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Glossary

This glossary is arranged in alphabetical order. Click on a letter in left column or scroll down to search.

< U >

Underwriter:

This could be the person (broker or agent) who helps you choose the proper type of life insurance or disability insurance and the insurance company for your particular needs. This could also be the person at the insurance company's head office who reviews your application for coverage to determine whether or not the insurance company will issue a policy to you.

Universal Life:

An interest-sensitive life insurance policy that builds cash values. The premium payer has control over how the policy is structured. He has the flexibility to eliminate the premiums (essentially pay up the policy and pay no more premiums) or have the premiums continue for life. It is a matter of juggling three variables: the assumed interest rate, the cash value and the premium payment plan. The policy is interest-sensitive, and if interest rates change from the assumed interest, it will affect the other two variables. In the past, many Universal Life Policies were structured assuming a higher interest rate then was actually received; therefore, most of them have under performed.

If you have a Universal Life Policy, you should have it evaluated to see if it needs to have the premiums adjusted to get it back on track. A fourth variable that has not been a factor but could be in the future, and the owner should be aware of, is the Mortality variable. Universal Life policies are usually structured assuming current mortality rates. The insurance companies reserve the right to change those rates. Under a universal life insurance policy, the policyholder can increase or decrease his or her coverage, with limitations, without purchasing a new policy.

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