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life insurance


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A contract providing funds on death or at a certain age. A life insurance (or assurance) policy is a contract whereby, in return for lump-sum or regular premiums, the company provides an agreed sum to the policy-holder's estate in the event of death before some agreed date, or to the policy-holder upon survival to this date. Life policies may be ‘without profits’, that is, for a fixed sum of money, or ‘with profits’, in which case the sum paid out reflects the profits the insurance company has been able to make by investing the premiums. Life insurance policies can also be arranged to provide the policy-holder with an annuity income after retirement, and make provision for surviving spouses or other dependants. See also with-profits life insurance.

Subjects: Economics.


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