Glossary of insurance terms

Accident: An event or occurrence which is unforeseen and unintended.

Accidental Bodily Injury: Injury to the body as the result of an accident.

Accounting: The process of recording, summarising, and allocating all items of income and expense of the company and analyzing, verifying, and reporting the results.

Act of God: A flood, earthquake or other non preventable accident resulting from natural causes that occur without any human intervention.

Actuary: A person professionally trained in the technical aspects of pensions, insurance and related fields. The actuary estimates how much money must be contributed to an insurance or pension fund in order to provide future . 
Additional insured: A person, company or entity protected by an insurance policy in addition to the insured. 

Adjuster: A person who investigates and settles losses for an insurance carrier. 

Adjusting: The process of investigating and settling losses with or by an insurance carrier. 

Adverse Selection: The tendency of persons who present a poorer-than-average risk to apply for, or continue, insurance to a greater extent than do person with average or better-than-average expectations of loss.

Affidavit of prescription: legal procedures to become the owner of a property after having occupied same over thirty consecutive and uninterrupted years.

Age Limits: Stipulated minimum and maximum ages below and above which the company will not accept applications or may not renew policies.

Agent: An insurance company representative licensed by the state who solicits, negotiates or effects contracts of insurance, and provides service to the policyholder for the insurer. 

All-risks Policy: Coverage by an insurance contract that promises to cover all losses except those losses specifically excluded in the policy.

Amendment: A formal document changing the provisions of an insurance policy signed jointly by the insurance company officer and the policy holder or his authorised representative.

Amortisation: Paying an interest-bearing liability by gradual reduction through a series of installments, as opposed to one lump-sum payment.

Application: A signed statement of facts made by a person applying for life insurance and then used by the insurance company to decide whether or not to issue a policy. The application becomes part of the insurance contract when the policy is issued.

Arbitration: A form of alternative dispute resolution where an unbiased person or panel renders an opinion as to responsibility for or extent of a loss.

Arson: The willful and.malicious burning of, or attempt to burn, any structure or other property, often with criminal or fraudulent intent.

Assets: All funds, property, goods, securities, rights of action, or resources of any kind owned by an insurance company. Statutory accounting, however, excludes non-admitted assets, such as deferred or overdue premiums, that would be considered assets under generally accepted accounting principles.

Assignment: The legal transfer of one person's interest in an insurance policy to another person.

Assignment Deed: An act by which the life assured (Borrower) assigns his/her life assurance policy to the lender as a guarantee for the reimbursement of his/her loan.

Aviation Insurance: Aircraft insurance including coverage of aircraft or their contents, the owner's liability, and accident insurance on the passengers.

Beneficiary: The person designated or provided for by the policy terms to receive any benefits provided by the policy or plan upon the death of the insured.

Bond: A certificate issued by a government or corporation as evidence of a debt. The issuer of the bond promises to pay the bondholder a specified amount of interest for a specified period and to repay the loan on the expiration (maturity) date.

Burglary: Breaking and entering into another person's property with forcible entry or exit from premises.

Burglary and Theft Insurance: Coverage against property losses due to burglary, robbery, or larceny.

Business Interruption Insurance: Protection for a business owner against losses resulting from a temporary shutdown because of fire or other insured peril. The insurance provides reimbursement for lost net profits and necessary continuing expenses.

Cancellation: The discontinuance of an insurance policy before its normal expiration date, either by the insured or the company.

Capital Gain: Profit realized on the sale of securities. An unrealized capital gain is an increase in the value of securities that have not been sold.

Captive Insurance Company: A company owned solely or in large part by one or more non-insurance entities for the primary purpose of providing insurance coverage to the owner or owners.

Captive Insurer: Insurance company established and owned by a parent firm: order to insure its loss exposures while reducing premium costs, providing easier access to a reinsurer, and perhaps easing tax burdens. 

Cargo Insurance: Type of ocean marine insurance that protects the goods shipped against financial loss if the goods are damaged or lost.

Cede: To transfer all or part of a risk written by an insurer (the ceding, primary company) to a reinsurer.

Certificate of Insurance: A statement of coverage issued to an individual insured under a group insurance contract, outlining the insurance benefits and principal provisions applicable to the member.

Cession: Amount of the insurance ceded to a reinsurer by the original insuring company in a reinsurance operation.

Cession de priorite: priority of ranking given over its existing inscription by an organization to another.

Check-off: authority given by an employee to effect a monthly deduction from his/her salary.

Claim: A request for payment of a loss which may come under the terms of a insurance contract.

Claims Adjustor: Person who settles claims: an agent, company adjustor, independent adjustor, adjustment bureau, or public adjustor.

Claim-made policy: A liability insurance policy under which coverage applies to claims filed during the policy period.

Coinsurance
1) A provision under which an insured who carries less than the stipulated percentage of insurance to value, will receive a loss payment that is limited to the same ratio which the amount of insurance bears to the amount required;

2) a policy provision frequently found in medical insurance by which the insured person and the insurer share the losses covered under policy in a specified ratio, e.g. 80 percent by the insurer and 20 percent by the insured.

Declarations: Statements in an insurance contract that provide information about the property or life to be insured and used for underwriting and rating purposes and identification of the property or life to be insured.

Declination: The insurer's refusal to insure an individual after careful evaluation of the application for insurance and any other pertinent factors.

Deductible: An amount which a policyholder agrees to pay, per claim or per accident, toward the total amount of an insured loss.

Deed of loan: an agreement between borrower and creditor containing all terms and conditions of loan.

Direct Loss: Financial loss that results directly from an insured peril.

Directors' and Officers' Liability: the exposure of corporate managers to claims from shareholders, government agencies, and employees, and others alleging mismanagement.

Disability: a physical or a mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of an individual. It may be partial or total.
(See Partial Disability; Total Disability.)

Disability Benefit: Periodic payments, usually monthly, payable to participants under some retirement plans, if such participants are eligible for the benefits and become totally and permanently disabled prior normal retirement date.

Dread Disease Insurance: Insurance providing an unallocated benefit, subject to a maximum amount, for expenses incurred in connection with the treatment of specified diseases, such as cancer, poliomyelitis, encephalitis and spinal meningitis.

Early Retirement: Retirement of a participant prior to the normal retirement age. It is usually allowed at any time within a period of 5-10 years preceding the normal retirement age.

Economic Loss: The estimated total cost, both insured and uninsured, of mishaps (such as motor vehicle accidents, work accidents, and fires); includes such factors as property damage, funeral expenses, wage loss, insurance administration costs, and medical, hospital and legal costs.

Effective Date: The date on which the insurance under a policy begins.

Elements of a Negligent Act: Four elements an injured person must show to prove negligence: existence of a legal duty to use reasonable care, failure to perform that duty, damages or injury to the claimant, and proximate cause relationship between the negligent act and the infliction of damages.

Embezzlement: Fraudulent use or taking of another's property or money which has been entrusted to one's care.

Endorsements: An additional piece of paper, not a part of the original contract, which cites certain terms and which, when attached to the original contract, becomes a legal part of that contract.

Equities: Investments in the form of ownership of property, usually common stocks, as distinguished from fixed income bearing securities, such as bonds or mortgages.

Exclusions: Specific conditions or circumstances listed in the policy for which the policy will not provide benefit payments.

Facultative Reinsurance: A type of reinsurance in which the reinsurer can accept or reject any risk presented by an insurance company seeking reinsurance.

Fidelity Guarantee: A form of protection which reimburses an employer for losses caused by dishonest or fraudulent acts of employees.

Fire: A combustion accompanied by a flame or glow, which escapes its normal confines to cause damage.

Fire Insurance: Coverage for losses caused by fire and lightning, plus resultant damage caused by smoke and water.

Fire Legal Liability: Liability of a firm or person for fire damage caused by negligence and damage to property of others.

Freehold: land privately owned.

General Average: In ocean marine insurance, a loss incurred for the common good that is shared by all parties to the venture.

Gross Negligence: the intentional failure to perform a manifest duty in reckless disregard of the consequences as affecting the life or property of another party.

Gross Premium: The premium paid by the policyholder.

Gross Rate: The sum of the pure premium and a loading element.

Group Insurance: Insurance written on a number of people under a single master policy, issued to their employer or to an association with which they are affiliated. 

Hard Market: That part of the insurance sales cycle in which competitive pricing is at a minimum as companies charge the premiums necessary to meet their underwriting losses in order to avoid insolvency and boost capacity; usually associated with a sharp decline in capacity.

Hold Harmless Clause: Clause written into a contract by which one party agrees to release another party from all legal liability, such as a retailer who agrees to release the manufacturer from legal liability if the product injures someone.

Homeowners Policy: A package of insurance providing home owners with a broad range of property and liability coverages.

Hull Insurance:
(1) Class of ocean marine insurance that covers physical damage to the ship or vessel insured. Typically written on an "all-risks" basis.

(2) Physical damage insurance on aircraft similar to collision insurance in an automobile policy.

Hypotheque conventionelle: 'droit reel sur un immeuble qui garantit un pret sans deposseder Ie proprietaire.

Incurred Claims: Incurred claims equal the claims paid during the policy year plus the claim reserves as of the end of the policy year, minus the corresponding reserves as of the beginning of the policy year. The difference between the year end and beginning of the year claim reserves is called the increase in reserves and may be added directly to the paid claims to produce the incurred claims.

Incurred-but-not-reported (IBNR) reserves: liability account on an insurer's balance sheet reflecting claims that are expected based upon statistical projections but which have not yet been reported to the insurer.

Indemnification: Compensation to the victim of a loss, in whole or in part, by payment, repair, or replacement.

Indemnity: Legal principle that specifies an insured should not collect more than the actual cash value of a loss but should be restored to approximately the same financial position as existed before the loss.

Inscription: a charge or mortgage taken on a property belonging to the debtor by an entry in the Books of the Conservator of mortgages in favour of a company/bank on the granting of a loan.

Insolvent: Having insufficient financial resources (assets) to meet financial obligations (liabilities).

Insurability: Acceptability to the company of an applicant for insurance.

Insurable Risk: The conditions that make a risk insurable are 

(a) the peril insured against must produce a definite loss not under the control of the insured,

(b) there must be a large number of homogeneous exposures subject to the same perils,

(c) the loss must be calculable and the cost of insuring it must be economically feasible,

(d) the peril must be unlikely to affect all insureds simultaneously, and

(e) the loss produced by a risk must be definite and have a potential to be financially serious.

Insurance: Protection by written contract against the financial hazards (in whole or in part) of the happenings of specified fortuitous events.

Insurance Company: Any corporation primarily engaged in the business of furnishing insurance protection to the public.

Insured: A person or organization covered by an insurance policy, including the "named insured" and any other parties for whom protection is provided under the policy terms.

Insurer: The party to the insurance contract who promises to pay losses or benefits. Also, any corporation engaged primarily in the business of furnishing insurance to the public.

Insuring Agreement: That part of an insurance contract that states promises of the insurer.

Insuring Clause: The clause which sets forth the type of loss being covered by the policy and the parties to the insurance contract.

Interest: Money paid for the use of money.

Intestate: Without a will.

Investment Income: The income generated by a company's portfolio or investments (such as in bonds, stocks, or other financial ventures)

Joint-and-Several Liability: A legal principle that permits the injured party in a tort action to recover the entire amount of compensation due for injuries from any tort feasor who is able to pay, regardless of the degree of that party's negligence.

Key-Person Insurance: Insurance designed to protect the loss of income resulting from the death.

Lapse: The termination or discontinuance of an insurance policy due to non payment of a premium.

Lapsed Policy: A policy terminated for non-payment of premiums. The term is sometimes limited to a termination occurring before the policy has a surrender value.

Leasehold: land rented from the Government of Mauritius.

Letter of offer: letter of approval for loan.

Liability: Any legally enforceable obligation.

Liability Insurance: Insurance covering the policyholder's legal liability resulting from injuries to other persons or damage to their property.

Liability Limits: The stipulated sum or sums beyond which an insurance company is not liable to protect the insured.

Loss Avoidance: A risk management technique whereby a situation or activity that may result in a loss for a firm is avoided or abandoned.

Loss Prevention: Any measure which reduces the probability or frequency of particular loss but does not eliminate completely all possibility of that loss.

Loss Ratio: The percent which losses bear to premiums for a given period.

Loss Reserve: The amount set up as the estimated cost of a claim.

Malingering: The practice of feigning illness or inability to work in order to collect insurance benefits.

Marine Insurance: A form of insurance primarily concerned with means of transportation and communication, and with goods in transit.

Master Policy (or Master Contract): The policy issued to a group policyholder setting forth the provisions of the group insurance plan. The individuals insure under the policy are then issued certificates of insurance.

Material Damage: Insurance against damage to a vehicle itself. It includes automobile comprehensive, collision, fire and theft. Material damage and physical damage are terms that often are used inter-changeably.

Misrepresentation: A false, incorrect, improper, or incomplete statement of a material fact, made in the application for a policy.

Moral Hazard: Hazard arising from any nonphysical, personal characteristic of a risk that increases the possibility of loss or may intensify the severity of loss for instance, bad habits, low integrity, poor financial standing.

Mortality Table: A statistical table showing the death rate at each age, usually expressed as so many per thousand.

Occupational Hazards: Occupations which expose the insured to greater than normal physical danger by the very nature of the work in which the insured is engaged, and the varying periods of absence from the occupation, due to the disability, that can be expected.

Occurrence: An accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same general, harmful conditions, that results in bodily injury or property damage during the period of an insurance policy.

Overriding Commission (Overwrite): A commission paid to general agents or agency managers in addition to the commission paid to the soliciting agent or broker.

Paid-up Insurance: Insurance on which all required premiums have been paid. The term is frequently used to mean the reduced paid-up insurance available as a non-forfeiture option.

Pari-Passu: equal rights.

Pension Plan: A plan established and maintained by an employer, group of employers, union or any combination, primarily to provide for the payment of definitely determinable benefits to participants after retirement.

Peril: The cause of a possible loss, such as fire, cyclone, burglary, explosion, or riot.

Personal Lines: Those types of insurance, such as motor or home insurance, for individuals or families rather than for businesses or organisations.

Personal representative: A person appointed through the will of a deceased or by a court to settle the estate of one who dies.

Policy: The printed legal document stating the terms of the insurance contract that is issued to the policyholder by the company.

Policy Loan: A loan made by a life insurance company from its general funds to a policyholder on the security of the cash value of a policy.

Policy Term: That period for which an insurance policy provides coverage.

Policyholder: The person who owns a life insurance policy. This is usually the insured person, but it may also be a relative of the insured, a partnership or a corporation.

Policyholder: A person who pays a premium to an insurance company in exchange for the insurance protection provided by a policy of insurance.

Premium: The sum paid by a policyholder to keep an insurance policy in force.

Product Liability: legal liability incurred by a manufacturer, merchant, or distributor because of injury or damage resulting from the use of its product.

Product Liability Insurance: Protection against financial loss arising out of the legal liability incurred by a manufacturer, merchant, or distributor because of injury or damage resulting from the use of a covered product.

Property Insurance: Insurance providing financial protection against the loss of, or damage to, real and personal property caused by such perils as fire, cyclone, flood, explosion, riot, aircraft, motor vehicles, malicious acts and civil commotion.

Proximate Cause: The dominating cause of loss or damage; an unbroken chain of events between the occurrence and damage.

Quittance et main-levee: a deed witnessing the full payment of a loan and the release of the mortgaged property.

Reimbursement: The payment of the expenses actually incurred as a result an accident or sickness, but not to exceed any amount specified in the policy.

Reinstatement: The resumption of coverage under a policy which has lapsed.

Reinsurance: The acceptance by one or more insurers, called reinsurers, of a portion of the risk underwritten by another insurer who has contracted for the entire coverage.

Renewal: Continuance of coverage under a policy beyond its original term the insurer's acceptance of the premium for a new policy term.

Replacement Cost: The cost to repair or replace property at construction costs prevailing at time of loss; the cost to repair or rebuild property without considering depreciation.

Risk control: any conscious action (or decision not to act) intended to reduce the frequency, severity, or unpredictability of accidental losses.

Salvage: Recovery made by an insurance company by the sale of property which has been taken over from the insured as a part of loss settlement.

Second-line inscription: a charge or mortgage ranking after an existing inscription.

Self-Insurance:

(1) A program for providing group insurance with benefits financed entirely through the internal means of the policyholder, in place of purchasing coverage from commercial carriers.

(2) A form of risk financing through which a firm assumes all or a part of its own losses.

Soft Market: That part of the insurance sales cycle in which competition is at a maximum as insurance companies use their excess capacity to sell more policies at lower prices.

Solde-de-prix: a deed witnessing a sale against a down payment, the balance being paid off in a definite period of time. The vendor keeps a privilege over the property until full and final settlement of the amount due. 

Standing Order: instruction given by a client to his/her bank for a monthly remittance deducted from his/her account.

Strict Liability: Liability for damages even though fault or negligence cannot be proven.

Subrogation: Process by which one insurance company seeks reimbursement from another company or person for a claim it has already paid.

Salvage: Recovery made by an insurance company by the sale of property which has been taken over from the insured as a part of loss settlement.

Second-line inscription: a charge or mortgage ranking after an existing inscription.

Self-Insurance:

(1) A program for providing group insurance with benefits financed entirely through the internal means of the policyholder, in place of purchasing coverage from commercial carriers.

(2) A form of risk financing through which a firm assumes all or a part of its own losses.

Soft Market: That part of the insurance sales cycle in which competition is at a maximum as insurance companies use their excess capacity to sell more policies at lower prices.

Solde-de-prix: a deed witnessing a sale against a down payment, the balance being paid off in a definite period of time. The vendor keeps a privilege over the property until full and final settlement of the amount due. 

Standing Order: instruction given by a client to his/her bank for a monthly remittance deducted from his/her account.

Strict Liability: Liability for damages even though fault or negligence cannot be proven.

Subrogation: Process by which one insurance company seeks reimbursement from another company or person for a claim it has already paid.