Insurance terminology defined, brought to you by the Insurance Information Institute.
Coverage for losses above the limit of an underlying policy or policies such as homeowners and auto insurance. While it applies to losses over the dollar amount in the underlying policies, terms of coverage are sometimes broader than those of underlying policies.
A form of annuity contract that gives purchasers the freedom to choose among certain optional features in their contract.
The result of the policyholder’s failure to buy sufficient insurance. An underinsured policyholder may only receive part of the cost of replacing or repairing damaged items covered in the policy.
Examining, accepting, or rejecting insurance risks and classifying the ones that are accepted, in order to charge appropriate premiums for them.
The insurer’s profit on the insurance sale after all expenses and losses have been paid. When premiums aren’t sufficient to cover claims and expenses, the result is an underwriting loss. Underwriting losses are typically offset by investment income.
The portion of a premium already received by the insurer under which protection has not yet been provided. The entire premium is not earned until the policy period expires, even though premiums are typically paid in advance.
Risks for which it is difficult for someone to get insurance. (See Insurable risk )
Portion of an auto insurance policy that protects a policyholder from uninsured and hit-and-run drivers.
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.
See Medical Utilization Review.