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Insurance Glossary

An event such as lightning and storm that is not the fault of any individual. However,liability claims for injury or damage attributable to ‘Acts of God’, for example, not involving any responsibility on the part of a person or an organisation, would not be payable.


Act of God
An event such as lightning and storm that is not the fault of any individual. However,liability claims for injury or damage attributable to ‘Acts of God’, for example, not involving any responsibility on the part of a person or an organisation, would not be payable.

Agreed Value/Valued Policy
The amount a policyholder states their property is worth, for example, a motor vehicle, by providing a professional valuation at the inception of their insurance.
If the insurers agree to the valuation, this figure is recorded as the sum insured and will be the amount paid in the event of a total loss by accident, fire or theft less any applicable excess.

All Risks
Insurance that covers loss by any accidental clause, which is not specifically excluded in the policy.

Certificate of Insurance
A document providing evidence of insurance, for example, a motor insurance certificate shows cover is in force to meet the requirements of the law.

A request for indemnity, which is payment or settlement under the terms of a policy.


When more than one insurer covers a risk, each insurer decides which part of the risk that will underwrite and on what terms. They do not have to follow any other co-insurer.Each co-insurer seperately insures their part of the risk and each is a seperate contract.

The payment by an insurance company to an agent or broker or intermediary for the work involved in arranging insurance and providing on-going service to the client.

Constructive Total Cost

A constructive total loss arises where the subject matter of an insurance is reasonably abandoned to the insurer by the insured on account of its actual total loss appearing unavoidable or because it could not be preserved from actual total loss without an expenditure that would exceed its value.
The term is sometimes used to refer to insured property which is damaged beyond economic repair.

Insurance or reinsurance as it applies to one or more specific risk exposures.

Cover Note
A document similar to a certificate but giving evidence of cover for a limited period only, pending issue or alteration of a policy. Cover can notbe backdated.

It is the money paid or claimed as financial compensation for damage, loss or injury, awarded by a court.

The amount that is deducted from some or all claims arising under an insurance or reinsurance contract. The practical effect is the same as an excess: the insured or reassured must bear a proportion of the relevant loss. If that loss is less than the amount of deductible/excess then the insured or reassured must bear all of the loss (unless there is other insurance in place to cover the deductible).An increase in deductible should result in a reduction in premium.

A written document issued by insurers to expand or modify the policy cover, to alter the content of standard documents or to show changes to the information previously noted.

Excess of Loss
An amount of money the policyholder must pay in the event of an insured claim.

Ex Gratia
A payment made to a policyholder following a loss, which is not strictly covered under the policy.

Franchise is similar to an excess, whereby the first set amount of a claim is excluded and is paid for by the policyholder.However, a franchise is usually a high excess (although, not as high as a deductible) and therefore stops claims for amounts up to the franchise level being made. If a loss occurs which is greater than the franchise, then the insurer pays for the entire loss.

Incurred but not reported losses

Estimated losses which an insurer or reinsurer, based on its knowledge or experience of underwriting similar contracts, believes have arisen or will arise under one or more contracts of insurance or reinsurance, but which have not been notified to an insurer or reinsurer at the time of their estimation.

A service to give customers financial protection against loss or harm, in return for payment of a premium.

Insurance Policy
It is the document or wording, which states the full details of the insurance contract between the policyholder and insurer.

Insurable Loss
The risk covered under the terms of a policy.

When an individual or group of individuals suffer financially or materially due to an insured event of misfortune.

Net Premium Earned

The amount of the premium that is left after the subtraction of some or all permitted deductions such as brokerage and (for certain types of business) profit commission.

Outstanding Claim
Claims, which are not yet settled.

Over Insurance
When property or a building is insured for more than it's value or re-building costs

Partial Average
A partial loss of a ship or cargo which is caused by an insured peril and which is not a general average loss. The term partial loss may be used instead.

The amount paid by the policyholder to the insurer for insurance.

Proposal Form
An application form for insurance that forms the basis of the contract.

Proximate Cause
The active, efficient cause that sets in motion a train of events, which brings about a result, without the intervention of any force, started and working actively from a new and independent source.

The varying amounts set by underwriters in respect of the different risks which can be insured.

The continuation of an existing contract of insurance for a further agreed period.

Solvency Margin

A measure of financial strength based on the extent to which assets exceed liabilities. The solvency of insurers and brokers is determined by applying a specified mathematical formula as laid down by the relevant regulatory body.

Sum Insured
The amount for which the property is insured and the maximum amount the insurers will pay in the event of a valid claim.

Subject Matter
It is the legal right, life, limb, interest, liability or item of property a person, group of people or a company has to be insured.

Under Insurance

Under Insurance is when the sum insured for property insurance is less than the actual value of the subject of insurance (such as a house, car or possessions).
As insurers would not have received the full premium for the risk they are insuring, the consequences of under-insurance are significant.
Most policies include a condition in the wording which says that in the event of under-insurance, insurers have the right to reduce any valid claim paid by the same amount the property is under-insured by.

Utmost Good Faith
Contracts of insurance and reinsurance are contracts of utmost good faith. In the event that either party fails to observe utmost good faith towards the other in regard to the negotiation of cover then the other party may avoid the contract. The duty of utmost good faith requires each party to inform the other all material facts during the negotiation of the placement, renewal or alteration of cover.
Source: Lloyd’s Insurance Glossary
The Institute of Insurance Brokers

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