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Accelerated Specified Illness Cover

Most life cover only pays out on the death of the person insured. However, if the policy includes accelerated specified illness cover, some or all of the life cover amount will be paid out early if the person covered is diagnosed as having one of a number of specified medical conditions, as defined in the policy. The life cover benefit is then reduced by the amount paid out.

Acceptance Terms/Underwriting Terms

The terms covering life assurance or other benefits upon which the life assurance company and the owner of the policy agree before the policy is issued.


A person who calculates insurance risks and premiums for the life assurance company.

Administration Fee/Switching Fee

Usually refers to a fee payable when you switch all or part of your premium or fund (for example from a medium risk fund to a lower risk fund).

Allocation Rate

A percentage of a person’s money that has been invested in a fund, the remainder is spent on charges.


This occurs when either the owner of the policy or the life assurance company alters the contract between them. This is subject to underwriting requirements and policy terms and conditions.

Annual Premium Equivalent (APE)

An industry standard formula for measuring new business income It is the total of new annual premiums plus 10% of single premiums.

Annuity Options

If a customer decides to buy an annuity on retirement, there are different annuity options available. These may include the option of paying an income to a spouse or dependent in the event of the death of the customer.


An annuity is a type of policy that pays regular income for life in return for the payment of a lump sum at outset. A pension annuity pays a regular income for life using the value of your pension fund at retirement.

Annuity Rate

The rate applied to a lump sum to calculate the level of regular income payments that the lump sum will provide you with. The income may be payable for the whole of the remainder of a person’s life or for a fixed period of time. The rate applied to a lump sum to calculate the level of regular.

Application/Proposal Form

If you wish to buy a policy, you will be asked to complete a form by the life assurance company. The form will ask for details of the cover required and in some cases for medical and lifestyle information. The form should be signed and returned to the company.

Appointed Actuary

The actuary appointed by the life assurance company in accordance with Section 34 of the Insurance Act 1989. The Appointed Actuary advises the life assurance company on how the interests of the policyholder should be taken into account.


Approved Retirement Fund – an investment plan that selfemployed people and proprietary directors can purchase with the proceeds of their pension plan when they retire, which they can allow to grow or can cash in from time to time to provide an income. The proceeds of an additional voluntary contribution (AVC) can also be invested in an approved retirement fund (ARF) if the trustees of the scheme allow this.


Any third party that has a legal interest in a policy because of an assignment.


This is the legal transfer of ownership of the policy and its benefits to a third party. Usually, this third party is a bank or building society. When this happens, the customer continues to pay the premiums and needs the approval of the assignee to change the contract. The assignee may reverse the assignment by completing a Release of Assignment Form.


A term sometimes used instead of “insurance”, generally in connection with life business, since assurance implies the certainty of an event (such as death) and insurance only the possibility.

Automatic Income

The surrendering of units on a unit linked policy to provide a regular income.

Automatic Fund Switching

Some life assurance companies offer the facility to automatically switch a portion of your fund value into a more secure fund as the policy nears maturity.

AVC (Additional Voluntary Contribution)

Members of pension schemes can make additional payments into their existing pension scheme (or into a separate special pension arrangement) to supplement the pension benefits they will receive on retirement. These are subject to limits the Revenue Commissioners have set on the level of additional payments individuals can make in any one year.


Someone who sells shares now, expecting the share price to fall in the future so they can buy the shares back later at a lower price.


A person who gives a gift, for example in a will.


Anyone nominated to receive some or all of the benefits payable under a policy.

Bid/Offer Spread

An initial investment charge applying to some unit linked life and pension policies, that refers to the difference between the buying and selling price of a unit on any given day. Where a bid/offer spread exists, the difference is commonly about 5% with the offer price always the higher.

Bid Price

The price that a life office will give for the units if a policyholder of a unit linked policy wishes to cash in all or part of the units allocated to the policy.


A self-employed person or company who can offer their client the products of five or more insurance companies.


Someone who buys shares now, expecting that their value will rise in the future so that they can sell the shares for a profit at a later date.