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Glossary of Insurance Terms

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Carrier: Another name for an insurance company.

Cash Value: The amount of cash accumulated inside some types of permanent life insurance policies. The cash value typically grows over time and often earns a rate of interest depending on the type of policy. It can be borrowed by the Insured or withdrawn when the policy is surrendered.

Change of Beneficiary: A contract provision that allows the policy owner to change the beneficiary whenever desired, unless the beneficiary has been designated as irrevocable. Changes to an irrevocable beneficiary require written permission of the beneficiary.

Change of Beneficiary Form: A form provided by the insurer that the policy owner must complete in order to change the beneficiary on a policy.

Children Rider: An optional policy provision that provides a small amount of life insurance coverage on the lives of the primary insured's children. The amount of coverage varies by company and one rider typically covers all of the insured's eligible children.

Claim: Notification to an insurance company that payment of the benefit is due under the terms of the policy.

Clause: An article or added provision m a life insurance contract, such as a Suicide Clause.

COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act): A federal law which, among other things, requires employers to offer employees and their dependents that would otherwise lose their group health plan eligibility, continuation of coverage under the firm's group plan. Employers are required to make health plans available for periods ranging from 18 to 36 months.

Coinsurance: A provision of a program by which the insured shares in the cost of covered services on a percentage basis. The health plan assumes only a certain percentage of the cost while the covered person pays the remainder. Coinsurance is usually paid after the insured meets the plan deductible. For example, a plan with 80/20 coinsurance means, after the deductible is paid by the insured, the insurance company will pay 80 percent of the remaining covered expenses up to a set amount and the insured will pay 20 percent.

Collateral Assignment: The pledge of a life insurance policy or its value as security for the repayment of a loan. The assignee receives rights that are superior to the rights of the original policy owner and beneficiary, to the extent of the obligation owed to the assignee.

Commissions: A fee or percentage of premium allowed to a salesperson or agent for services rendered.

Commutation Right: The right of a beneficiary to receive in a single lump-sum the remaining payments under an installment option which was selected for the settlement of the proceeds of life insurance policy.

Conditional Premium Receipt: A receipt given to an applicant when a payment accompanies an application for insurance. If conditions of the conditional coverage are met, the receipt verifies the coverage will be in force from the date of application, provided the insurer would have issued the coverage on the basis of the facts revealed on the application, medical examination and other usual sources of underwriting.

Contestability Period: The time period during which the insurer is can deny a claim if it finds material misrepresentations were made in the application. This period usually covers the first two years a policy is in force. A policy becomes "incontestable" when the collectability period is over.

Contingent Beneficiary: A person(s) designated by the policy owner to receive policy proceeds if the Primary Beneficiary is deceased at the time benefits become payable. This is often referred to as a secondary beneficiary.

Conversion Benefit: This allows the policy owner to change one policy type for another. An example is exchanging a term life insurance policy for a permanent life insurance policy. Most term life insurance policies offer this benefit.

Conversion Credit: A one-time credit given when converting term life insurance to permanent life insurance.

Coordination of Benefits (COB): When the covered person is covered by another plan or plans, the benefits under the policy and the other Planes will be coordinated so benefits from all sources do not exceed 100 percent of allowable medical expenses. This means one Plan pays its full benefits, then the other Planes) pay(s).

Co-payment or co-pay: A specific payment by the covered person at the point of each health service visit. It does not accumulate like a deductible and is not subject to an out of pocket maximum.

Covered Expenses: All medical services that are covered by an insurance policy. Some health insurance plans will have a list of medical services they do not cover. It would be wise to make sure you are not in need of any service excluded by any given health insurance plan.

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