Timothy J Wolfe - Senior Level Insurance Professional
J. James Wolfe Agency, Inc.


      Canandaigua (585) 394-2790

                  Brighton (585) 235-4910
R

RATE
The cost of a unit of insurance, usually per $1,000. Rates are based on historical loss experience for similar risks and may be regulated by state insurance offices. 

RATE REGULATION
The process by which states monitor insurance companies’ rate changes, done either through prior approval or open competition models. 

RATED POLICY
An insurance policy that is classified as having a greater-than-average likelihood of loss, usually issued with special exclusions, a premium rate that is higher than the rate for a standard policy, a reduced face amount, or any combination of these. 

RATING AGENCIES
Six major credit agencies determine insurers’ financial strength and viability to meet claims obligations. They are A.M. Best Co.; Duff & Phelps Inc.; Fitch, Inc.; Moody’s Investors Services; Standard & Poor’s Corp.; and Weiss Ratings, Inc. Factors considered include company earnings, capital adequacy, operating leverage, liquidity, investment performance, reinsurance programs, and management ability, integrity and experience. A high financial rating is not the same as a high consumer satisfaction rating. 

RATING BUREAU
The insurance business is based on the spread of risk. The more widely risk is spread, the more accurately loss can be estimated. An insurance company can more accurately estimate the probability of loss on 100,000 homes than on ten. Years ago, insurers were required to use standardized forms and rates developed by rating agencies. Today, large insurers use their own statistical loss data to develop rates. But small insurers, or insurers focusing on special lines of business, with insufficiently broad loss data to make them actuarially reliable depend on pooled industry data collected by such organizations as the Insurance Services Office (ISO) which provides information to help develop rates such as estimates of future losses and loss adjustment expenses like legal defense costs. 

REDLINING
Literally means to draw a red line on a map around areas to receive special treatment. Refusal to issue insurance based solely on where applicants live is illegal in all states. Denial of insurance must be risk-based. 

REINSTATEMENT
The process by which an insurer puts back into force an insurance policy that has either been terminated for nonpayment of premiums or continued as extended term or reduced paid-up coverage. 

REINSURANCE
Insurance bought by insurers. A reinsurer assumes part of the risk and part of the premium originally taken by the insurer, known as the primary company. Reinsurance effectively increases an insurer's capital and therefore its capacity to sell more coverage. The business is global and some of the largest reinsurers are based abroad. Reinsurers have their own reinsurers, called retrocessionaires. Reinsurers don’t pay policyholder claims. Instead, they reimburse insurers for claims paid. (See Treaty reinsurance, Facultative reinsurance) 

RENTERS INSURANCE
A form of insurance that covers a policyholder’s belongings against perils such as fire, theft, windstorm, hail, explosion, vandalism, riots, and others. It also provides personal liability coverage for damage the policyholder or dependents cause to third parties. It also provides additional living expenses, known as loss-of-use coverage, if a policyholder must move while his or her dwelling is repaired. It also can include coverage for property improvements. Possessions can be covered for their replacement cost or the actual cash value that includes depreciation. 

REPLACEMENT COST
Insurance that pays the dollar amount needed to replace damaged personal property or dwelling property without deducting for depreciation but limited by the maximum dollar amount shown on the declarations page of the policy. 

REPORTING FORM
The policy requires the insured to make periodic reports of values, usually on a monthly or quarterly basis.

REPRESENTATION
Representations when used with an application for insurance, are correct and true statements made by the applicant of insurance on an application.

RESIDUAL MARKET
Facilities, such as assigned risk plans and FAIR Plans, that exist to provide coverage for those who cannot get it in the regular market. Insurers doing business in a given state generally must participate in these pools. For this reason the residual market is also known as the shared market. 

RETENTION
The amount of risk retained by an insurance company that is not reinsured.

RETROSPECTIVE RATING
A method of permitting the final premium for a risk to be adjusted, subject to an agreed-upon maximum and minimum limit based on actual loss experience. It is available to large commercial insurance buyers. 

RIDER
An attachment to an insurance policy that alters the policy’s coverage or terms. 

RISK
The chance of loss or the person or entity that is insured. 

RISK MANAGEMENT
Management of the varied risks to which a business firm or association might be subject. It includes analyzing all exposures to gauge the likelihood of loss and choosing options to better manage or minimize loss. These options typically include reducing and eliminating the risk with safety measures, buying insurance, and self-insurance. 

RISK RETENTION GROUPS
Insurance companies that band together as self-insurers and form an organization that is chartered and licensed as an insurer in at least one state to handle liability insurance. 

S

SAFETY GROUP
A Safety Group is a group of policyholders engaged in the same business or profession who have a defined program for actively promoting loss control. Based on the aggregate results of the group, a dividend is paid to the members of the safety group.

SALVAGE
Damaged property an insurer takes over to reduce its loss after paying a claim. Insurers receive salvage rights over property on which they have paid claims, such as badly-damaged cars. Insurers that paid claims on cargoes lost at sea now have the right to recover sunken treasures. Salvage charges are the costs associated with recovering that property. 

SCHEDULE
A list of individual items or groups of items that are covered under one policy or a listing of specific benefits, charges, credits, assets or other defined items. 

SECONDARY MARKET
Market for previously issued and outstanding securities. 

SELF-INSURANCE
The concept of assuming a financial risk oneself, instead of paying an insurance company to take it on. Every policyholder is a self-insurer in terms of paying a deductible and co-payments. Large firms often self-insure frequent, small losses such as damage to their fleet of vehicles or minor workplace injuries. However, to protect injured employees state laws set out requirements for the assumption of workers compensation programs. Self-insurance also refers to employers who assume all or part of the responsibility for paying the health insurance claims of their employees. Firms that self insure for health claims are exempt from state insurance laws mandating the illnesses that group health insurers must cover. 

SEPARATE ACCOUNT
In the United States, an investment account maintained separately from an insurer’s general account to help manage the funds placed in variable insurance products such as variable annuities. Contrast with general account. 

SEVERITY
Size of a loss. One of the criteria used in calculating premiums rates. 

SEWER BACK-UP COVERAGE
An optional part of homeowners insurance that covers sewers. 

SHORT RATE CANCELLATION
The insured pays a penalty in that the returned premium is not proportionate to the number of days remaining in the policy term.

SOFT MARKET
An environment where insurance is plentiful and sold at a lower cost, also known as a buyers’ market. (See Property/casualty insurance) 

SPREAD OF RISK
The selling of insurance in multiple areas to multiple policyholders to minimize the danger that all policyholders will have losses at the same time. Companies are more likely to insure perils that offer a good spread of risk. Flood insurance is an example of a poor spread of risk because the people most likely to buy it are the people close to rivers and other bodies of water that flood. (See Adverse selection) 

STANDARD RISK CLASS
In insurance underwriting, the group of proposed insured’s who represent average risk within the context of the insurer’s underwriting practices and therefore pay average premiums in relation to others of similar insurability. Contrast with declined risk class, preferred risk class and substandard risk class. 

STATE FUND
A mechanism administered by a state to provide insurance coverage, sometimes for high-risk policyholders

STATEMENT OF VALUES
In order to determine a blanket or average rate, the insured is required to submit a declaration of the amounts of value at each location indicated on the Statement of Values form.

SUBROGATION
The legal process by which an insurance company, after paying a loss, seeks to recover the amount of the loss from another party who is legally liable for it. 

SUBSTANDARD PREMIUM RATES
The premium rates charged insured’s who are classified as substandard risks. Also known as special class rates. 

SUBSTANDARD RISK CLASS
In insurance underwriting, the group of proposed insured’s who represent a significantly greater-than-average likelihood of loss within the context of the insurer’s underwriting practices. Also known as special class risk. Contrast with declined risk class, preferred risk class and standard risk class. 

SUPPLEMENTAL COVERAGE
An amount of coverage that adds to the amount of coverage specified in a basic insurance policy. 

SURETY BOND
A contract guaranteeing the performance of a specific obligation. Simply put, it is a three-party agreement under which one party, the surety company, answers to a second party, the owner, creditor or “obligee,” for a third party’s debts, default or nonperformance. Contractors are often required to purchase surety bonds if they are working on public projects. The surety company becomes responsible for carrying out the work or paying for the loss up to the bond “penalty” if the contractor fails to perform. 

SURPLUS LINES
Property/casualty insurance coverage that isn’t available from insurers licensed in the state, called admitted companies, and must be purchased from a non-admitted carrier. Examples include risks of an unusual nature that require greater flexibility in policy terms and conditions than exist in standard forms or where the highest rates allowed by state regulators are considered inadequate by admitted companies. Laws governing surplus lines vary by state. 


T

TAIL
Exposure to continued losses after the policy has expired and the coverage that may be purchased by the insured to extend coverage beyond policy expiration.

TERRITORIAL RATING
A method of classifying risks by geographic location to set a fair price for coverage. The location of the insured may have a considerable impact on the cost of losses. The chance of an accident or theft is much higher in an urban area than in a rural one, for example. 

TERRORISM COVERAGE
Included as a part of the package in standard commercial insurance policies before September 11, 2001 virtually free of charge. Since September 11, terrorism coverage prices have increased substantially to reflect the current risk. 

THIRD-PARTY COVERAGE
Liability coverage purchased by the policyholder as a protection against possible lawsuits filed by a third party. The insured and the insurer are the first and second parties to the insurance contract. (See First-party coverage)

TIME ELEMENT LOSS
The direct physical loss to property, which results in a loss of business income and extra expense that continues over a period of time.

TITLE INSURANCE
Insurance that indemnifies the owner of real estate in the event that his or her clear ownership of property is challenged by the discovery of faults in the title. 

TORT
A legal term denoting a wrongful act resulting in injury or damage on which a civil court action, or legal proceeding, may be based. 

TORT LAW
The body of law governing negligence, intentional interference, and other wrongful acts for which civil action can be brought, except for breach of contract, which is covered by contract law. 

TORT REFORM
Refers to legislation designed to reduce liability costs through limits on various kinds of damages and through modification of liability rules. 

TOTAL LOSS
The condition of an automobile or other property when damage is so extensive that repair costs would exceed the value of the vehicle or property. 

TRAILER INTERCHANGE AGREEMENT
An agreement in which one truck transfers a trailer containing a shipment to a second trucker for continued transportation.

TRAVEL INSURANCE
Insurance to cover problems associated with traveling, generally including trip cancellation due to illness, lost luggage and other incidents. 

TWISTING
An illegal insurance sales practice, in which a sales agent misrepresents the features of a contract in order to induce the contract owner to replace his current contract, often to the disadvantage of the contract owner. (See Misrepresentation) 


U

UMBRELLA POLICY
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. 

UNDERINSURANCE
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. 

UNDERWRITING
Examining, accepting, or rejecting insurance risks and classifying the ones that are accepted, in order to charge appropriate premiums for them. 

UNDERWRITING EXPENSE
Underwriting Expenses include the expenses of selling, underwriting and servicing a policy. Included would be commissions, salary expenses of marketing, underwriting and servicing staff, and underwriting reports.

UNDERWRITING INCOME
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. 

UNEARNED PREMIUM
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. 

UNINSURABLE RISK
Risks for which it is difficult for someone to get insurance. (See Insurable risk) 

UNINSURED MOTORISTS COVERAGE
Portion of an auto insurance policy that protects a policyholder from uninsured and hit-and-run drivers. 


V

VALUE REPORTING FORM
The amount of insurance and corresponding premium is adjusted based on the values reported by the insured, normally on a monthly or quarterly basis.

VANDALISM
The malicious and often random destruction or spoilage of another person’s property. 

VOID
A policy contract that for some reason specified in the policy becomes free of all legal effect. One example under which a policy could be voided is when information a policyholder provided is proven untrue. 

VOLCANO COVERAGE
Most homeowners policies cover damage from a volcanic eruption. 


W – Z

WAIVER
The surrender of a right or privilege. In life insurance, a provision that sets certain conditions, such as disablement, which allow coverage to remain in force without payment of premiums.

WARRANTY INSURANCE
Warranty insurance coverage compensates for the cost of repairing or replacing defective products past the normal warranty period provided by manufacturers. 

WATER-DAMAGE INSURANCE COVERAGE
Protection provided in most homeowners insurance policies against sudden and accidental water damage, from burst pipes for example. Does not cover damage from problems resulting from a lack of proper maintenance such as dripping air conditioners. Water damage from floods is covered under separate flood insurance policies issued by the federal government. 

WEATHER INSURANCE
A type of business interruption insurance that compensates for financial losses caused by adverse weather conditions, such as constant rain on the day scheduled for a major outdoor concert. 

WORKERS COMPENSATION
Insurance that pays for medical care and physical rehabilitation of injured workers and helps to replace lost wages while they are unable to work. State laws, which vary significantly, govern the amount of benefits paid and other compensation provisions. 

WRITE
To insure, underwrite, or accept an application for insurance. 
M

MANUAL
A book published by an insurance or bonding company or a rating association or bureau that gives rates, classifications, and underwriting rules. 

MANUAL RATES
Also known as class rates, the rates to be charged for a particular class of insured are published in rating manuals.

MASONRY NON-COMBUSTIBLE
Buildings with exterior walls constructed of masonry materials and with floors and roofs constructed of metal or other non-combustible materials.

MEDIATION
Nonbinding procedure in which a third party attempts to resolve a conflict between two other parties. 

MEDICAL PAYMENTS INSURANCE
A coverage in which the insurer agrees to reimburse the insured and others up to a certain limit for medical or funeral expenses as a result of bodily injury or death by accident. Payments are without regard to fault. 

MINE SUBSIDENCE COVERAGE
An endorsement to a homeowners insurance policy, available in some states, for losses to a home caused by the land under a house sinking into a mine shaft. Excluded from standard homeowners policies, as are other forms of earth movement. 

MISREPRESENTATION
A false or misleading statement. (1) In insurance sales, a false or misleading statement made by a sales agent to induce a customer to purchase insurance is a prohibited sales practice. (2) In insurance underwriting, a false or misleading statement by an insurance applicant may provide a basis for the insurer to avoid the policy. 

MODIFIED FIRE RESISTIVE CONSTRUCTION
Buildings with exterior walls, floors and roofs constructed of fire resistive materials. Fire resistive rating to be one hour or more but less than two hours.

MONOPOLISTIC STATE FUND
States in which the state fund is the only workers compensation insurance available in the state.

MORAL HAZARD
The possibility that a person may act dishonestly in an insurance transaction. 

MULTIPLE PERIL POLICY
A package policy, such as a homeowners or business insurance policy, that provides coverage against several different perils. It also refers to the combination of property and liability coverage in one policy. In the early days of insurance, coverage’s for property damage and liability were purchased separately. 

MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY
A company owned by its policyholders that returns part of its profits to the policyholders as dividends. The insurer uses the rest as a surplus cushion in case of large and unexpected losses. 


​N

NAMED PERIL
Peril specifically mentioned as covered in an insurance policy. 

NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM
Federal government-sponsored program under which flood insurance is sold to homeowners and businesses. (See Adverse selection, Flood insurance) 

NCCI
National Council on Compensation Insurance. An advisory bureau of Workers Compensation active in most states.

NEGLIGENCE
Failure to act with the legally required degree of care for others, resulting in harm to them.

NO BENEFIT TO BAILEE
Inland marine clause that states that any insurance coverage a person may have on property in the possession of the bailee will not be for the benefit of the bailee.

NO-FAULT
Auto insurance coverage that pays for each driver’s own injuries, regardless of who caused the accident. No-fault varies from state to state. It also refers to an auto liability insurance system that restricts lawsuits to serious cases. Such policies are designed to promote faster reimbursement and to reduce litigation. 

NO-FAULT MEDICAL
A type of accident coverage in homeowners policies. 

NON-ADMITTED INSURER
Insurers licensed in some states, but not others. States where an insurer is not licensed call that insurer non-admitted. They sell coverage that is unavailable from licensed insurers within the state. 

NON-COMBUSTIBLE
Buildings with exterior walls, floors and roofs constructed of and supported by asbestos, gypsum, metal or other non-combustible materials.

NONOWNED AUTO
Any auto not owned, leased, hired or borrowed that is used in connection with the business.

NO-PAY, NO-PLAY
The idea that people who don’t buy coverage should not receive benefits. Prohibits uninsured drivers from collecting damages from insured drivers. In most states with this law, uninsured drivers may not sue for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. In other states, uninsured drivers are required to pay the equivalent of a large deductible ($10,000) before they can sue for property damages and another large deductible before they can sue for bodily harm. 

NOTICE OF LOSS
A written notice required by insurance companies immediately after an accident or other loss. Part of the standard provisions defining a policyholder's responsibilities after a loss. 


O

OCCURRENCE POLICY
Insurance that pays claims arising out of incidents that occur during the policy term, even if they are filed many years later. (See Claims-made policy) 

OPERATING EXPENSES
The cost of maintaining a business’s property, includes insurance, property taxes, utilities and rent, but excludes income tax, depreciation and other financing expenses. 

ORDINANCE OR LAW COVERAGE
Endorsement to a property policy, including homeowners, that pays for the extra expense of rebuilding to comply with ordinances or laws, often building codes, that did not exist when the building was originally built. For example, a building severely damaged in a hurricane may have to be elevated above the flood line when it is rebuilt. This endorsement would cover part of the additional cost. 

ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER PARTS / OEM
Sheet metal auto parts made by the manufacturer of the vehicle. (See Generic auto parts) 


P – Q

PACKAGE POLICY
A single insurance policy that combines several coverage’s previously sold separately. Examples include homeowners insurance and commercial multiple peril insurance. 

PAIR AND SET CLAUSE
In the event of a loss to part of a set or pair, the insurer is under no obligation to pay for the total loss of a set when only one part is lost, damaged, or destroyed.

PEAK SEASON
Provides increased amounts of coverage during specified periods of time during the policy period.

PER STIRPES BENEFICIARY DESIGNATION
A type of life insurance policy beneficiary designation in which the life insurance benefits are divided among a class of beneficiaries; for example, children of the insured. The living members of the class and the descendants of any deceased members of the class share in the benefits equally. Contrast with per capita beneficiary designation.

PERIL
A specific risk or cause of loss covered by an insurance policy, such as a fire, windstorm, flood, or theft. A named-peril policy covers the policyholder only for the risks named in the policy in contrast to an all-risk policy, which covers all causes of loss except those specifically excluded. 

PERSONAL ARTICLES FLOATER
A policy or an addition to a policy used to cover personal valuables, like jewelry or furs. 

PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION COVERAGE / PIP
Portion of an auto insurance policy that covers the treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s car. 

PERSONAL LINES
Property/casualty insurance products that are designed for and bought by individuals, including homeowners and automobile policies. (See Commercial lines) 

POLICY
A written contract for insurance between an insurance company and policyholder stating details of coverage. 

POLICYHOLDERS SURPLUS
The funds available, (assets minus total liabilities), that the insurer has available to meet future obligations to its policyholders.

POLLUTION INSURANCE
Policies that cover property loss and liability arising from pollution-related damages, for sites that have been inspected and found uncontaminated. It is usually written on a claims-made basis so policies pay only claims presented during the term of the policy or within a specified time frame after the policy expires. (See Claims-made policy) 

PRE-EXISTING CONDITION
(1) According to most group health insurance policies, a condition for which an individual received medical care during the three months immediately prior to the effective date of her coverage. (2) According to most individual health insurance policies, an injury that occurred or a sickness that first appeared or manifested itself within a specified period—usually two years—before the policy was issued and that was not disclosed on the application for insurance. 

PREFERRED RISK CLASS
In insurance underwriting, the group of proposed insured’s who represent a significantly lower than average likelihood of loss within the context of the insurer’s underwriting practices. Contrast with declined risk class, standard risk class and substandard risk class. 

PREMISES
The particular location of the property or a portion of it as designated in an insurance policy. 

PREMIUM
The price of an insurance policy, typically charged annually or semiannually. (See Direct premiums, Earned premium, Unearned premium) 

PREMIUMS IN FORCE
The sum of the face amounts, plus dividend additions, of life insurance policies outstanding at a given time. 

PREMIUMS WRITTEN
The total premiums on all policies written by an insurer during a specified period of time, regardless of what portions have been earned. Net premiums written are premiums written after reinsurance transactions. 

PRIMARY COMPANY
In a reinsurance transaction, the insurance company that is reinsured. 

PRIMARY MARKET
Market for new issue securities where the proceeds go directly to the issuer. 

PRIVATE PLACEMENT
Securities that are not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and are sold directly to investors.

PRODUCT LIABILITY
A section of tort law that determines who may sue and who may be sued for damages when a defective product injures someone. No uniform federal laws guide manufacturer’s liability, but under strict liability, the injured party can hold the manufacturer responsible for damages without the need to prove negligence or fault. 

PRODUCT LIABILITY INSURANCE
Protects manufacturers’ and distributors’ exposure to lawsuits by people who have sustained bodily injury or property damage through the use of the product. 

PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE
Covers professionals for negligence and errors or omissions that injure their clients. 

PROOF OF LOSS
Documents showing the insurance company that a loss occurred. 

PROPERTY/CASUALTY INSURANCE
Covers damage to or loss of policyholders’ property and legal liability for damages caused to other people or their property. Property/casualty insurance, which includes auto, homeowners and commercial insurance, is one segment of the insurance industry. The other sector is life/health. Outside the United States, property/casualty insurance is referred to as nonlife or general insurance. 

PRO RATE CANCELLATION
Cancellation of an insurance policy with the premium charge adjusted to be in proportion with the amount of time the policy was in force.

PROXIMATE CAUSE
Means there was an unbroken chain of events from the occurrence of an insured peril to the final damage producing event.

QUOTA SHARE
Type of reinsurance in which the reinsurer indemnifies the primary insurer against a fixed percent of loss on each risk covered.

QUOTE
A price for a specific product without an obligation to pay.
H

HARD MARKET
A seller’s market in which insurance is expensive and in short supply.

HAZARD
Any condition that tends to increase the probable severity or frequency of losses.

HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE POLICY
The typical homeowners insurance policy covers the house, the garage and other structures on the property, as well as personal possessions inside the house such as furniture, appliances and clothing, against a wide variety of perils including windstorms, fire and theft. The extent of the perils covered depends on the type of policy. An all-risk policy offers the broadest coverage. This covers all perils except those specifically excluded in the policy.
Homeowners insurance also covers additional living expenses. Known as Loss of Use, this provision in the policy reimburses the policyholder for the extra cost of living elsewhere while the house is being restored after a disaster. The liability portion of the policy covers the homeowner for accidental injuries caused to third parties and/or their property, such as a guest slipping and falling down improperly maintained stairs. Coverage for flood and earthquake damage is excluded and must be purchased separately. (See Flood insurance, Earthquake insurance) 

HOUSE YEAR
Equal to 365 days of insured coverage for a single dwelling. It is the standard measurement for homeowners insurance. 

HURRICANE DEDUCTIBLE
A percentage or dollar amount added to a homeowner’s insurance policy to limit an insurer’s exposure to loss from a hurricane. Higher deductibles are instituted in higher risk areas, such as coastal regions. Specific details, such as the intensity of the storm for the deductible to be triggered and the extent of the high risk area, vary from insurer to insurer and state to state. 

I

IDENTITY THEFT INSURANCE
Coverage for expenses incurred as the result of an identity theft. Can include costs for notarizing fraud affidavits and certified mail, lost income from time taken off from work to meet with law-enforcement personnel or credit agencies, fees for reapplying for loans and attorney's fees to defend against lawsuits and remove criminal or civil judgments. 

INCURRED BUT NOT REPORTED LOSSES / IBNR
Losses that are not filed with the insurer or reinsurer until years after the policy is sold. Some liability claims may be filed long after the event that caused the injury to occur. Asbestos-related diseases, for example, do not show up until decades after the exposure. IBNR also refers to estimates made about claims already reported but where the full extent of the injury is not yet known, such as a workers compensation claim where the degree to which work-related injuries prevents a worker from earning what he or she earned before the injury unfolds over time. Insurance companies regularly adjust reserves for such losses as new information becomes available. 

INCURRED LOSSES
Losses occurring within a fixed period, whether or not adjusted or paid during the same period. 

INDEMNIFY
Provide financial compensation for losses. 

INDEPENDENT AGENT
Agent who is self-employed, is paid on commission, and represents several insurance companies. (See Captive agent) 

INDIRECT LOSS
Losses caused by direct damage but which occur over a period of time such as spoilage and business income losses.

INFLATION GUARD CLAUSE
A provision added to a homeowners insurance policy that automatically adjusts the coverage limit on the dwelling each time the policy is renewed to reflect current construction costs. 

INLAND MARINE INSURANCE
This broad type of coverage was developed for shipments that do not involve ocean transport. Covers articles in transit by all forms of land and air transportation as well as bridges, tunnels and other means of transportation and communication. Floaters that cover expensive personal items such as fine art and jewelry are included in this category. (See Floater)

INSURABLE INTEREST
In insurance, a person exhibits an insurable interest in a potential loss if that person will suffer a genuine economic loss if the event insured against occurs. Without the presence of insurable interest, an insurance contract is not formed for a lawful purpose and, thus, is not a valid contract. 

INSURABLE RISK
Risks for which it is relatively easy to get insurance and that meet certain criteria. These include being definable, accidental in nature, and part of a group of similar risks large enough to make losses predictable. The insurance company also must be able to come up with a reasonable price for the insurance. 

INSURANCE
A system to make large financial losses more affordable by pooling the risks of many individuals and business entities and transferring them to an insurance company or other large group in return for a premium. 

INSURANCE POOL
A group of insurance companies that pool assets, enabling them to provide an amount of insurance substantially more than can be provided by individual companies to ensure large risks such as nuclear power stations. Pools may be formed voluntarily or mandated by the state to cover risks that can’t obtain coverage in the voluntary market such as coastal properties subject to hurricanes. (See Fair access to insurance requirements plans / FAIR plans, Joint underwriting association / JUA) 

INSURANCE SCORE
Insurance scores are confidential rankings based on credit information. This includes whether the consumer has made timely payments on loans, the number of open credit card accounts and whether a bankruptcy filing has been made. An insurance score is a measure of how well consumers manage their financial affairs, not of their financial assets. It does not include information about income or race.
Studies have shown that people who manage their money well tend also to manage their most important asset, their home, well. And people who manage their money responsibly also tend to handle driving a car responsibly. Some insurance companies use insurance scores as an insurance underwriting and rating tool. 

INSURANCE-TO-VALUE
Insurance written in an amount approximating the value of the insured property. 

INTERMEDIATION
The process of bringing savers, investors and borrowers together so that savers and investors can obtain a return on their money and borrowers can use the money to finance their purchases or projects through loans. 

INTERNET INSURER
An insurer that sells exclusively via the Internet. 

INTERNET LIABILITY INSURANCE
Coverage designed to protect businesses from liabilities that arise from the conducting of business over the Internet, including copyright infringement, defamation, and violation of privacy. 

ISO
Insurance Services Organization. An advisory bureau for most personal and commercial lines of business (other than Workers Compensation).

J

JOINT AND SEVERAL LIABILITY
Each wrongdoer is fully responsible for the consequences of the wrong with payment of damages based on ability to pay and not degree of negligence.

JOINT UNDERWRITING ASSOCIATION / JUA
Insurers which join together to provide coverage for a particular type of risk or size of exposure, when there are difficulties in obtaining coverage in the regular market, and which share in the profits and losses associated with the program. JUAs may be set up to provide auto and homeowners insurance and various commercial coverage’s, such as medical malpractice. (See Assigned risk plans, Residual market) 

JOISTED MARSONRY
Buildings with exterior walls constructed of masonry materials including concrete, hollow concrete blocks, brick, stone or similar materials. Roof and floors are of combustible materials.


K – L

LAE RATIO
The LAE Ratio is the ratio of loss adjusting expense to earned premium.

LAPSE
The termination of an insurance policy because a renewal premium is not paid by the end of the grace period. 

LAW OF LARGE NUMBERS
The theory of probability on which the business of insurance is based. Simply put, this mathematical premise says that the larger the group of units insured, such as sport-utility vehicles, the more accurate the predictions of loss will be. 

LESSEE
The person or organization to whom the lease is granted.

LESSOR
The person or organization granting the lease.

LIABILITY INSURANCE
Insurance for what the policyholder is legally obligated to pay because of bodily injury or property damage caused to another person. 

LIBERIZATION CLAUSE
If a revision broadens coverage with no corresponding additional premium charge, the revision automatically applies to all policies in force at the time of the revision.

LIMITS
Maximum amount of insurance that can be paid for a covered loss. 

LINE
Type or kind of insurance, such as personal lines. 

LIQUIDITY
The ability and speed with which a security can be converted into cash. 

LIQUOR LIABILITY
Coverage for bodily injury or property damage caused by an intoxicated person who was served liquor by the policyholder. 

LOSS
A reduction in the quality or value of a property, or a legal liability. 

LOSS ADJUSTMENT EXPENSES
The sum insurers pay for investigating and settling insurance claims, including the cost of defending a lawsuit in court. 

LOSS COSTS
The portion of an insurance rate used to cover claims and the costs of adjusting claims. Insurance companies typically determine their rates by estimating their future loss costs and adding a provision for expenses, profit, and contingencies. 

LOSS DEVELOPMENT
The difference between the amount of a loss initially estimated or reserved and the amount of the loss payment at a later date. 

LOSS OF USE
A provision in homeowners and renters insurance policies that reimburses policyholders for any extra living expenses due to having to live elsewhere while their home is being restored following a disaster. 

LOSS RATIO
Percentage of each premium dollar an insurer spends on claims. 
E 

EARNED PREMIUM
The portion of a policy premium that has been used to actually buy coverage or that the insurance company has earned. For instance there would be two months of earned premium. The remaining four months of premium is called unearned premium.

EARTH MOVEMENT
A peril inclusive of landslide, mudflow, earth sinking, rising or shifting, and earthquake.

EARTHQUAKE COVERAGE
Coverage that can be purchased as an endorsement to many property policies such as the Standard Fire Policy or as a separate policy. Coverage is for direct damage resulting from earthquake or volcanic eruption.

EFFECTIVE AGE
An appraiser's estimate of the physical condition of a building. The actual age of a building may be shorter or longer than its effective age.

EFFECTIVE DATE
The date on which an insurance policy becomes effective.

ELIMINATION PERIOD
The time which must pass after filing a claim before policyholder can collect insurance benefits. Also known as "waiting period." 

EMPLOYEE DISHONESTY
A criminal act committed by an employee alone or in collusion with others that contributes to a loss for the employer.

EMPLOYERS LIABILITY COVERAGE
Coverage against common law liability of an employer for accidents to employees, as distinguished from liability imposed by a workers' compensation law.

ENCOMBRANCE
A claim on property, such as a mortgage, a lien for work and materials, or a right of dower. The interest of the property owner is reduced by the amount of the encumbrance. 

ENDORSEMENT
A written amendment attached to a policy that modifies the terms of the insurance contract.

EXCESS INSURANCE
Coverage that is excess over primary coverage’s and which does not pay until the loss exceeds a predetermined amount.

EXCLUSIONS
Specific situations, conditions, or circumstances listed in your policies that are not covered by your home insurance policy.

EXPENSE RATIO
The Expense Ratio is the ratio of underwriting expenses to written premium.

EXPERIENCE RATING
Involves the adjustment of rates and subsequent premium for a risk based on its past loss experience, and how that loss experience compares to loss experience for an average risk.

EXPERIENCE PERIOD
The period of time that a company will reference when making evaluations of an insuring policy.

EXPIRATION DATE
The date on which an insurance policy expires.

EXTENDED REPLACEMENT COST
This option extends replacement cost loss settlement to personal property and to outdoor antennas, carpeting, domestic appliances, cloth awnings, and outdoor equipment, subject to limitations on certain kinds of personal property; includes inflation protection coverage. 

EXTRA EXPENSE
Includes expenses that either allows an insured to continue operations after a loss or to reduce the length of time business is interrupted.


F

FAIR ACCESS TO INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS PLANS / FAIR PLANS
Insurance pools that sell property insurance to people who can’t buy it in the voluntary market because of high risk over which they may have no control. FAIR Plans, which exist in 28 states and the District of Columbia, insure fire, vandalism, riot and windstorm losses, and some sell homeowners insurance which includes liability. Plans vary by state, but all require property insurers licensed in a state to participate in the pool and share in the profits and losses. (See Residual market) 

FARMOWNERS-RANCHOWNERS INSURANCE
Package policy that protects the policyholder against named perils and liabilities and usually covers homes and their contents, along with barns, stables and other structures. 

FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY LAW
A state law requiring that all automobile drivers show proof that they can pay damages up to a minimum amount if involved in an auto accident. Varies from state to state but can be met by carrying a minimum amount of auto liability insurance. (See Compulsory auto insurance) 

FIRE INSURANCE
Coverage protecting property against losses caused by a fire or lightning that is usually included in homeowners or commercial multiple peril policies. 

FIRE LEGAL LIABILITY
Affords coverage for the liability incurred when an insured's negligence causes destruction of property in their care, custody or control.

FIRE RESISTIVE
Buildings with exterior walls, floors and roofs constructed of masonry or fire resistive materials having a fire resistance rating of not less than two hours.

FIRST-PARTY COVERAGE
Coverage for the policyholder’s own property or person. In no-fault auto insurance it pays for the cost of injuries. In no-fault states with the broadest coverage, the personal injury protection (PIP) part of the policy pays for medical care, lost income, funeral expenses and, where the injured person is not able to provide services such as child care, for substitute services. (See No-fault, Third-party coverage) 

FLAT CANCELLATION
When a cancellation has the same effective dates as that of the policy.

FLOATER
Attached to a homeowners policy, a floater insures movable property, covering losses wherever they may occur. Among the items often insured with a floater are expensive jewelry, musical instruments and furs. It provides broader coverage than a regular homeowners policy for these items. 

FLOOD INSURANCE
Coverage for flood damage is available from the federal government under the National Flood Insurance Program but is sold by licensed insurance agents. Flood coverage is excluded under homeowners policies and many commercial property policies. However, flood damage is covered under the comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy. (See Adverse selection) 

FORCED PLACE INSURANCE
Insurance purchased by a bank or creditor on an uninsured debtor’s behalf so if the property is damaged, funding is available to repair it. 

FRAME CONSTRUCTION
Buildings with exterior walls of wood or other combustible materials. Includes buildings where combustible materials are combined with other materials such as stone and brick veneer or stucco on wood.

FRAUD
Intentional lying or concealment by policyholders to obtain payment of an insurance claim that would otherwise not be paid, or lying or misrepresentation by the insurance company managers, employees, agents and brokers for financial gain. 

FREQUENCY
Number of times a loss occurs. One of the criteria used in calculating premium rates. 


G

GAP INSURANCE
An automobile insurance option, available in some states, that covers the difference between a car’s actual cash value when it is stolen or wrecked and the amount the consumer owes the leasing or finance company. Mainly used for leased cars. (See Actual cash value) 

GENERIC AUTO PARTS
Auto crash parts produced by firms that are not associated with car manufacturers. Insurers consider these parts, when certified, at least as good as those that come from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). They are often cheaper than the identical part produced by the OEM. (See Crash parts, Aftermarket parts, Original equipment manufacturer parts / OEM) 

GLASS INSURANCE
Coverage for glass breakage caused by all risks; fire and war are sometimes excluded. Insurance can be bought for windows, structural glass, leaded glass and mirrors. Available with or without a deductible. 

GOVERNING CLASSIFICATION
Under Workers Compensation, those operations that generate the largest amount of payroll are considered the Governing Classification for rating purposes.

GRACE PERIOD
(1) For insurance premium payments, a specified length of time following a premium due date within which the renewal premium may be paid without penalty. The length of the grace period is specified in a grace period provision that is found in a life insurance, health insurance, or annuity policy. (2) For purchases made on credit, a period of time between the date of a purchase and the date the lender begins to charge interest during which no interest accrues. 

GRADUATED DRIVER LICENSES
Licenses for younger drivers that allow them to improve their skills. Regulations vary by state, but often restrict nighttime driving. Young drivers receive a learner’s permit, followed by a provisional license, before they can receive a standard driver’s license. 

GUARANTEED REPLACEMENT COST COVERAGE
Homeowners policy that pays the full cost of replacing or repairing a damaged or destroyed home, even if it is above the policy limit. (See Extended replacement cost coverage) 

GUN LIABILITY
A legal concept that holds gun manufacturers liable for the cost of injuries caused by guns. Several cities have filed lawsuits based on this concept. 
D

DECLARATION
Part of a property or liability insurance policy that states the name and address of policyholder, property insured, its location and description, the policy period, premiums and supplemental information. Referred to as the “dec page.” 

DEDUCTIBLE
The amount of loss paid by the policyholder. Either a specified dollar amount, a percentage of the claim amount, or a specified amount of time that must elapse before benefits are paid. The bigger the deductible, the lower the premium charged for the same coverage. 

DEMUTUALIZATION
The conversion of insurance companies from mutual companies owned by their policyholders into publicly traded stock companies. 

DEPRECIATION
A decline in value of property due to the property’s age, wear and tear on the property, or the property’s decreasing usefulness.

DIFFERENCE IN CONDITIONS
Policy designed to fill in gaps in a business’s commercial property insurance coverage. There is no standard policy. Policies are specifically tailored to the policyholder’s needs. 

DIMINUTION OF VALUE
The idea that a vehicle loses value after it has been damaged in an accident and repaired. 

DIRECT PREMIUMS
Property/casualty premiums collected by the insurer from policyholders, before reinsurance premiums are deducted. Insurers share some direct premiums and the risk involved with their reinsurers. 

DIRECT SALES/ DIRECT RESPONSE
Method of selling insurance directly to the insured through an insurance company’s own employees, through the mail, by telephone or via the Internet. This is in lieu of using captive or exclusive agents. 

DIRECT WRITERS
Insurance companies that sell directly to the public using exclusive agents or their own employees, through the mail, by telephone or via the Internet. Large insurers, whether predominately direct writers or agency companies are increasingly using many different channels to sell insurance. In reinsurance, denotes reinsurers that deal directly with the insurance companies they reinsure without using a broker. 

DIVIDEND
Amount returned to a policyholder based on loss ratio for a given period of time.

DIVIDENT RATIO
The Dividend Ratio is the ratio of incurred dividends to earned premium.

DIVIDENTS (POLICYHOLDER)
Policyholder dividends are monies returned to policyholder due to the profitability of the policy.

DOMESTIC INSURANCE COMPANY
Term used by a state to refer to any company incorporated there. 

DRIVE OTHER CAR ENDORSEMENT
Individuals named in the endorsement are afforded auto coverage while driving autos not owned by them and not named in the policy.
C

CALENDER YEAR LOSS RATIO
A Calendar Year Loss Ratio is calculated as the total of losses incurred for a given calendar year divided by the calendar year earned premium for that same year. The losses incurred in a calendar year equal losses paid plus the change in reserves.

CAPACITY
The supply of insurance available to meet demand. Capacity depends on the industry’s financial ability to accept risk. For an individual insurer, the maximum amount of risk it can underwrite based on its financial condition. The adequacy of an insurer’s capital relative to its exposure to loss is an important measure of solvency.
A property/casualty insurer must maintain a certain level of capital and policyholder surplus to underwrite risks. This capital is known as capacity. When the industry is hit by high losses, such as after the World Trade Center terrorist attack, capacity is diminished. It can be restored by increases in net income, favorable investment returns, reinsuring more risk and or raising additional capital. When there is excess capacity, usually because of a high return on investments, premiums tend to decline as insurers compete for market share. As premiums decline, underwriting losses are likely to grow, reducing capacity and causing insurers to raise rates and tighten conditions and limits in an effort to increase profitability. Policyholder surplus is sometimes used as a measure of capacity. 

CAPTIVE AGENT
A person who represents only one insurance company and is restricted by agreement from submitting business to any other company, unless it is first rejected by the agent’s captive company. 

CAPTIVES
Insurers that are created and wholly owned by one or more non-insurers, to provide owners with coverage. A form of self-insurance. 

CAR YEAR
Equal to 365 days of insured coverage for a single vehicle. It is the standard measurement for automobile insurance.

CATASTROPHE
Term used for statistical recording purposes to refer to a single incident or a series of closely related incidents causing severe insured property losses totaling more than a given amount, currently $25 million. 

CATASTROPHE BONDS
Risk-based securities that pay high interest rates and provide insurance companies with a form of reinsurance to pay losses from a catastrophe such as those caused by a major hurricane. They allow insurance risk to be sold to institutional investors in the form of bonds, thus spreading the risk.

CATASTROPHE DEDUCTIBLE
A percentage or dollar amount that a homeowner must pay before the insurance policy kicks in when a major natural disaster occurs. These large deductibles limit an insurer’s potential losses in such cases, allowing it to insure more property. A property insurer may not be able to buy reinsurance to protect its own bottom line unless it keeps its potential maximum losses under a certain level. 

CATASTROPHE FACTOR
Probability of catastrophic loss, based on the total number of catastrophes in a state over a 40-year period. 

CATASTROPHE MODEL
Using computers, a method to mesh long-term disaster information with current demographic, building and other data to determine the potential cost of natural disasters and other catastrophic losses for a given geographic area. 

CATASTROPHE REINSURANCE
Reinsurance for catastrophic losses. The insurance industry is able to absorb the multibillion dollar losses caused by natural and man-made disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and terrorist attacks because losses are spread among thousands of companies including catastrophe reinsurers who operate on a global basis. Insurers’ ability and willingness to sell insurance fluctuates with the availability and cost of catastrophe reinsurance. After major disasters, such as Hurricane Andrew and the World Trade Center terrorist attack, the availability of catastrophe reinsurance becomes extremely limited. Claims deplete reinsurers’ capital and, as a result, companies are more selective in the type and amount of risks they assume. In addition, with available supply limited, prices for reinsurance rise. This contributes to an overall increase in prices for property insurance. 

CELL PHONE INSURANCE
Separate insurance provided to cover cell phones for damage or theft. Policies are often sold with the cell phones themselves. 

CLAIMS MADE POLICY
A form of insurance that pays claims presented to the insurer during the term of the policy or within a specific term after its expiration. It limits liability insurers’ exposure to unknown future liabilities. (See Occurrence policy) 

CLAIMS RESERVE
Funds set aside to pay costs of claims that have occurred but have not yet been settled or closed.

COINSURANCE
In property insurance, requires the policyholder to carry insurance equal to a specified percentage of the value of property to receive full payment on a loss. It is a percentage of each claim above the deductible paid by the policyholder. For a 20 percent coinsurance clause, the policyholder pays for the deductible plus 20 percent of his covered losses. After paying 80 percent of losses up to a specified ceiling, the insurer starts paying 100 percent of losses. 

COINSURANCE PENALTY
Amount that an insured shares in a loss due to inadequate levels of insurance.

COLLATERAL
Property that is offered to secure a loan or other credit and that becomes subject to seizure on default. Also called security. 

COLLISION COVERAGE
Portion of an auto insurance policy that covers damage to a motor vehicle or watercraft caused by an impact with another vehicle, object, vessel or caused by its upset or overturn.

COMBINED RATIO
Percentage of each premium dollar a property/casualty insurer spends on claims and expenses. A decrease in the combined ratio means financial results are improving; an increase means they are deteriorating. 

COMMERCIAL AUTO
The Commercial Auto Policy provides liability, collision and comprehensive coverage for retail, wholesale delivery, contractor or service industry vehicles. Garage Auto policies cover the legal liability of dealerships, repair garages and body shops for losses arising from their operations.

COMMERCIAL CRIME
Commercial Crime helps protect your Customers from events such as employee dishonesty, embezzlement, forgery and alterations, loss of money and securities and computer fraud.

COMMERCIAL FIRE
Commercial Fire, a mono-line policy, covers property at the designated premises for either named or comprehensive perils.

COMMERCIAL GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE / CGL
A broad commercial policy that covers all liability exposures of a business that are not specifically excluded. Coverage includes product liability, completed operations, premises and operations, and independent contractors. 

COMMERCIAL INLAND MARINE
Commercial Inland Marine covers property that cannot be reasonably confined to a fixed location.

COMMERCIAL LINES
Products designed for and bought by businesses. Among the major coverage’s are boiler and machinery, business income, commercial auto, comprehensive general liability, directors and officers liability, fire and allied lines, inland marine, medical malpractice liability, product liability, professional liability, surety and fidelity, and workers compensation. Most of these commercial coverage’s can be purchased separately except business income, which must be added to a fire insurance (property) policy.

COMMISSION
Fee paid to an agent or insurance salesperson as a percentage of the policy premium. The percentage varies widely depending on coverage, the insurer, and the marketing methods. 

COMPETITIVE STATE FUND
A facility established by a state to sell workers compensation in competition with private insurers. 

COMPLETED OPERATIONS COVERAGE
Pays for bodily injury or property damage caused by a completed project or job. Protects a business that sells a service against liability claims. 

COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE
Portion of an auto insurance policy that covers damage to the policyholder’s car not involving a collision with another car (including damage from fire, explosions, earthquakes, floods and riots), and theft. 

COMPULSORY AUTO INSURANCE
The minimum amount of auto liability insurance that meets a state law. Financial responsibility laws in every state require all automobile drivers to show proof, after an accident, of their ability to pay damages up to the state minimum. In compulsory liability states this proof, which is usually in the form of an insurance policy, is required before you can legally drive a car. 

CONCURRENT CAUSATION
When two or more perils occur in sequence or at the same time to cause a loss.

CONSEQUENTIAL LOSS
Loss not directly resulting from a peril but rather indirectly as a result of a peril. An example of a consequential loss is loss to spoiled meat resulting from a direct loss of mechanical breakdown to a freezer.

CONTESTABLE PERIOD
The time during which an insurer has the right to cancel or rescind an insurance policy if the application contained a material misrepresentation. (See Incontestability provision) 

CONTINGENT LIABILITY
Liability of individuals, corporations, or partnerships for accidents caused by people other than employees for whose acts or omissions the corporations or partnerships are responsible. 

COVERAGE
Synonym for insurance. 

CRASH PARTS
Sheet metal parts that are most often damaged in a car crash. (See Generic Auto Parts)

CREDIT
The promise to pay in the future in order to buy or borrow in the present. The right to defer payment of debt. 

CREDIT SCORE
The number produced by an analysis of an individual’s credit history. The use of credit information affects all consumers in many ways, including getting a job, finding a place to live, securing a loan, getting telephone service and buying insurance. Credit history is routinely reviewed by insurers before issuing a commercial policy because businesses in poor financial condition tend to cut back on safety, which can lead to more accidents and more claims. Auto and home insurers may use information in a credit history to produce an insurance score. Insurance scores may be used in underwriting and rating insurance policies. (See Insurance score) 
B

BAILEE
The individual taking possession of an item.

BAILOR
The individual who owns the property entrusted to another.

BASIC LIMIT
Represents the lowest amount of coverage for which a policy can be written.

BINDER
Temporary authorization of coverage issued prior to the actual insurance policy. 

BLANKET INSURANCE
Coverage for more than one type of property at one location or one type of property at more than one location. Example: chain store 

BOBTAILING
A truck-tractor with an attached empty trailer being used for other than trucking purposes.

BODILY INJURY LIABILITY COVERAGE
Portion of an auto insurance policy that covers injuries the policyholder causes to someone else. 

BOILER AND MACHINERY INSURANCE
Often called Equipment Breakdown, or Systems Breakdown insurance. Commercial insurance that covers damage caused by the malfunction or breakdown of boilers, and a vast array of other equipment including air conditioners, heating, electrical, telephone and computer systems. 

BOND
A security that obligates the issuer to pay interest at specified intervals and to repay the principal amount of the loan at maturity. In insurance, a form of suretyship. Bonds of various types guarantee a payment or a reimbursement for financial losses resulting from dishonesty, failure to perform and other acts. 

BOND RATING
An evaluation of a bond’s financial strength, conducted by such major ratings agencies as Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service. 

BOOK OF BUSINESS
Total amount of insurance on an insurer’s books at a particular point in time. 

BROAD FORM
Includes four perils above the basic perils: breakage of glass; falling objects; weight of snow; ice or sleet; and water damage.

BROKER
An intermediary between a customer and an insurance company. Brokers typically search the market for coverage appropriate to their clients. They work on commission and usually sell commercial, not personal, insurance. In life insurance, agents must be licensed as securities brokers/dealers to sell variable annuities, which are similar to stock market-based investments. 

BUILDER’S RISK COVERAGE
Commonly used to describe the property coverage needed to protect policyholders with building or structures under construction.

BURGLARY AND THEFT INSURANCE
Insurance for the loss of property due to burglary, robbery or larceny. It is provided in a standard homeowners policy and in a business multiple peril policy.

BUSINESS CATASTROPHE LIABILITY (BCL)
Business Catastrophe Liability provides additional liability coverage, serving as a financial cushion against a judgment beyond the limits of primary liability policies.

BUSINESS INCOME AND EXTRA EXPENSE INSURANCE (also known as BUSINESS INTERRUPTION INSURANCE)
Commercial coverage that reimburses a business owner for lost profits and continuing fixed expenses during the time that a business must stay closed while the premises are being restored because of physical damage from a covered peril, such as a fire. It also may cover financial losses that may occur if civil authorities limit access to an area after a disaster and their actions prevent customers from reaching the business premises. Depending on the policy, civil authorities coverage may start after a waiting period and last for two or more weeks. 

BUSINESS OWNERS POLICY / BOP
A policy that combines property, liability and business interruption coverage’s for small- to medium-sized businesses. Coverage is generally cheaper than if purchased through separate insurance policies. 
 A

AAIS
American Association of Insurance Services, which is an advisory organization of many products such as Inland Marine and Commercial Output Policy.

ACCIDENT LOSS RATIO
An Accident Year Loss Ratio is calculated as the total of losses incurred for accidents occurring in a given year divided by the calendar year earned premium for that same year.

ACTUAL CASH VALUE
A form of insurance that pays damages equal to the replacement value of damaged property minus depreciation. (See Replacement Cost) 

ACTUARY
An insurance professional skilled in the analysis, evaluation and management of statistical information. Evaluates insurance firms’ reserves, determines rates and rating methods, and determines other business and financial risks. 

ADDITIONAL INSURED
An individual or entity other than the named insured who is covered under the terms of the policy. Additional insureds are normally added by endorsement or included in the definition of insured in the policy itself.

ADDITIONAL LIVING EXPENSES
Extra charges covered by homeowners policies over and above the policyholder’s customary living expenses. They kick in when the insured requires temporary shelter due to damage by a covered peril that makes the home temporarily uninhabitable. 

ADJUSTER
An individual employed by a property/casualty insurer to evaluate losses and settle policyholder claims. These adjusters differ from public adjusters, who negotiate with insurers on behalf of policyholders, and receive a portion of a claims settlement. Independent adjusters are independent contractors who adjust claims for different insurance companies. 

ADMITTED COMPANY
An insurance company licensed and authorized to do business in a particular state. 

ADVERSE SELECTION
The tendency of those exposed to a higher risk to seek more insurance coverage than those at a lower risk. Insurers react either by charging higher premiums or not insuring at all, as in the case of floods. (Flood insurance is provided by the federal government but sold mostly through the private market.) In the case of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, adverse selection concentrates risk instead of spreading it. Insurance works best when risk is shared among large numbers of policyholders. 

AFTERMARKET PARTS
See Crash parts, Generic Auto Parts 

AGENCY COMPANIES
Companies that market and sell products via independent agents. 

AGENT
Insurance is sold by two types of agents: independent agents, who are self-employed, represent several insurance companies and are paid on commission; and exclusive or captive agents, who represent only one insurance company and are either salaried or work on commission. Insurance companies that use exclusive or captive agents are called direct writers. 

AGGREGATE LIMIT
The maximum amount an insurer will pay for all covered losses during the term of the policy regardless of how many losses occur.

ALEATORY CONTRACT
A contract in which one party provides something of value to another party in exchange for a conditional promise, which is a promise that the other party will perform a stated act upon the occurrence of an uncertain event. Insurance contracts are aleatory because the policy owner pays premiums to the insurer, and in return the insurer promises to pay benefits if the event insured against occurs. Contrast with commutative contract. 

ALL-RISK
The term used to describe insurance that covers all losses, except those caused by perils specifically excluded in the policy.

ALLIED LINES
Property insurance that is usually bought in conjunction with fire insurance; it includes wind, water damage and vandalism coverage. 

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION / ADR
An alternative to going to court to settle disputes. Methods include arbitration, where disputing parties agree to be bound to the decision of an independent third party, and mediation, where a third party tries to arrange a settlement between the two sides. 

ALTERNATIVE MARKETS
Nontraditional mechanisms used to finance risk. This includes captives, which are insurers owned by one or more non-insurers to provide owners with coverage. Risk-retention groups, formed by members of similar professions or businesses to obtain liability insurance and self-insurance, are also included. 

AMOUNT SUBJECT
The total value exposed to loss at any one location.

ANTITRUST LAWS
Laws that prohibit companies from working as a group to set prices, restrict supplies or stop competition in the marketplace. The insurance industry is subject to state antitrust laws but has a limited exemption from federal antitrust laws. This exemption, set out in the McCarran- Ferguson Act, permits insurers to jointly develop common insurance forms and share loss data to help them price policies. 

APPRAISAL
A survey to determine a property’s insurable value, or the amount of a loss minus depreciation.

ARBITRATION
Procedure in which an insurance company and the insured or a vendor agree to settle a claim dispute by accepting a decision made by a third party. 

ARSON
The deliberate setting of a fire. 

ASSIGNED RISK PLANS
Facilities through which drivers can obtain auto insurance if they are unable to buy it in the regular or voluntary market. These are the most well-known type of residual auto insurance market, which exist in every state. In an assigned risk plan, all insurers selling auto insurance in the state are assigned these drivers to insure, based on the amount of insurance they sell in the regular market. (See Residual market ) 

ATTRACTIVE NUISANCE
An artificial condition that is likely to attract and cause injury. Applies mainly to children based on their reduced ability to recognize the danger.

AUTO INSURANCE POLICY
There are basically six different types of coverage’s. Some may be required by law. Others are optional. They are:
1.Bodily injury liability, for injuries the policyholder causes to someone else.
2.Medical payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) for treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s car.
3.Property damage liability, for damage the policyholder causes to someone else’s property.
4.Collision, for damage to the policyholder’s car from a collision.
5.Comprehensive, for damage to the policyholder’s car not involving a collision with another car (including damage from fire, explosions, earthquakes, floods, and riots), and theft.
6.Uninsured motorists coverage, for costs resulting from an accident involving a hit-and-run driver or a driver who does not have insurance.

AUTO INSURANCE PREMIUM
The price an insurance company charges for coverage, based on the frequency and cost of potential accidents, theft and other losses. Prices vary from company to company, as with any product or service.
Premiums also vary depending on the amount and type of coverage purchased; the make and model of the car; and the insured’s driving record, years of driving and the number of miles the car is driven per year. Other factors taken into account include the driver’s age and gender, where the car is most likely to be driven and the times of day—rush hour in an urban neighborhood or leisure time driving in rural areas, for example. Some insurance companies may also use credit history related information. (See Insurance score) 
Insurance Terms and Definitions


Insurance Library

Understanding Your Coverage's
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Insurance is confusing! The staff at the J. James Wolfe Insurance Agency understands this. We're here to help you. This page provides definitions of insurance terms. Don't forget, we'd love to hear from you. If you want the personal one on one service you deserve, call us or stop by one of our two locations. Click here for our contact information.

For informational purposes only. Definitions and terms are generalized and do not in any way represent a single insurance carrier. Always read your Policy Contract and Declarations Page for specific definitions of terms and coverage.
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