit to leverage factor

A linear approximation of a factor, T*, that enables one to operationalize the
total impact of leverage on firm value in the capital market imperfections view of capital structure.


Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

A federal agency that insures the vested benefits of
pension plan participants (established in 1974 by the ERISA legislation).


Target Benefit Plan

A defined benefit plan under which the employer makes
annual contributions into the plan based on the actuarial assumption at that time
regarding the amount of funding needed to achieve a targeted benefit level.


tax benefit (of depreciation)

the amount of depreciation deductible for tax purposes multiplied by the tax rate;
the reduction in taxes caused by the deductibility of depreciation


Unit benefit formula

Method used to determine a participant's benefits in a defined benefit plan by
multiplying years of service by the percentage of salary.


Workers' Compensation Benefits

Employer-paid insurance that provides their employees with wage compensation if they are injured on the job.


Accelerated depreciation

Any of several methods that recognize an increased amount
of depreciation in the earliest years of asset usage. This results in increased tax benefits
in the first few years of asset usage.


activity based costing (ABC)

A relatively new method advocated for the
allocation of indirect costs. The key idea is to classify indirect costs,
many of which are fixed in amount for a period of time, into separate
activities and to develop a measure for each activity called a cost driver.
The products or other functions in the business that benefit from the
activity are allocated shares of the total indirect cost for the period based
on their usage as measured by the cost driver.


Adjusted Cash Flow Provided by Continuing Operations

Cash flow provided by operating
activities adjusted to provide a more recurring, sustainable measure. Adjustments to reported cash
provided by operating activities are made to remove such nonrecurring cash items as: the operating
component of discontinued operations, income taxes on items classified as investing or financing activities, income tax benefits from nonqualified employee stock options, the cash effects of purchases and sales of trading securities for nonfinancial firms, capitalized expenditures, and other nonrecurring cash inflows and outflows.


Adjusted present value (APV)

The net present value analysis of an asset if financed solely by equity
(present value of un-levered cash flows), plus the present value of any financing decisions (levered cash
flows). In other words, the various tax shields provided by the deductibility of interest and the benefits of
other investment tax credits are calculated separately. This analysis is often used for highly leveraged
transactions such as a leverage buy-out.



administrative department

an organizational unit that performs management activities benefiting the entire organization;
includes top management personnel and organization
headquarters


Asset

A resource, recorded through a transaction, that is expected to yield a benefit to a
company.


Asset

Probable future economic benefit that is obtained or controlled by an entity as a result of
a past transaction or event.


Assuris

Assuris is a not for profit organization that protects Canadian policyholders in the event that their life insurance company should become insolvent. Their role is to protect policyholders by minimizing loss of benefits and ensuring a quick transfer of their policies to a solvent company where their benefits will continue to be honoured. Assuris is funded by the life insurance industry and endorsed by government. If you are a Canadian citizen or resident, and you purchased a product from a member life insurance company in Canada, you are protected by Assuris.
All life insurance companies authorized to sell in Canada are required, by the federal, provincial and territorial regulators, to become members of Assuris. Members cannot terminate their membership as long as they are licensed to write business in Canada or have any in force business in Canada.
If your life insurance company fails, your policies will be transferred to a solvent company. Assuris guarantees that you will retain at least 85% of the insurance benefits you were promised. Insurance benefits include Death, Health Expense, Monthly Income and Cash Value. Your deposit type products will also be transferred to a solvent company. For these products, Assuris guarantees that you will retain 100% of your Accumulated Value up to $100,000. Deposit type products include accumulation annuities, universal life overflow accounts, premium deposit accounts and dividend deposit accounts. The key to Assuris protection is that it is applied to all benefits of a similar type. If you have more than one policy with the failed company, you will need to add together all similar benefits before applying the Assuris protection. The Assuris website can be found at www.assuris.ca.


attribute-based costing (ABC II)

an extension of activitybased costing using cost-benefit analysis (based on increased customer utility) to choose the product attribute
enhancements that the company wants to integrate into a product


Automatic Waiver of Premium

A benefit that automatically forfeits premium payments.


Bankruptcy cost view

The argument that expected indirect and direct bankruptcy costs offset the other
benefits from leverage so that the optimal amount of leverage is less than 100% debt finaning.


Beneficiary

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.


Beneficiary

The person designated to receive proceeds entitled by a benefit. Payment of a benefit is triggered by an event.


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.


Cafeteria Plan

A flexible benefits plan authorized under the Internal Revenue
Code allowing employees to pay for a selection of benefits with pay deductions,
some of which may be pretax.


Canada Pension Plan (CPP)

A plan that provides retirement and long term disability income benefits to residents of Canadian provinces (excluding Quebec).


Capital budgeting

The series of steps one follows when justifying the decision to purchase
an asset, usually including an analysis of costs and related benefits, which
should include a discounted cash flow analysis of the stream of all future cash flows
resulting from the purchase of the asset.


Capital Lease

One where substantially all of the benefits and risks of ownership are transferred to the lessee. It must be reflected on the company's balance sheet as an asset and corresponding liability.


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.


Cash Surrender Value

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


Claim

Request for payment of benefits under the terms of an insurance policy.


Claimant

Person or party making request for payment of benefits under the terms of an insurance policy.


Contingent Beneficiary

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.


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.


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.


Davis-Bacon Act of 1931

A federal Act providing wage protection to nongovernment
workers by requiring businesses engaged in federal construction
projects to pay their employees prevailing wages and fringe benefits.


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.


Deductible

A flat amount that an insured must pay before the insurance company makes any benefit payments under a health insurance policy.


Deferred Tax Asset

Future tax benefit that results from (1) the origination of a temporary difference
that causes pretax book income to be less than taxable income or (2) a loss, credit, or other
carryforward. Future tax benefits are realized on the reversal of deductible temporary differences
or the offsetting of a loss carryforward against taxable income or a tax-credit carryforward against
the current tax provision.


Defined contribution plan

A pension plan in which the sponsor is responsible only for making specified
contributions into the plan on behalf of qualifying participants. Related: defined benefit plan
Delayed issuance pool Refers to MBSs that at the time of issuance were collateralized by seasoned loans
originated prior to the MBS pool issue date.


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.


Diversification

Investing so that all your eggs are not in the same basket. By spreading your investments over different kinds of investments, you cushion your portfolio against sudden swings in any one area. Segregated equity funds have become a popular and secure way for average investors to get the benefits of greater diversification.


earned income

Earned income is generally an individual's salary or wages from employment. It also includes some taxable benefits. Earned income also includes business income if the individual is self-employed. Earned income is used as the basis for calculating RRSP maximum contribution limits.


Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA)

A federal Act that sets minimum operational and funding standards for employee benefit
plans.


Entitlement Program

A program, such as social security, under which everyone meeting the eligibility requirements is entitled to receive benefits from the program, so that costs are not known in advance.


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.


Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA)

A federal Act requiring employers to pay a tax on the wages paid to their employees, which is then used to create a
pool of funds to be used for unemployment benefits.


Financial Incentive

An expression of economic benefit that motivates behavior that might otherwise not take place.


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.


Flow-through basis

An account for the investment credit to show all income statement benefits of the credit
in the year of acquisition, rather than spreading them over the life of the asset acquired.


golden parachute

a benefits package that is triggered by the
termination of a manager’s employment


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.


Indemnity

A type of contract in which the amount of the benefit to be paid is based on the actual amount of financial loss determined at the time of the loss - for example, hospital expense insurance.


Independent Projects

A situation where an increase (or decrease) in the benefits of one
project has no effect on the benefits of another project. Also, a
situation where the acceptance of one project does not preclude
the acceptance of another project.


Indexation

The adjustment of benefits to compensate for the effects of inflation.


Insider trading

Trading by officers, directors, major stockholders, or others who hold private inside
information allowing them to benefit from buying or selling stock.


Insurance Policy (Credit Insurance)

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


Insured

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 plans

Defined benefit pension plans that are guaranteed by life insurance products. Related: noninsured plans


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."
In addition to life insurance, a Universal Life Policy includes a tax-sheltered cash value fund that cannot exceed the policy's face value. Deposits made into the policy are partially used to fund the life insurance and partially grow tax sheltered inside the policy. It should be pointed out that in order for this to work, you must make deposits into this kind of policy well in excess of the cost of the underlying insurance. Investment of the cash value inside the policy are commonly mutual fund type investments. Upon retirement, the policy owner can draw on the accumulated capital in his/her policy by using the policy as collateral for a series of demand loans at the bank. The loans are structured so the sum of money borrowed plus interest never exceeds 75% of the accumulated investment account. The loans are only repaid with the tax free death benefit at the death of the policy holder. Any remaining funds are paid out tax free to named beneficiaries.
Recognizing the value to policy holders of this use of Universal Life Insurance, insurance companies are reworking features of their products to allow the policy holder to ask to have the relationship of insurance to investment growth tracked so that investment growth inside the policy may be maximized. The only potential downside of this strategy is the possibility of the government changing the tax rules to prohibit using a life insurance product in this manner.


Insurer

The party in an insurance contract that promises to pay a benefit if a specified loss occurs. Usually an insurance company.


Intangible asset

A legal claim to some future benefit, typically a claim to future cash. Goodwill, intellectual
property, patents, copyrights, and trademarks are examples of intangible assets.


Lapse

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.


Lapse subsidized

This refers to the practice of some life insurance companies to offer policies which are lower in price because they have assumed a high probability that the policies will be cashed in by their owners for one reason or another before the death benefit becomes available. It is a bold and risky offer by the insurance company because sometimes the purchasers of these policies simply don't lapse them.


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.


Leveraged equity

Stock in a firm that relies on financial leverage. Holders of leveraged equity face the
benefits and costs of using debt.


Liability

A probable future sacrifice of economic benefits arising from present obligations of
a particular entity to transfer assets or provide services to other entities in the future as a result of
past transactions or events.


McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act of 1965

A federal Act requiring federal contractors to pay those employees working on a federal contract at
least as much as the wage and benefit levels prevailing locally.


Money purchase plan

A defined benefit contribution plan in which the participant contributes some part and
the firm contributes at the same or a different rate. Also called and individual account plan.


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.


Mortgage Life insurance (Credit Insurance)

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


Multiple Lives

Two or more death benefits based on one definition with different insureds.


mutual fund

When you buy a mutual fund, you are pooling your money with that of other investors. An investment professional called a portfolio advisor takes that money and invests it for all the investors in a variety of different securities as determined by the investment objectives of the mutual fund. This gives you the benefit of diversification that is, being invested in many different investments at once.


Non-insured plans

Defined benefit pension plans that are not guaranteed by life insurance products. Related:
insured plans


Normal annuity form

The manner in which retirement benefits are paid out.


Normalizing method

The practice of making a charge in the income account equivalent to the tax savings
realized through the use of different depreciation methods for shareholder and income tax purposes, thus
washing out the benefits of the tax savings reported as final net income to shareholders.


Operating Lease

One where the risks and benefits, as well as ownership, stays with the lessor.


opportunity cost

a potential benefit that is foregone because
one course of action is chosen over another


opportunity cost

benefit or cash flow forgone as a result of an action.


Other long term liabilities

Value of leases, future employee benefits, deferred taxes and other obligations
not requiring interest payments that must be paid over a period of more than 1 year.


Pension plan

A fund that is established for the payment of retirement benefits.


Pension plan

A formal agreement between an entity and its employees, whereby the
entity agrees to provide some benefits to the employees upon their retirement.


perk

a fringe benefit provided by the employer


Perquisites

Personal benefits, including direct benefits, such as the use of a firm car or expense account for
personal business, and indirect benefits, such as up-to-date office décor.


Personal trust

An interest in an asset held by a trustee for the benefit of another person.



 

 

 

 

 

 

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