Insurance Terms – Beginning With Letter I

Our insurance terms glossary is divided alphabetically by insurance terms in a quick reference guide to assist understanding the language commonly used by insurance companies. Policy documents contain a number of insurance terms because they typically define the limitations of risk and liability on the insured and any exclusions of coverage.

If you plan to start a new policy or renew your current policy with a carrier or agency, it is important to review and understand the policy differences behind individual quotes from multiple carriers. Lower policy premiums may be the result of decreased payout benefits, higher deductibles, or maximum damages allowed. It is important to identify these unique features in any policy comparison, otherwise a lower price may come at a much higher cost when you have to file a claim for loss or damages in the future.

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IBNR
See Incurred but not Reported.

IIABA
Visit the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America website.

Immediate Annuity
An annuity providing for payment to begin immediately.

Immediate Participation Guarantee (IPG) Plan
Type of pension plan in which all pension contributions are deposited in an un-allocated fund and used directly to pay benefits to retirees.

Imputed Negligence
Case in which responsibility for damage can be transferred from the negligent party to another person, such as an employer.

Income Interruption Insurance
See Business Interruption Insurance.

Inconsistency (Data Matching Issue)
Occurs when the information entered in the Marketplace by a consumer does not match the Marketplace’s trusted resources.

Incontestability
A provision in life insurance policies that states that, except for non-payment of premiums and certain other circumstances, the policy shall be incontestable during the lifetime of the insured after the policy has been in force for two years .

Incontestable Clause
An optional clause which may be used in non-cancelable or guaranteed renewable health insurance contracts providing that the insurer may not contest the validity of the contract after it has been in force for two (sometimes three) years.

Increased Cost Of Construction
Coverage for loss caused by the requirement, under law, to repair damaged buildings. Older buildings often require more expensive material or upgraded electrical or HVAC to become current with building codes. This is often referred to as ‘Building Ordinance Coverage.’

Incurred Losses
Expense account in an insurance company’s Income Statement reflecting the claims paid during the policy year plus the loss reserves as of the end of the policy year, minus the corresponding reserves as of the beginning of the policy year. The difference between the year end and beginning of the year claim reserves is called the increase in reserves and may be added directly to the paid claims to produce the incurred losses.

Incurred-But-Not-Reported (IBNR) Reserves
Liability account on an insurer’s balance sheet reflecting claims that are expected based upon statistical projections but which have not yet been reported to the insurer.

Indemnification
Compensation to the victim of a loss, in whole or in part, by payment, repair, or replacement.

Indemnity
Legal principle that specifies an insured should not collect more than the actual cash value of a loss but should be restored to approximately the same financial position that existed before the loss.

Independent Adjustor
Claims adjustor who offers his or her services to insurance companies and is compensated by a fee.

Independent Agency System
Type of property and liability insurance marketing system, sometimes called the American agency system, in which the agent is an independent business person representing several companies. The agency has legal right to income from the expiration and renewal rights to the business, and the agent is compensated by commissions.

Independent Agent
An independent business person who usually represents two or more insurance companies in a sales and service capacity and who is compensated by commissions.

Indeterminate Premium Whole Life Insurance
Nonparticipating whole life policy that permits the insurer to adjust premiums based on anticipated future experience. Initial premiums are guaranteed for a certain period. After the initial guaranteed period expires, the insurer can increase premiums up to some maximum limit.

Indexed Universal Life Insurance
Insurance policy that provides the holder the opportunity to invest in either an equity index or fixed account.

Indirect Loss
See Consequential Loss.

Individual Contract
A contract of health insurance made with an individual called the policyholder or the insured, which normally covers the individual and, in certain instances, members of his family.

Individual Deductible
Amount that an insured and each person of his or her family covered by the policy must pay before the group or individual medical insurance policy begins to pay for medical expenses.

Individual Insurance
Policies which provide protection to the policyholder and/or his/her family. Sometimes called Personal Insurance as distinct from group and blanket insurance.

Individual Policy Pension Trust
A type of pension plan, frequently used for small groups, administered by trustees who are authorized to purchase individual level premium policies or annuity contracts for each member of the plan. The polices usually provide both life insurance and retirement benefits.

Individual Retirement Account (IRA)
An account to which an individual can make annual contributions of 100% of earnings up to $2,000 ($2,250 for a one-income married couple). These contributions are tax deductible for most workers, and income earned in the account is deferred until withdrawn.

Industrial Life Insurance
Life insurance issued in small amounts with premiums payable on a weekly or monthly basis. The premiums are generally collected at the insured’s home each week by an agent of the company. Sometimes referred to as debit insurance.

Inflation-Guard Endorsement
Endorsement added at the insured’s request to a homeowners policy to increase periodically the face amount of insurance of the dwelling and other policy coverages by a specified percentage.

Inheritance Tax
A tax on the estate of a deceased person.

Initial Past Service Liability
The actuarial value (single sum) of the past service benefits as of the effective date of the establishment of a retirement plan, or at the date of the latest adjustment.

Initial Reserve
In life insurance, the reserve at the beginning of any policy year.

Inland Marine Insurance
A form of insurance designed to cover articles in transit as well as bridges, tunnels and other means of transportation and communication. Besides goods in transit (generally excepting ocean cargo), it includes numerous floater policies, such as those covering personal effects, personal property, jewelry, furs, fine arts, and other items.

Inpatient Care
Refers to patients who require admission to a hospital for care.

Insolvent
Having insufficient financial resources (assets) to meet financial obligations (liabilities).

Inspection Report
A report (usually written) of an investigation of an applicant, generally conducted by an independent agency that specializes in insurance investigations. The report covers such matters as occupation, financial status, health history, and moral problems.

Insurability
Acceptability to the company of an applicant for insurance.

Insurable Risk
The conditions that make a risk insurable are (a) the peril insured against must produce a definite loss not under the control of the insured, (b) there must be a large number of homogeneous exposures subject to the same perils, (c) the loss must be calculable and the cost of insuring it must be economically feasible, (d) the peril must be unlikely to affect all insureds simultaneously, and (e) the loss produced by a risk must be definite and have a potential to be financially serious.

Insurance
A arrangement under which individuals, businesses, and other organizations or entities, in exchange for payment of a premium, are guaranteed compensation for losses resulting from certain perils under specified conditions.

Insurance Carrier
See Insurance Company.

Insurance Commissioner
The top insurance regulatory official in a state.

Insurance Company
(1) An organization chartered to operate as an insurer.

(2) Any corporation primarily engaged in the business of furnishing insurance protection to individuals or organizations.

Insurance Co-Op
Healthcare structures that are owned by the patients it insures.

Insurance Examiner
The representative of a state insurance department assigned to participate in the official audit and examination of the affairs of an insurance company.

Insurance Exchange
Term used to describe a facility that exists in a few states to provide a market for re-insurance and for the insurance of large or unusual domestic and foreign risks that are difficult to insure in the normal markets. Examples are the New York Insurance Exchange, the Insurance Exchange of the Americas, and the Illinois Insurance Exchange.

Insurance Guaranty Funds
State Funds that provide for the payment of unpaid claims of insolvent insurers. Such funds are frequently notional, in that they are commingled as part of a state government’s general funds.

Insurance Services Offices (ISO)
Major rating organization in property and liability insurance that drafts policy forms for personal and commercial lines of insurance and provides rate data on loss costs for property and liability insurance lines.

Insured
A person or organization covered by an insurance policy.

Insured Life
The person on whose life the policy is issued.

Insurer
The party to the insurance contract who promises to pay losses or benefits. Also, any corporation engaged primarily in the business of furnishing insurance to the public. See also insurance company.

Insuring Agreement
That part of an insurance contract that states the promises of the insurer.

Insuring Clause
The clause in an insurance contract which sets forth the type of loss being covered by the policy and the parties to the insurance contract.

Integration
A coordination of pension, disability or other benefit with the other sources of income, such as Social Security benefit, through a specific formula designed to ensure reasonable income replacement.. Qualified plans must integrate so that total benefits are non-discriminatory between rank and file employees and owners, officers or highly compensated employees.

Inter Vivos Trust
A trust created while the creator of the trust is living. Also known as a living trust.

Interest
Money paid for the use of money, generally calculated as a percentage per annum.

Interest Option
Life insurance settlement option in which the principal is retained by the insurer and interest is paid periodically.

Interest-Adjusted Method
Method of determining cost to an insured of a life insurance policy that considers the time cost of money by applying an interest factor to each element of cost.

Intestate
Without a will.

Investment Income
Line reported in the Income Statement of a company’s financial statements that states the income generated by a company’s portfolio of investments (such as in bonds, stocks, or other financial ventures).

Investment Only Contract
Type of funding instrument that uses only the investment services of an insurer.

IPG Plan
See Immediate Participation Guarantee Plan.

IRA
See Individual Retirement Account.

Irrevocable Beneficiary
Beneficiary designation allowing no change to be made in the beneficiary of an insurance policy without the beneficiary’s consent.

Irrevocable Trust
A trust in which the creator does not reserve the right to reacquire the trust property.

ISO
See Insurance Services Office.

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