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Insurance Glossary

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Insurance Glossary: Pages T - Z

Term Insurance: Protection during limited number of years; expiring without value if the insured survives the stated period, which may be one or more years but usually is five to twenty years, because such periods usually cover the needs for temporary protection.

Term: Period for which the policy runs. In life insurance, this is to the end of the term period for term insurance.

Tertiary Beneficiary: In life insurance, a beneficiary designated as third in line to receive the proceeds or benefits if the primary and secondary beneficiaries do not survive the insured.

Third-Party Owner: A policy owner who is not the prospective insured. The policy owner and the insured may be, and often are the same person. If for example, you apply for and are issued an insurance policy on your life, then you are both the policy owner and the insured and may be known as the policy owner-insured. If, however, your mother applies for and is issued a policy on your life, then she is the policy owner and you are the insured.

Underwriter: Company receiving premiums and accepting responsibility for fulfilling the policy contract. Also, company employee who decides whether the company should assume a particular risk; or the agent who sells the policy.

Uninsurable Risk: A person who is not acceptable for insurance due to excessive risk.

Universal Life: An interest-sensitive life insurance policy that builds cash values. The premium payer has control over how the policy is structured. He has the flexibility to eliminate the premiums (essentially pay up the policy and pay no more premiums) or have the premiums continue for life. It is a matter of juggling three variables: the assumed interest rate, the cash value and the premium payment plan. The policy is interest-sensitive, and if interest rates change from the assumed interest, it will affect the other two variables. In the past, many Universal Life Policies were structured assuming a higher interest rate then was actually received, therefore, most of them have under performed. If you have a Universal Life Policy, you should have it evaluated to see if it needs to have the premiums adjusted to get it back on track. A fourth variable that has not been a factor but could be in the future, and the owner should be aware of, is the Mortality variable. Universal Life policies are usually structured assuming current mortality rates. The insurance companies reserve the right to change those rates.

Variable Life: Life insurance under which the benefits relate to the value of assets behind the contract at the time the benefit is paid. The assets fluctuate according to the investment experience of funds managed by the life insurance company. Premium payments may be fixed as to timing and amount (scheduled premium variable life) or subject to change by the policy holder (flexible premium variable life).

Waiver of Premium: Rider or provision included in most life insurance policies exempting the insured from paying premiums after he or she has been disabled for a specified period of time, usually six months.

Whole Life Insurance: Life insurance that is kept in force for a person's whole life as long as the scheduled premiums are maintained. All Whole Life policies build up cash values. Most Whole Life policies are guaranteed as long as the scheduled premiums are maintained. The variable in a Whole life Policy is the dividend which could vary depending on how well the insurance is doing. If the company is doing well and the policies are not experiencing a higher mortality than projected, premiums are paid back to the policy holder in the form of dividends. Policyholders can use the cash from dividends in many ways. The three main uses are: it can be used to lower or vanish premiums, it can be used to purchase more insurance or it can be used to pay for term insurance.

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