How an Insurance Policy Works

Insurance is synonymous to a lot of people sharing risks of losses expected from a supposed accident. Here, the costs of the losses will be borne by all the insurers.

For example, if Mr. Adam buys a new car and wishes to insure the vehicle against any expected accidents. He will buy an insurance policy from an insurance company through an insurance agent or insurance broker by paying a specific amount of money, called premium, to the insurance company.

The moment Mr. Adam pay the premium, the insurer (i.e. the insurance company) issue an insurance policy, or contract paper, to him. In this policy, the insurer analyses how it will pay for all or part of the damages/losses that may occur on Mr. Adam’s car.

However, just as Mr. Adam is able to buy an insurance policy and is paying to his insurer, a lot of other people in thousands are also doing the same thing. Any one of these people who are insured by the insurer is referred to as insured. Normally, most of these people will never have any form of accidents and hence there will be no need for the insurer to pay them any form of compensation.

If Mr. Adam and a very few other people has any form of accidents/losses, the insurer will pay them based on their policy.

It should be noted that the entire premiums paid by these thousands of insured is so much more than the compensations to the damages/losses incurred by some few insured. Hence, the huge left-over money (from the premiums collected after paying the compensations) is utilized by the insurer as follows:

1. Some are kept as a cash reservoir.

2. Some are used as investments for more profit.

3. Some are used as operating expenses in form of rent, supplies, salaries, staff welfare etc.

4. Some are lent out to banks as fixed deposits for more profit etc. etc.

Apart from the vehicle insurance taken by Mr. Adam on his new vehicle, he can also decide to insure himself. This one is extremely different because it involves a human life and is thus termed Life Insurance or Assurance.

Life insurance (or assurance) is the insurance against against certainty or something that is certain to happen such as death, rather than something that might happen such as loss of or damage to property.

The issue of life insurance is a paramount one because it concerns the security of human life and business. Life insurance offers real protection for your business and it also provides some sot of motivation for any skilled employees who decides to to join your organization.

Life insurance insures the life of the policy holder and pays a benefit to the beneficiary. This beneficiary can be your business in the case of a key employee, partner, or co-owner. In some cases, the beneficiary may be one’s next of kin or a near or distant relation. The beneficiary is not limited to one person; it depends on the policy holder.

Life insurance policies exist in three forms:

• Whole life insurance

• Term Insurance

• Endowment insurance

Whole Life Insurance

In Whole Life Insurance (or Whole Assurance), the insurance company pays an agreed sum of money (i.e. sum assured) upon the death of the person whose life is insured. As against the logic of term life insurance, Whole Life Insurance is valid and it continues in existence as long as the premiums of the policy holders are paid.

When a person express his wish in taking a Whole Life Insurance, the insurer will look at the person’s current age and health status and use this data to reviews longevity charts which predict the person’s life duration/life-span. The insurer then present a monthly/quarterly/bi-annual/annual level premium. This premium to be paid depends on a person’s present age: the younger the person the higher the premium and the older the person the lower the premium. However, the extreme high premium being paid by a younger person will reduce gradually relatively with age over the course of many years.

In case you are planning a life insurance, the insurer is in the best position to advise you on the type you should take. Whole life insurance exists in three varieties, as follow: variable life, universal life, and variable-universal life; and these are very good options for your employees to consider or in your personal financial plan.

Term Insurance

In Term Insurance, the life of the policy-holder is insured for a specific period of time and if the person dies within the period the insurance company pays the beneficiary. Otherwise, if the policy-holder lives longer than the period of time stated in the policy, the policy is no longer valid. In a simple word, if death does not occur within stipulated period, the policy-holder receives nothing.

For example, Mr. Adam takes a life policy for a period of not later than the age of 60. If Mr. Adam dies within the age of less than 60 years, the insurance company will pay the sum assured. If Mr. Adam’s death does not occur within the stated period in the life policy (i.e. Mr. Adam lives up to 61 years and above), the insurance company pays nothing no matter the premiums paid over the term of the policy.

Term assurance will pay the policy holder only if death occurs during the “term” of the policy, which can be up to 30 years. Beyond the “term”, the policy is null and void (i.e. worthless). Term life insurance policies are basically of two types:

o Level term: In this one, the death benefit remains constant throughout the duration of the policy.

o Decreasing term: Here, the death benefit decreases as the course of the policy’s term progresses.

It should be note that Term Life Insurance can be used in a debtor-creditor scenario. A creditor may decide to insure the life of his debtor for a period over which the debt repayment is expected to be completed, so that if the debtor dies within this period, the creditor (being the policy-holder) gets paid by the insurance company for the sum assured).

Endowment Life Insurance

In Endowment Life Insurance, the life of the policy holder is insured for a specific period of time (say, 30 years) and if the person insured is still alive after the policy has timed out, the insurance company pays the policy-holder the sum assured. However, if the person assured dies within the “time specified” the insurance company pays the beneficiary.

For example, Mr. Adam took an Endowment Life Insurance for 35 years when he was 25 years of age. If Mr. Adam is lucky to attain the age of 60 (i.e. 25 + 35), the insurance company will pay the policy-holder (i.e. whoever is paying the premium, probably Mr. Adam if he is the one paying the premium) the sum assured. However, if Mr. Adam dies at the age of 59 years before completing the assured time of 35 years, his sum assured will be paid to his beneficiary (i.e. policy-holder). In case of death, the sum assured is paid at the age which Mr. Adam dies.

That they manage to get thier casino applications audited on a monthly basis with authorized chartered accountants, that authenticate his or her payout ratio. That they handle most personal data concerning their customers because of the sbobet strictest concerning self-esteem. And, customers need no bother about his or her facts dripping away.

Fixed vs Adjustable Rates

Apples vs. oranges. Boxers vs. briefs. Dave Letterman vs. Jay Leno. These debates may rage on for decades, and we can add another one to the list: fixed vs. adjustable. We’re speaking, of course, of fixed rate and adjustable rate mortgages.

Let’s start the discussion by talking about risk. If I had to pick one word that explained the mortgage industry, it would be risk. If you can understand the concept of risk and how it relates to mortgages, you’re way ahead of the game. In a nutshell, riskier loans mean higher interest rates; you compensate the person lending you money by paying them a higher interest rate. If you have low FICO scores, this is a higher risk to the investor since you don’t have a good history of paying your bills on time, so you’re going to have to pay a higher rate. If you can’t verify enough income to qualify for the loan, this is a higher risk and you’re going to have to pay a higher interest rate.

As it relates to this discussion, the longer you ask the lender to guarantee your interest rate, the higher risk for them since they’re guaranteeing the rate you get but they don’t know how much their funds are going to cost them going forward. This isn’t an easy concept to wrap your mind around, so don’t feel bad if you don’t get it yet. Lenders work on a concept called arbitrage, which is a fancy way of saying they borrow money at a certain rate and then lend it out to you. However, lenders don’t get money at 30-year fixed rates, so when they borrow money they have to try to gauge what it’s going to cost them over the time they lend it to you. If you’re following me so far, you can understand why they would charge a higher rate to guarantee you a certain rate for 30 years as opposed to 3 or 5 years. Now, on to our discussion…

On the one hand, we have fixed rate advocates. These days, this is a relatively easy argument to make since rates are at 40-year lows. The main reason to get a fixed-rate mortgage, whether it be a 15-, 20-, or 30-year fixed, is to protect yourself from adjustable interest rates. When you get a fixed rate loan, you know exactly what your payments are going to be and they’re not going to change for the life of the loan. In a time when rates are rising, a fixed rate mortgage gives you the security of knowing that you’re safe.

On the other hand, there are the adjustable rate advocates. The main argument here, in a nutshell, is that you shouldn’t pay for something you don’t need. A great majority of people out there will only keep their mortgage for 3-5 years. Maybe it’s a job change, maybe it’s an expanding or contracting family, a refinance for home improvements or college for the kids, or any number of life circumstances. Since you’re probably not going to keep your mortgage for 15 or 30 years, you’re probably better off to get a lower adjustable rate mortgage and pocket the difference.

I’m not going to say one argument is better than the other. There’s no such thing as a “good” or “bad” loan, but there are loans that are better or worse for certain people. In my career as a mortgage consultant, I can tell you that I’ve done very few fixed rate loans. I only recommend them in two cases – when people are on a fixed income and need to know exactly what to expect from their mortgage, or when people are absolutely sure that they’re not going to move or need to refinance for many, many years. In a great majority of cases, people don’t need a fixed rate loan and would in fact be much better off with a loan that accomplishes their goals and saves them money in the long term. Like oranges vs. apples or Letterman vs. Leno, fixed vs. adjustable is not a debate that can be definitively settled, but I hope I’ve helped you figure out which one may be right for you.

Seven Splendid Reasons Why You Should Hire a Buyer’s Advocate

Buyers advocates or buyers agents are capable real estate professionals who are hired by people interested in buying property. Unlike traditional real estate agents, buyers advocates only work for purchasers. Their goal is to achieve the best possible purchase price for their clients, as well as make sure their rights are being respected.

Life in the 21st century is hectic, and today, the amount of people taking advantage of a buyer’s agent is increasing steadily. Because of their busy schedules they count on the exclusive services of these experts to help them find and buy the property of their dreams, regardless if this is a condo, a townhouse, a single detached home, an apartment, or a commercial building.

One of the main reasons why property purchasers hire buyers advocates is because it will save them time and money. Other motives are:

1. Familiarity with the region

A proficient property buyer’s advocate is familiar with the areas their clients are interested in. They know exactly what properties are in demand, what amenities are available, where the schools are, the local property values, and much more.

2. Locating suitable properties

Buyers advocates review hundreds of properties each week. They will also inspect as many listed homes as they can to acquire a feel of what is available on the current market. Their clients do not have to spend hours researching the property listings on the Internet or in newspapers, nor do they have to run all over the area to view properties. A buyer’s agent will do the preliminary work for them and present them with a shortlist.

3. Finding properties before they are listed

Through their professional contacts, buyers advocates often locate properties before they are officially listed. Many times, they also hear about silent sales, which purchasers without a buyer’s agent would miss out on. Although most sellers will list their home, some prefer to keep their property sale quiet. Some sellers do not want to deal with invasive home inspections and open houses, while others want to save on advertising costs.

4. Increased selection

As established buyers advocates have a full range of real estate to choose from, and have access to these properties’ information, they are able to find more suitable homes or commercial building than their clients would on their own.

5. Taking care of prep work

Buying property is more than shaking hands and handing over a set of keys. Buyer’s agents also act as liaisons between their clients and property valuers, building inspectors, pest consultants, surveyors, contractors and everyone else involved in the buying process. They also make sure their clients receive good value for their money.

6. Performing negotiations

The members of a buyer’s agency are trained to negotiate. Using a variety of techniques and strategies, they will discuss and bargain with real estate agents until their clients will receive the best possible deal.

7. Professional connections

Most property buyers advocates deal with solicitors, financial institutions, building inspectors, contractors, and other professionals involved in the purchase of real estate. Because they have such an extensive network of professional connections, these property agents can recommend reliable craftsmen who will charge competitive rates to their clients. Renovations or upgrades will be affordable and finished in no time.

With the help of a buyers advocate agency, you too can find affordable property in your preferred neighborhood!

A Beginner’s Guide to Insurance

Having the right kind of insurance is central to sound financial planning. Some of us may have some form of insurance but very few really understand what it is or why one must have it. For most Indians insurance is a form of investment or a superb tax saving avenue. Ask an average person about his/her investments and they will proudly mention an insurance product as part of their core investments. Of the approximately 5% of Indians that are insured the proportion of those adequately insured is much lower. Very few of the insured view insurance as purely that. There is perhaps no other financial product that has witnessed such rampant mis-selling at the hands of agents who are over enthusiastic in selling products linking insurance to investment earning them fat commissions.

What is Insurance?

Insurance is a way of spreading out significant financial risk of a person or business entity to a large group of individuals or business entities in the occurrence of an unfortunate event that is predefined. The cost of being insured is the monthly or annual compensation paid to the insurance company. In the purest form of insurance if the predefined event does not occur until the period specified the money paid as compensation is not retrieved. Insurance is effectively a means of spreading risk among a pool of people who are insured and lighten their financial burden in the event of a shock.

Insured and Insurer

When you seek protection against financial risk and make a contract with an insurance provider you become the insured and the insurance company becomes your insurer.

Sum assured

In Life Insurance this is the amount of money the insurer promises to pay when the insured dies before the predefined time. This does not include bonuses added in case of non-term insurance. In non-life insurance this guaranteed amount may be called as Insurance Cover.

Premium

For the protection against financial risk an insurer provides, the insured must pay compensation. This is known as premium. They may be paid annually, quarterly, monthly or as decided in the contract. Total amount of premiums paid is several times lesser than the insurance cover or it wouldn’t make much sense to seek insurance at all. Factors that determine premium are the cover, number of years for which insurance is sought, age of the insured (individual, vehicle, etc), to name a few.

Nominee

The beneficiary who is specified by the insured to receive the sum assured and other benefits, if any is the nominee. In case of life insurance it must be another person apart from the insured.

Policy Term

The number of years you want protection for is the term of policy. Term is decided by the insured at the time of purchasing the insurance policy.

Rider

Certain insurance policies may offer additional features as add-ons apart from the actual cover. These can be availed by paying extra premiums. If those features were to be bought separately they would be more expensive. For instance you could add on a personal accident rider with your life insurance.

Surrender Value and Paid-up Value

If you want to exit a policy before its term ends you can discontinue it and take back your money. The amount the insurer will pay you in this instance is called the surrender value. The policy ceases to exist. Instead if you just stop paying the premiums mid way but do not withdraw money the amount is called as paid-up. At the term’s end the insurer pays you in proportion of the paid-up value.

Now that you know the terms this is how insurance works in plain words. An insurance company pools premiums from a large group of people who want to insure against a certain kind of loss. With the help of its actuaries the company comes up with statistical analysis of the probability of actual loss happening in a certain number of people and fixes premiums taking into account other factors as mentioned earlier. It works on the fact that not all insured will suffer loss at the same time and many may not suffer the loss at all within the time of contract.

Types of Insurance

Potentially any risk that can be quantified in terms of money can be insured. To protect loved ones from loss of income due to immature death one can have a life insurance policy. To protect yourself and your family against unforeseen medical expenses you can opt for a Mediclaim policy. To protect your vehicle against robbery or damage in accidents you can have a motor insurance policy. To protect your home against theft, damage due to fire, flood and other perils you can choose a home insurance.

Most popular insurance forms in India are life insurance, health insurance and motor insurance. Apart from these there are other forms as well which are discussed in brief in the following paragraphs. The insurance sector is regulated and monitored by IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority).

Life Insurance

This form of insurance provides cover against financial risk in the event of premature death of the insured. There are 24 life insurance companies playing in this arena of which Life Insurance Corporation of India is a public sector company. There are several forms of life insurance policies the simplest form of which is term plan. The other complex policies are endowment plan, whole life plan, money back plan, ULIPs and annuities.

General Insurance

All other insurance policies besides Life Insurance fall under General Insurance. There are 24 general insurance companies in India of which 4 namely National Insurance Company Ltd, New India Assurance Company Ltd, Oriental Insurance Company Ltd and United India Insurance Company Ltd are in the public sector domain.

The biggest pie of non-life insurance in terms of premiums underwritten is shared by motor insurance followed by engineering insurance and health insurance. Other forms of insurance offered by companies in India are home insurance, travel insurance, personal accident insurance, and business insurance.

Buying Insurance

There are an umpteen number of policies to choose from. Because we cannot foresee our future and stop unpleasant things from happening, having an insurance cover is a necessity. But you need to choose carefully. Don’t simply go with what the agent tells you. Read policy documents to know what is covered, what features are offered and what events are excluded from being insured.

1. Know your Needs

Determine what asset or incident must be protected against loss/damage. Is it you life, health, vehicle, home? Next determine what kinds of damage or danger exactly would the assets be most probably be exposed to. This will tell you what features you should be looking for in a policy. Of course there will be losses which cannot be foreseen and the cost of dealing with them can be very high. For instance nobody can predict that they’ll never suffer from critical illnesses no matter if they’re perfectly healthy at present.

The biggest mistake while it comes to buying insurance, particularly life insurance is to view it as an investment. Clubbing insurance and investment in a single product is a poor idea. You lose out on both fronts because for the premiums you’re paying more cover could’ve been got in a term plan and if the premiums were invested in better instruments your returns could’ve been several times more.

Be wary of agents who want to talk you into buying unnecessary policies like child life insurance, credit card insurance, unemployment insurance and so on. Instead of buying separate insurance for specific assets or incidents look for policies that cover a host of possible events under the same cover. Whenever possible choose riders that make sense instead of buying them separately. Unless there is a fair chance of an event happening you do not need insurance for it. For instance unless you are very prone to accidents and disability due to your nature of work or other reasons you do not need an Accident Insurance policy. A good Life Insurance policy with accidental death rider or waiver of premium rider or a disability income rider will do the job.

2. Understand Product Features and Charges

The worst way of choosing an insurance product or insurer is to blindly follow the recommendation of an agent or a friend. The good way to do it is to shop around for products that suit your need and filter out the ones offering lower premiums for similar terms like age, amount of cover, etc. All details you need about the product features and charges will be provided on the company’s website. Many insurance policies can now be bought online. Buying online is smarter because premiums are lower due to elimination of agent fees. If buying offline in case of life insurance, tell the agent that you’re interested only in term insurance.

Before you sign on the contract make sure you have understood what items are covered and what items are exempted from the cover. It would be so devastating to learn in the event of damage or loss that the item you hoped to cover with the insurance was actually excluded. So many people rush to their insurers after being treated for diseases only to realize that the particular disease was excluded. Understand details like when the cover begins and ends and how claims can be filed and losses be reported.

Don’t choose an insurance company because your neighbourhood friend is their agent and never let them coax you into buying from them. Insurance premiums run for years and it means a sizeable amount of money. Apart from the premiums charged look for the service provided. When you are faced with a peril you want the claims collection processed to be complicated with non-cooperating staff in the insurance company’s office. Seek answers from people who have had previous experience with the company for questions like how customer friendly and responsive the company is when it comes to handling claims.

3. Evaluate and Upgrade in Time

As you walk from one life stage to another or when the asset insured changes your policies must be reviewed. Perhaps your cover will need to be increased (or decreased) or you’ll need to top it up with a rider. Some instances when you need to review your cover are when you getting married, when you have children, when your income increases your decreases substantially, when you’re buying a house/car and when you’re responsible for your ageing parents.