Glossary of Insurance Terms
Absolute Assignment: The transfer of ownership of a life insurance policy to a separate entity. The assignee becomes the new policy owner. Commonly used when banks require life insurance as collateral for a loan.
Accelerated Death Benefit: This benefit is included with many policies today. It provides for the payment of a portion of the death benefit prior to the insured's death should the insured be diagnosed as terminally ill. The specific requirements vary by company.
Accidental Death Benefit (ADB): This benefit is optional with many policies today. It provides an additional death benefit when the insured's death is caused by an accident.
Actual Age: A method of calculating an applicant's insurance age. This method uses the insured's actual age and is sometimes called Age Last Birthday or Attained Age.
Actuary: An individual employed by an insurance company to calculate premium rates, reserves, dividends and other important figures using risk factors obtained from experience tables.
Adjustable Life Insurance: A form of life insurance which allows the policy owner to change various benefits of the policy including the face amount, the premium amount, the length of coverage and the length of the premium payment period.
Adverse Selection: The tendency of persons with poorer-than average health expectations (higher risk) to apply for or continue insurance coverage to a greater extent than persons with average or better-than-average health expectations (lesser risk).
Age Change: The date on which an insured's age changes. In most life insurance contracts this is the date midway between the insured's birthdays. The date of age change depends on whether the insurer uses an age nearest birthday or age last birthday calculation for determining premium rates.
Age Last Birthday: A method of calculating an applicant's insurance age. This method uses the insured's actual age and is sometimes called Actual Age or Attained Age.
Age Nearest Birthday:A method of calculating an applicant's insurance age. This method is based on a person's nearest birth date for rate calculations. If the person's birth date is within the next six months, they are considered the next age.
Age Limits: The ages above or below which an insurer will not issue and insurance policy or continue a policy presently in force.
Agent: An authorized and licensed representative of an insurance company who sells and services insurance policies. Agents represent the insurance company and typically only sell policies from that company.
Allowable Charge: Charges for medical services or supplies provided by a hospital or physician which qualify as covered expenses as stated in the health plan's certificate of coverage.
Ambulatory Services: Health care services provided to patients who are able to return home without an overnight stay in a medical facility. Typically, ambulatory services include preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services provided on an outpatient basis.
Ambulatory Surgery: intermediate level surgical procedures that usually are too complex to be performed in a physician's office but do not require inpatient hospitalization.
Amendment: A formal document which corrects or revises an insurance policy. When authorized by the insurer and the policy owner, the amendment attaches to or becomes part of the policy.
Annuitize: To begin a series of payments from an annuity. This term also refers to the settlement of a life insurance policy under the contract's annuity options.
Annuity: A contract sold by a life insurance company that provides fixed or variable payments to an annuitant, either immediately or at a future date.
Applicant: The person applying for the insurance policy. The applicant may be different from the proposed insured or the policy owner.
Application: Forms required by the insurance company which the proposed insured completes when requesting coverage from an insurer.
Approved: A status that indicates the insurance company has completed underwriting and agrees to issue a policy to the proposed insured.
Assignment: The transfer of the ownership rights of a life insurance policy from one person to another.
Attained Age: The age of an individual on a given date. Some insurance companies use attained age as a method of calculating insurance premiums.
Attending Physician's Statement (APS): Information provided by a proposed insured's physician covering medical history and results of medical examinations. It is used to determine the appropriate underwriting classification for the proposed insured.
Aviation Hazard: The increased risk of death or injury resulting from participation in aviation, usually as a pilot. The presence of aviation hazard will often result in extra premium or the exclusion of certain benefits.
Avocation: This refers to either an occupation or an activity the insured participates in.