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An insurance professional who analyzes, evaluates, and manages statistical information. Evaluates insurance firms' reserves, determines rates and rating methods, and determines other business and financial risks.


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.


Property owned, in this case by an insurance company, including stocks, bonds, and real estate. Insurance accounting is concerned with solvency and the ability to pay claims. State insurance laws therefore require a conservative valuation of assets, prohibiting insurance companies from listing assets on their balance sheets whose values are uncertain, such as furniture, fixtures, debit balances, and accounts receivable that are more than 90 days past due.


A change to the basic policy contract. An amendment alters the policy; an endorsement adds to it.

Annual Statement

Summary of an insurer's or reinsurer's financial operations for a particular year, including a balance sheet. It is filed with the state insurance department of each jurisdiction in which the company is licensed to conduct business.

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

A computer-controlled high-pressure system that assists the vehicle's normal braking system. ABS allows all wheels to slow at the same rate, thereby preventing loss of control.

Anti-theft device

A device that deters auto theft. Autos equipped with these devices may entitle you to a discount on your insurance premiums.


Process that determines the value of property, or the extent of damage, usually performed by an impartial expert.


A process of settling a dispute through an impartial party. It is used as an alternative to litigation.

Assigned Risk (AIP)

A driver or vehicle owner who cannot qualify for insurance in the regular market. He or she must get coverage through a state assigned risk plan, which specifies that each company must accept a proportionate share of these drivers/owners.


Means the same as an "insured," "policyholder," or someone who has an insurance policy.

Auto Insurance

Auto Insurance provides protection from losses resulting from owning and operating an auto. The insurance covers losses to the insured's property and losses for which the insured is liable as a result of owning or operating an auto.

Auto Theft

The theft of an auto is a type of loss that is covered under comprehensive coverage.


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

Blanket Coverage

Insurance coverage for more than one item of property at a single location, or two or more items of property in different locations.

Bodily Injury (BI)

Physical injury sustained by a person.

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage

Pays damages for bodily injury or death resulting from an accident for which you are at fault and provides you with a legal defense.

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. Business interruption insurance 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 coverages for small–to-midsize businesses. Coverage is generally cheaper than if purchased through separate insurance policies.


Termination of an insurance contract before the end of the policy period, by the insured or insurer, usually in accordance with provisions in the contract.


The insurance company or insurer.


An aggravated disaster. This is an act of nature, such as a severe windstorm, hurricane, flood, earthquake, or tornado, which results in extensive damage to property.

Chartered Property-Casualty Underwriter (CPCU)

A professional designation given by the American Institute for Property and Liability Underwriters. National examinations and three years of work experience are required.


Any request or demand for payment under the terms of the insurance policy. A claim may be made as a result of injuries or damages to an insured or for a third party's injuries or property damage allegedly caused by the insured.


One who initiates a claim.

Claims Adjuster

The person responsible for investigating and settling a claim.

CLUE® Report

Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) reports provide claims history information.

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. When the ratio is over 100, the insurer has an underwriting loss.

Commercial General Liability Insurance (CGL)

A broad commercial policy that covers all liability exposures of a business that is not specifically excluded. Coverage includes product liability, completed operations, premises and operations, and independent contractors.

Commercial Lines

Products designed for and bought by businesses. Among the major coverages are boiler and machinery, business interruption, 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 coverages can be purchased separately except business interruption, which must be added to a fire insurance (property) policy.

Commercial Multiple Peril Policy

Package policy that includes property, boiler and machinery, crime, and general liability coverages.

Competitive Estimate

A term used when the company requests that you submit two or three estimates from independent repair shops.

Comprehensive Physical Damage Coverage

Pays for damage to your car from theft, vandalism, flood, fire or other covered perils.

Condo insurance

A type of homeowners insurance that meets the special needs of condominium owners.


Synonym for insurance.


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.

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.

Directors and Officers Liability Coverage

Covers directors and officers of a company for negligent acts, omissions, or misleading statements that result in suits against the company, often by shareholders. Directors and officers insurance policies usually contain two coverages:
  • personal coverage for individual directors and officers who are not indemnified by the corporation for their legal expenses or judgments against them. Some corporations are not required by their corporate or state charters to provide indemnification.
  • corporate reimbursement coverage for indemnifying directors and officers. Entity coverage for claims made specifically against the company may also be available.


Loss or harm due to an injury to a person or property.


Money that one party becomes legally obligated to pay to another party because of a loss or harm to their person or property.


The part of your policy that includes your name and address; the property that is being insured, its location and description; the policy period; the amount of insurance coverage and the applicable premiums.


The portion of a claim you pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company pays. Choosing a higher deductible will lower your insurance premiums.


The decrease in value of any property due to wear, tear, and/or time. Generally this is not an insurable loss.


A reduction in your premium if you or your car meet certain conditions that reduce the insurer's losses or expenses. For example, auto insurance discounts are given for cars with auto theft devices and for drivers and passengers who use seatbelts.

Earned Premium

The portion of premium that applies to the expired part of the policy period. Insurance premiums are payable in advance but the insurance company does not fully earn them until the policy period expires.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

Our electronic payment method that lets you pay your premiums with automatic deductions from your checking account.

Emergency Road Service Coverage

Protection for problems that are not typically handled by your auto insurance such as: being locked out of your car, having a dead battery re-charged, inflating a flat tire, or filling an empty gas tank.


A written form attached to an insurance policy that alters the policy's coverage, terms, or conditions. Sometimes called a rider.

Errors and Omissions Coverage (E&O)

A professional liability policy covering the policyholder for negligent acts and omissions that may harm his or her clients.


The initial assessment of the cost to repair your damaged property.

Excess & Surplus Lines

Property/casualty coverage that isn't available from insurers licensed by the state (called admitted insurers) and must be purchased from a non-admitted carrier.

Excess of Loss Reinsurance

A contract between an insurer and a reinsurer, whereby the insurer agrees to pay a specified portion of a claim and the reinsurer to pay all or a part of the claim above that amount.


A provision in an insurance policy that eliminates coverage for certain risks, people, property classes, or locations.

Expiration Date

This date, found on your declaration page, indicates when your policy coverage runs out. Your renewal policy will start on this date.

Express Repair Shop

Body shops chosen by us that are authorized to handle the repair of insured vehicles without the need for an inspection by a staff adjuster. Vehicle owners always have the right to choose the body shop of their choice.

Expense Ratio

Percentage of each premium dollar that goes to insurers' expenses, including overhead, marketing, and commissions.


Possibility of loss.

Extended Coverage

An endorsement added to an insurance policy, or clause within a policy, that provides additional coverage for risks other than those in a basic policy.

Field Adjuster

An insurance adjuster who works primarily outside of an office and often meets personally with the public. Field adjusters can conduct face-to-face meetings, negotiations with claimants, scene investigations, and damage inspections.

Fidelity Bond

A form of protection that covers policyholders for losses that they incur as a result of fraudulent acts by specified individuals. It usually insures a business for losses caused by the dishonest acts of its employees.

Fiduciary Bond

A type of surety bond, sometimes called a probate bond, which is required of certain fiduciaries, such as executors and trustees, that guarantees the performance of their responsibilities.

Fiduciary Liability

Legal responsibility of a fiduciary to safeguard assets of beneficiaries. A fiduciary, for example a pension fund manager, is required to manage investments held in trust in the best interest of beneficiaries. Fiduciary liability insurance covers breaches of fiduciary duty such as misstatements or misleading statements, errors and omissions.

Financed Car

An auto purchase financed by a loan. The lender retains a lien on the auto until it has been paid off.

Fire Insurance

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

First Party

There are two parties to the policy contract: the insured and the insurance company. This term refers to the insured.

First Party Claims

A claim for damage, loss or injury made by an insured.

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.


Two types of forms are important in insurance:
  • preprinted contracts that form your insurance policy
  • Questionnaires or coverage selection forms that a policyholder is required to fill out.


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


Anything that increases the chance of an accident occurring.

Homeowners Insurance

Insurance that protects the homeowners from losses to their personal property and any damages for which the homeowner is liable.

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.


Provide financial compensation for losses.

Independent Agent

Agent who is self-employed, is paid on commission, and represents several insurance companies.

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.


In some instances, our policyholders will be asked to have their auto inspected. This inspection is not a safety inspection but is intended to reduce insurance fraud by verifying the condition of the auto and making sure that the auto exists.


Insurance is a system in which groups of people who have similar chances of suffering a loss transfer their risk of loss to an insurer who pools the risk of many people together. In exchange for payment of premium, the insurer promises to reimburse the person for their covered losses.

Insurance Fraud

A variety of crimes that range from staging accidents, inflating medical bills, to falsifying an application for insurance.

Insurance ID Card

A card issued by your insurer containing basic information about your insurance policy. Some states require you to keep an ID card in your vehicle.

Insurance Score

Used in the underwriting process in some states. An individual's insurance score is based, in part, on a person's credit history.


A person or organization covered by an insurance policy.


An organization that provides insurance.

Leased car

An auto rented under a long-term contract (lease). The leasing company retains ownership of the auto and must be shown on your insurance policy.

Liability Insurance

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


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


Type or kind of insurance, such as personal lines.


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 Ratio

Percentage of each premium dollar an insurer spends on claims.

Loss Reserves

The company's best estimate of what it will pay for claims, which is periodically readjusted. They represent a liability on the insurer's balance sheet.

Malpractice Insurance

Professional liability coverage for physicians, lawyers, and other specialists against suits alleging negligence or errors and omissions that have harmed clients.

Marine Insurance

Coverage for goods in transit, and for the commercial vehicles that transport them, on water and over land. The term may apply to inland marine but more generally applies to ocean marine insurance. Covers damage or destruction of a ship's hull and cargo and perils include collision, sinking, capsizing, being stranded, fire, piracy, and jettisoning cargo to save other property. Wear and tear, dampness, mold, and war are not included. (See Inland Marine and Ocean Marine)


To make written or verbal statements that are untrue or misleading. Misrepresentation may be made either by a person seeking insurance coverage when describing the risk, or on the part of an insurer or agent regarding the contract policy terms.

Motor Vehicle Report (MVR)

A report from the agency that issues your driver's license, listing accidents and violations that appear on your driving record. This report is used to verify information provided by insurance applicants and policyholders.

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.

Multiple Policies Discount

Available to policyholders who have more than one insurance policy with us.

Municipal Liability Insurance

Liability insurance for municipalities.

Named Insured

The person designated in the policy as the insured, as opposed to someone who may have an interest in a policy but is not specifically named. Usually includes a spouse, if a resident of the same household.

Named Peril

Peril specifically mentioned as covered in an insurance policy.


The failure to exercise reasonable care. It is equivalent to carelessness or lack of proper care. This is the basis of legal liability.

National Flood Insurance Program

Federal government-sponsored program under which flood insurance is sold to homeowners and businesses.

Net Premiums Written

See Premiums written


An insurance system where your own insurance pays for your injuries regardless of who caused the accident.

Non-admitted Assets

Assets that are not included on the balance sheet of an insurance company, including furniture, fixtures, past-due accounts receivable, and agents' debt balances.

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.


When an insurer decides not to renew a policy at the end of its policy period.

Notice of Loss

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.

Ocean Marine Insurance

Coverage of all types of vessels and watercraft for property damage to the vessel and cargo, including such risks as piracy and the jettisoning of cargo to save the property of others. Coverage for marine-related liabilities. War coverage is excluded from basic policies, but can be bought optionally.

Package Policy

A single insurance policy that combines several coverages previously sold separately. Examples include homeowners insurance and commercial multiple peril insurance.


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.

Payment Plans

Your insurance premium can be paid using one of our installment payment plans; you make several smaller payments but incur a service fee.

Personal Property

Property that is not land or connected to land (real estate), such as furniture or jewelry.


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

Policy Change

Any change made to your insurance policy during the period that the policy is in force.


The person who took out the insurance policy and is named in the policy declarations.

Policyholders' Surplus

The amount of money remaining after an insurer's liabilities are subtracted from its assets. It acts as a financial cushion above and beyond reserves, protecting policyholders against an unexpected or catastrophic situation.

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.


The price of the insurance policy that the insured pays in exchange for insurance coverage.

Primary Company

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

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.

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.

Property/Casualty Insurance Market

Industry business cycle with recurrent periods of hard and soft market conditions. In the 1950s and 1960s, cycles were regular with three-year periods each of hard and soft market conditions in almost all lines of property/casualty insurance. Since then they have been less regular and less frequent.


A statement of the premium that will be charged for insurance coverages based on specific information provide by the person requesting the quote including drivers, vehicles, and driving record.


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.

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.

Renewal Date

The date that your insurance policy expires and the date that your renewed policy will begin.

Renters insurance

Insurance that provides protection from losses that arise out of the rental of a home. Protection covers losses to the insured's property, not to losses that occur as a result of owning a home.


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.


A company's best estimate of what it will pay for claims.


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


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


The chance of suffering a loss.

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.


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.


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.


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


Insurance companies' ability to pay the claims of policyholders. Regulations to promote solvency include minimum capital and surplus requirements, statutory accounting conventions, limits to insurance company investment and corporate activities, financial ratio tests, and financial data disclosure.

Statutory Accounting Practices

More conservative standards than under GAAP accounting rules, they are imposed by state laws that emphasize the present solvency of insurance companies. SAP helps ensure that the company will have sufficient funds readily available to meet all anticipated insurance obligations by recognizing liabilities earlier or at a higher value than GAAP and assets later or at a lower value. For example, SAP requires that selling expenses be recorded immediately rather than amortized over the life of the policy.

Structured Settlement

Legal agreement to pay a designated person, usually someone who has been injured, a specified sum of money in periodic payments, usually for his or her lifetime, instead of in a single lump sum payment.


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.

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.


The remainder after an insurer's liabilities are subtracted from its assets. The financial cushion that protects policyholders in case of unexpectedly high claims.

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.

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.


The unlawful taking of the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of its use or possession.

Third-party Insurance

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.

Third Party

Any liability claimant.

Third Party Claim

Claims for injury or damage to property of a third party alleged to have been caused by the insured.


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.

Treaty Reinsurance

A standing agreement between insurers and reinsurers. Under a treaty each party automatically accepts specific percentages of the insurer's business.

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.

Umbrella Insurance

Provides high limits of additional liability coverage above the limits of your homeowners and auto policy. In addition, it provides coverage that may be excluded by other liability policies.


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

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.


Willful or malicious destruction or defacement of public or private property.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

A 17-digit number assigned to each vehicle manufactured in the United States after 1980. This number is used for identification purposes and is visible on the dashboard when viewed from the outside of the vehicle.


A written guarantee of the integrity of a product and of the manufacturer's responsibility for the repair or replacement of defective parts.

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.


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

Written Premium

The total premium on a policy written by an insurer during a specified period of time, regardless of what portions have been earned.
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