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Definition of Whole life insurance

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Whole life insurance

A contract with both insurance and investment components: (1) It pays off a stated
amount upon the death of the insured, and (2) it accumulates a cash value that the policyholder can redeem or
borrow against.



Related Terms:

Dividend

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.
As the term dividend relates to a life insurance policy, it means that if that policy is "participating", the policy owner is entitled to participate in an equitable distribution of the surplus earnings of the insurance company which issued the policy. Surpluses arise primarily from three sources:
1) the difference between anticipated and actual operating expenses,
2) the difference between anticipated and actual claims experience, and
3) interest earned on investments over and above the rate required to maintain policy reserves. Having regard to the source of the surplus, the "dividend" so paid can be considered, in part at least, as a refund of part of the premium paid by the policy owner.
life insurance policy owners of participating policies usually have four and sometimes five dividend options from which to choose:
1) take the dividend in cash,
2) apply the dividend to reduce current premiums,
3) leave the dividends on deposit with the insurance company to accumulate at interest like a savings plan,
4) use the dividends to purchase paid-up whole life insurance to mature at the same time as the original policy,
5) use the dividends to purchase one year term insurance equal to the guaranteed cash value at the end of the policy year, with any portion of the dividend not required for this purpose being applied under one of the other dividend options.
NOTE: It is suggested here that if you have a participating whole life policy and at the time of purchase received a "dividend projection" of incredible future savings, ask for a current projection. life insurance company's surpluses are not what they used to be.


Loan value

The amount a policyholder may borrow against a whole life insurance policy at the interest rate
specified in the policy.


Universal life

A whole life insurance product whose investment component pays a competitive interest rate
rather than the below-market crediting rate.


Vanishing Premium

This term relates to participating whole life insurance and the use of the dividend to reduce or completely eliminate the need for future premiums. In the 1980's life insurance company's profits from investment were exceedingly high compared to historical experience. It became common for a salesperson to show new prospective clients how quickly his or her insurance company's dividends would cover the future cost of future premiums. In some cases more emphasis was put on the value of future dividends than on the fact that future dividends were not guaranteed and could only be projected based on current earnings. Many life insurance buyers have since learned that the dividends they expected in the 80's no longer exist in the 90's and they are continuing to dig into their pockets to pay insurance premiums.


Variable life insurance policy

A whole life insurance policy that provides a death benefit dependent on the
insured's portfolio market value at the time of death. Typically the company invests premiums in common
stocks, and hence variable life policies are referred to as equity-linked policies.



Accidental Dismemberment: (Credit Insurance)

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


Amortization (Credit Insurance)

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


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Average life

Also referred to as the weighted-average life (WAL). The average number of years that each
dollar of unpaid principal due on the mortgage remains outstanding. Average life is computed as the weighted average time to the receipt of all future cash flows, using as the weights the dollar amounts of the principal
paydowns.


Beneficiary (Credit Insurance)

The person or party designated to receive proceeds entitled by a benefit. Payment of a benefit is triggered by an event. In the case of credit insurance, the beneficiary will always be the creditor.


Borrower (Credit Insurance)

A consumer who borrows money from a lender.


Canadian 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.


Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA)

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


Child Insurance Rider (CIR)

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


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.


Coinsurance effect

Refers to the fact that the merger of two firms decreases the probability of default on
either firm's debt.


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.


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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.


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.


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.


Deferred nominal life annuity

A monthly fixed-dollar payment beginning at retirement age. It is nominal
because the payment is fixed in dollar amount at any particular time, up to and including retirement.


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.


Disability Insurance (Credit Insurance)

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


Economic life

The period over which a company expects to be able to use an asset.


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.


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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.



Export Credit Insurance

The granting of insurance to cover the commercial and political risks of selling in foreign markets.


Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

A federal institution that insures bank deposits.


Federal Insurance Contributions Act of 1935 (FICA)

A federal Act authorizing the government to collect Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes.


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.


Guaranteed insurance contract

A contract promising a stated nominal interest rate over some specific time
period, usually several years.


Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)

A federal Act expanding upon many of the insurance reforms created by
COBRA. In particular, it ensures that small businesses will have access to
health insurance, despite the special health status of any employees.


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 Company

A firm licensed to sell insurance to the public.


Insurance Policy (Credit Insurance)

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


Insurance principle

The law of averages. The average outcome for many independent trials of an experiment
will approach the expected value of the experiment.


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.


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 cycle costing

the accumulation of costs for activities that
occur over the entire life cycle of a product from inception
to abandonment by the manufacturer and consumer


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.


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.


Lifecycle costing

An approach to costing that estimates and accumulates the costs of a product/service over
its entire lifecycle, i.e. from inception to abandonment.


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.


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.


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.


Portfolio insurance

A strategy using a leveraged portfolio in the underlying stock to create a synthetic put
option. The strategy's goal is to ensure that the value of the portfolio does not fall below a certain level.


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.


product life cycle

a model depicting the stages through
which a product class (not necessarily each product) passes


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.


Shelf life

The time period during which inventory can be retained in stock and beyond
which it becomes unusable.


Shelf life control

Deliberate usage of the oldest items first, in order to avoid exceeding
a component or product’s shelf life.


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.


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.


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 insurance

Provides a death benefit only, no build-up of cash value.


Term Life

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


Term life insurance

A contract that provides a death benefit but no cash build-up or investment component.
The premium remains constant only for a specified term of years, and the policy is usually renewable at the
end of each term.


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.


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.


Unemployment Insurance

A program in which workers and firms pay contributions and workers collect benefits if they become unemployed.


Universal Life

An unbundled life product with a separate investment component. It typically does not participate in companies profits.


Useful life

The estimated life span of a fixed asset, during which it can be expected to
contribute to company operations.


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).


Weighted average life

See:Average life.


Whole Life

Component that provides life coverage during the insured's life.


Wholesale mortgage banking

The purchasing of loans originated by others, with the servicing rights
released to the buyer.


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.


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.


Cash-surrender value

An amount the insurance company will pay if the policyholder ends a whole life
insurance policy.



 

 

 

 

 

 

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