Search Results

How an Insurance Policy Works

Insurance is synonymous to a lot of people sharing risks of losses expected from a supposed accident. Here, the costs of the losses will be borne by all the insurers.

For example, if Mr. Adam buys a new car and wishes to insure the vehicle against any expected accidents. He will buy an insurance policy from an insurance company through an insurance agent or insurance broker by paying a specific amount of money, called premium, to the insurance company.

The moment Mr. Adam pay the premium, the insurer (i.e. the insurance company) issue an insurance policy, or contract paper, to him. In this policy, the insurer analyses how it will pay for all or part of the damages/losses that may occur on Mr. Adam’s car.

However, just as Mr. Adam is able to buy an insurance policy and is paying to his insurer, a lot of other people in thousands are also doing the same thing. Any one of these people who are insured by the insurer is referred to as insured. Normally, most of these people will never have any form of accidents and hence there will be no need for the insurer to pay them any form of compensation.

If Mr. Adam and a very few other people has any form of accidents/losses, the insurer will pay them based on their policy.

It should be noted that the entire premiums paid by these thousands of insured is so much more than the compensations to the damages/losses incurred by some few insured. Hence, the huge left-over money (from the premiums collected after paying the compensations) is utilized by the insurer as follows:

1. Some are kept as a cash reservoir.

2. Some are used as investments for more profit.

3. Some are used as operating expenses in form of rent, supplies, salaries, staff welfare etc.

4. Some are lent out to banks as fixed deposits for more profit etc. etc.

Apart from the vehicle insurance taken by Mr. Adam on his new vehicle, he can also decide to insure himself. This one is extremely different because it involves a human life and is thus termed Life Insurance or Assurance.

Life insurance (or assurance) is the insurance against against certainty or something that is certain to happen such as death, rather than something that might happen such as loss of or damage to property.

The issue of life insurance is a paramount one because it concerns the security of human life and business. Life insurance offers real protection for your business and it also provides some sot of motivation for any skilled employees who decides to to join your organization.

Life insurance insures the life of the policy holder and pays a benefit to the beneficiary. This beneficiary can be your business in the case of a key employee, partner, or co-owner. In some cases, the beneficiary may be one’s next of kin or a near or distant relation. The beneficiary is not limited to one person; it depends on the policy holder.

Life insurance policies exist in three forms:

• Whole life insurance

• Term Insurance

• Endowment insurance

Whole Life Insurance

In Whole Life Insurance (or Whole Assurance), the insurance company pays an agreed sum of money (i.e. sum assured) upon the death of the person whose life is insured. As against the logic of term life insurance, Whole Life Insurance is valid and it continues in existence as long as the premiums of the policy holders are paid.

When a person express his wish in taking a Whole Life Insurance, the insurer will look at the person’s current age and health status and use this data to reviews longevity charts which predict the person’s life duration/life-span. The insurer then present a monthly/quarterly/bi-annual/annual level premium. This premium to be paid depends on a person’s present age: the younger the person the higher the premium and the older the person the lower the premium. However, the extreme high premium being paid by a younger person will reduce gradually relatively with age over the course of many years.

In case you are planning a life insurance, the insurer is in the best position to advise you on the type you should take. Whole life insurance exists in three varieties, as follow: variable life, universal life, and variable-universal life; and these are very good options for your employees to consider or in your personal financial plan.

Term Insurance

In Term Insurance, the life of the policy-holder is insured for a specific period of time and if the person dies within the period the insurance company pays the beneficiary. Otherwise, if the policy-holder lives longer than the period of time stated in the policy, the policy is no longer valid. In a simple word, if death does not occur within stipulated period, the policy-holder receives nothing.

For example, Mr. Adam takes a life policy for a period of not later than the age of 60. If Mr. Adam dies within the age of less than 60 years, the insurance company will pay the sum assured. If Mr. Adam’s death does not occur within the stated period in the life policy (i.e. Mr. Adam lives up to 61 years and above), the insurance company pays nothing no matter the premiums paid over the term of the policy.

Term assurance will pay the policy holder only if death occurs during the “term” of the policy, which can be up to 30 years. Beyond the “term”, the policy is null and void (i.e. worthless). Term life insurance policies are basically of two types:

o Level term: In this one, the death benefit remains constant throughout the duration of the policy.

o Decreasing term: Here, the death benefit decreases as the course of the policy’s term progresses.

It should be note that Term Life Insurance can be used in a debtor-creditor scenario. A creditor may decide to insure the life of his debtor for a period over which the debt repayment is expected to be completed, so that if the debtor dies within this period, the creditor (being the policy-holder) gets paid by the insurance company for the sum assured).

Endowment Life Insurance

In Endowment Life Insurance, the life of the policy holder is insured for a specific period of time (say, 30 years) and if the person insured is still alive after the policy has timed out, the insurance company pays the policy-holder the sum assured. However, if the person assured dies within the “time specified” the insurance company pays the beneficiary.

For example, Mr. Adam took an Endowment Life Insurance for 35 years when he was 25 years of age. If Mr. Adam is lucky to attain the age of 60 (i.e. 25 + 35), the insurance company will pay the policy-holder (i.e. whoever is paying the premium, probably Mr. Adam if he is the one paying the premium) the sum assured. However, if Mr. Adam dies at the age of 59 years before completing the assured time of 35 years, his sum assured will be paid to his beneficiary (i.e. policy-holder). In case of death, the sum assured is paid at the age which Mr. Adam dies.

How to Compare Term Life Insurance Companies

When you are purchasing term life insurance for yourself or a family member, you are creating a contract between you and the insurance company. When you hire a contractor, wouldn’t you check out the company before you hire them? Getting to know the insurance company that you are going to trust with your family’s future is far more important. There are some basic things that you need to look at before you sign on the bottom line.

Currently in the United States, there are over 1,500 insurance companies operating that sell life insurance policies to clients. Most of these companies are simply subsidiaries of their parent companies. These subsidiary companies are commonly created because each state has different laws, and this allows the companies to be able to tailor their policies to be able to meet that state’s rules and regulations. The parent company and the subsidiaries are separate companies, but they all operate under the same corporate umbrella. Using a single centralized company would not work due to all the disparate laws and jurisdictions. A very important consideration is whether the insurance company has an entity in your local state. Otherwise, in the case of a dispute, you will not be able to bring the case before your state insurance regulatory agency.

Once you find a company that has an operation in your state, there are some important considerations that you should look at, including the following: the policy, the company, financial stability, and claims settlement.

Obviously, you want to verify the policy. Typically, this is the step where most people stop, but this is only one part of what you should check. Make sure that the policy meets your needs. Read the whole policy, including the fine print. Make sure that the policy has all of the features and services that your agent promised. After you sign the policy, it is too late.

When selecting the insurance company, never rely solely on the company name. The name that they select has a lot to do with marketing, and the name that they choose is intended to project financial strength, fairness, dependability, etc. Words that are commonly used in the name include reserve, security, assurance, and equity. Don’t trust these words without examining the company’s history and credentials. It is also a good idea to go with trusted companies that have been in the business for many years. They have been around long enough to have a trusted name in the business.

Because you are buying this policy for many years, you want to make sure that the company will be there when you need them most. It is important to take a look at the financial strength of the company. In order for the company to survive, you need to make sure that they have a strong financial foundation so they can survive down times in the market. You can check their financial ratings from several independent agencies. You want to select a company with the highest rating possible.

Also take a look at the company’s record for paying claims. You can get this information from the national claims database or from your state’s insurance regulatory agency.

These are just some of the things that you should check on before you sign up for any policy. Make sure you are comfortable with it before you purchase the policy. There are many companies that can offer you quotes on term life insurance.

What Does a Life Insurance Company Rating Mean?

Most people, comfortable with their own sense of immortality, might look to a Life Insurance Company rating as an indication of the lowest premiums for x amount of Life Insurance. A bit more important is the Company’s financial stability and its ability to pay its claims.

When you are shopping for Life Insurance and feel all proud of yourself for being responsible and taking care of the risk management portion of your long term financial planning process, it is easy to concentrate solely on the cost of premiums. After all, most people are expecting to lost their wager with the Insurance Company and are getting Insurance for the “what if” and not the “when.”

Yet, although comparative premiums play a part in the Life Insurance Company rating, financial stability is a more important consideration. If an Insurance Agent offered you a million dollar term policy for a couple of cents a year, it might seem like a very, very good deal. Yet, if the Company has folded up shop and moved to Central America when your beneficiaries come looking for their payout, it was really a wasted couple of cents.

In the world of permanent Life Insurance and the combination of Life Insurance with savings and investment, financial stability and a good track record in selecting and managing your investment are the factors that constitute a good Insurance Company Rating. The ratings and evaluations of any single Company are subject to change during the life of your policy. The need to understand ratings and to follow them closely does not end when the policy is purchased.

There are several reputable Rating services and they present their ratings online, so it is easy to obtain them. In addition, the Insurance regulatory agencies of most States can provide additional information on Company performance. The Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA) provides a Seal of Approval to Companies with ethical standards and a good performance records.

Remember, the Life Insurance Company Rating is a combination of a number of factors. These include competitive rate comparisons, but more important are the ratings that indicate long term financial stability and a good performance and investment track record. The ratings are tools that can be used to make the important choices involved in the selection of the best Company for your Insurance needs. Make sure you use them and do not be afraid to discuss them and their meaning with your Insurance Agent.