What is life insurance?
Life insurance is a financial product, which ensures that financial obligations undertaken by us in the discharge of ordinary business of life are met for our loved ones, with us, or even in the adverse situation of our absence from this world.
Simply explained, life insurance provides a cover of a defined sum of money which is payable in the event of an unfortunate demise of the person insured. This helps the affected family mitigate the sudden financial loss suffered by them which is besides the immeasurable emotional loss suffered by the family.
Why do I need insurance?
Asset protection and income protection: Insurance is concerned with the protection of the economic value of assets. Insurance as a concept originated as a financial instrument designed to protect tangible assets. Since every asset has value, it is subject to risk and peril. There is a distinct possibility that the asset may be destroyed, or lost, resulting in sufferance of loss by the owner of the asset. All assets that we possess; the house we live in, the car we drive, our business assets, the products and services manufactured or sold by a businessperson or an organization, have an assigned pecuniary value. The single most important asset that we human beings possess is the capability of being able to make a living in life. All other tangible and intangible assets are our creation. Our capability to earn money gives us the confidence of managing and rearing a family. Hence, we have a responsibility to protect this single most important asset to ensure our loved ones continue to get what we have provided for them, with us or without us.
Types of life insurance products:
Term insurance plans: Term Insurance policies as the name suggests, offer coverage of insurance for a defined term or time period and cover only the risk of mortality or the risk of dying too young for a customer. These products primarily cater to the protection of income need of the customer and in case of death during the term of the policy contract, the specified sum insured/death benefit is paid to the nominee specified in the policy. In the event of the insured surviving the policy term, there is no payment on maturity of the policy, as the term insurance is intended to cover only the risk of death during the term of policy. Premiums are generally very low for such plans as they cover only the risk of death and have very negligible investment element in the premiums.
Whole life insurance plans: These plans cater to the need for life protection throughout the whole life of the insured and are hence called whole life plans. The premiums are paid either for whole life or for limited premium payment period. Whole Life Plans cater to the protection need of the individual for whole lifetime, generally only the risk of death is covered by such plans, though whole life products can also be a combination with endowment products, hence maturity benefits are also part of some whole life plans. Whole life policies are more expensive compared to term plans as the period of coverage is throughout the life of the person insured and due to the savings or investment element, which may be part of such offering.
Endowment assurance plans: These are life insurance plans which provide coverage for the risk of death during the policy term and provide the survival benefit on maturity as well. Accordingly, such products cater to the saving and accumulation cornerstone of financial security and provide a base life insurance cover as well. Endowment life insurance products hence provide life protection throughout the term of the policy contract, that is to say in the event of eventuality the defined sum assured/death benefit is payable to the nominee and in case of survival, maturity proceeds are payable as survival benefit.
Money back insurance plans: These plans are an offshoot of endowment products. Instead of survival benefit being paid on maturity or at the end of the policy term, in case of money back plans survival benefits are paid periodically at defined intervals of time through the policy term, thereby enhancing the liquidity for the customer.
Participating and non-participating insurance plans: Whole life, endowment and money back plans cater to the savings and accumulation needs of customers, as there is an element of investment or returns built in the product construct. These products are traditional plans and can be participating or non-participating in nature.
Participating plans as the name suggests, participate in the future profits of the company and hence are eligible for bonus, subject to declaration by the life insurance company. Bonus is the share of profits of a life insurance company, which is shared with the policy holders.
Non- participating plans on the other hand, do not participate in the future profits of the life insurance company, hence do not qualify for bonus. Though, in such plans guaranteed returns may be inbuilt as part of product construct.
What is Bonus?
Bonus in life insurance context refers to the share of profits of the insurance company, which is distributed or shared with the policy holders.
Premiums paid by policyholders are pooled within the insurance company's life fund. The company uses these pooled resources to pay out claims. A large part of the life fund is invested in government-secured debt instruments, with a small portion invested in equity to achieve a desired return. Based upon the earnings from the investments made by the company and its claims experience, a life insurance company may distribute a part of its surplus to the participating or with-profits policyholders in the form of bonus.
The bonus rate depends upon factors such as the return on the assets and investments, the level of bonuses declared in previous years and other actuarial assumptions.
Different types of bonus:
Simple reversionary bonus: This type of bonus is calculated on the sum assured. This bonus is generally declared annually at the end of each financial year and attached on each policy anniversary as per terms and conditions of the policy contract, to be paid out at the time of a claim or on maturity.
Compound reversionary bonus: This type of bonus is calculated as a percentage of the sum assured and all previously accrued bonuses. The bonus of each year is added to the sum assured and the next year's bonus is calculated on the enhanced amount.
Terminal bonus: The terminal bonus, also known as loyalty or a persistency bonus is a bonus paid to indicate an overall performance of a participating policy. The terminal bonus is paid at the time of maturity or death of the life assured. This form of bonus may be distributed after staying in the policy for a predetermined long time period and is offered at the discretion of the insurer depending on the profit experience for the policy.
Interim bonus: Interim bonus is payable for those policies that mature or result in a death claim in between two bonus declaration dates. While the policy has already accrued the bonus declared at the end of the last financial year, there may be a short period in between the bonus declaration date and the maturity/claim date for which the policy has not received bonus. In such instances, bonus is added on a pro-rata basis using the interim bonus rates declared by the company. An interim bonus ensures that policyholders who claim benefits in the middle of a year will receive credit for keeping the policy in force for that part of the year.
Cash bonus: Some insurance companies may decide to pay the bonus on every policy anniversary in the form of cash pay-out, instead of accrued reversionary bonuses.
Traditional products vs. Unit linked insurance products
Traditional products range from term, whole life, endowment, and money back plans. These are either participating (with profit) or non-participating (without profit) plans other than term plans which are purely risk protection products.
Traditional products are also known as bundled insurance products, in which the insurance premiums are bundled in such a manner that the elements of the premium amount; mortality (risk premium), administration, and investment components cannot be separated easily or transparently. Premiums collected through traditional products are invested majorly into government securities and debt instruments. Resultant of which is that investment returns are not volatile and remain stable throughout the term of the policy. Traditional products are suitable for those customers who wish to accumulate and build savings for long-term goals and want guaranteed or semi guaranteed returns.
Unit linked products
Unit linked insurance plans or ULIPs as they are commonly referred, are insurance products along with market-linked investment opportunity for a customer. The investments in ULIPs are made in market-linked securities and hence the returns on the same are aligned with the capital markets. Premiums invested in the ULIPs are invested into various types of funds as per the choice of the customer, depending on his or her investment risk profile. ULIP Premiums can be invested by the policyholder in various types of funds such as equity, balanced, debt, income, or money market funds. As per switching feature, a customer may switch from one fund to the other depending on the market conditions and as per choice exercised by the customer. ULIPs offer tremendous flexibility to the customers through various features like increase or decrease in sum assured, premium payment options, switching of funds, partial withdrawals, top up premiums, etc. ULIPs are also called unbundled insurance products as premium elements of mortality or risk premium, investment and administration expenses can be segregated for full transparency with customers. The Net Asset Value (NAV) represents the value of investment component in the ULIP. The sum assured assigned to the ULIP is the value of the insurance cover given to the customer.
How much life insurance is needed?
Life insurance is intended to protect one’s family against possible financial loss on premature death of the life insured. How much life insurance coverage is needed is a question, which needs to be addressed with what one can afford? ‘human life value’ is a methodology to determine the appropriate amount of sum assured required to avoid future loss of income. Human life value is determined by three main factors:
2.Current and future income
3.Current and future expenses
Calculate the coverage required using our calculator
How can I apply for an insurance policy with Star Union Dai-ichi Life Insurance?
Customers can contact and discuss with the representatives of our channel partners in any branch of Bank of India or Union Bank of India. We have a bouquet of products catering to suit the needs of the customer at every phase of his or her life.
What are the general considerations for accepting a risk when a proposal is received?
When a proposal for insurance is received, it undergoes the process of ‘underwriting’. Underwriting is the process of evaluating the risk involved with reference to many factors like age, health, occupation, family history (longevity), social, and financial status of the person seeking the life insurance. For obvious reasons that the premium rates depend on mortality table with the premium goes up with the increase of age.
What are ‘riders’ in life insurance?
Riders are additional instruments of protection, which are attachable to the main policy. The objective of attaching riders is to fortify the protection part in a life insurance policy, which is the essence of insurance.
Rider premiums are very inexpensive and hence very affordable for customers. Various types of riders are offered; Accidental Death Benefit Rider, Accidental Death and Permanent Total Disability Rider, Waiver of Premium Rider, Critical Illness Rider, etc.