Insurance allows individuals and businesses to manage risk, making it an essential element of free enterprise economies.
Insurance companies make money by charging premiums and collecting investment income, while losses may also be subtracted from total revenue.
Property/casualty covers auto and home insurance; life/annuity covers retirement accounts and healthcare, while health can be obtained through a tied agent who works exclusively for one company or through free agents who sell policies from multiple providers.
Insurance is a contract between an insurer and a policyholder.
Insurance is a contract between an insurer and another party in which one indemnifies them against losses caused by specific contingencies or risks. Most people carry car, home, or health coverage. Insurance companies pool clients’ risks to make the premiums more manageable for individuals. Insurance is integral to financial plans and vital to our economy’s success.
An insurer, commonly called an insurer of record or carrier, is responsible for evaluating risk and accepting or rejecting it through underwriting processes. Once accepted or rejected by this process, pricing policies are calculated using probability and statistics to calculate rates of future claims using probability modeling. Once written, policies are sold through agents or brokers to individuals or businesses. Depending upon their policies, the insured may need to file claims using proprietary forms from them directly. They may also accept standard industry forms (like ACORD forms) for filing claims (such as ACORD forms produced by ACORD).
Insurance is a long-term investment, so the insurer’s financial strength is vital. A financially unstable insurer could suddenly cease operations, leaving its policyholders without coverage. For this reason, many independent agencies rate these insurers to give consumers more information and transparency; some also offer reinsurance, reducing their exposure to significant catastrophic losses.
Insurance is a form of risk management.
Insurance is a form of risk management that involves shifting the financial burden of an unfortunate event to an entity that can afford to bear them. Based on pooling risks in large groups and taking advantage of the law of large numbers, insurers can predict probable losses with reasonable accuracy using risk assessment processes to determine which events to cover and the premium amount charged; policy contracts created from this assessment process specify who is involved and the terms under which insurers will compensate insureds in case of loss.
The insurance industry comprises companies and individuals that develop, sell, administer, and regulate insurance policies. Many insurance companies also offer investment products and act as significant sources of capital for the economy.
United States annual insurance premiums reached $1.4 trillion (net premiums written) in 2021 (net premiums written), broken down into property/casualty insurance covering auto, home, and commercial coverage; life/annuities that include life and retirement provisions; and private health, which is sometimes offered with P/C coverage but can also be bought separately through some insurers. Insurance is sold via agents and brokers – tied agents represent one insurer, while free agents represent multiple.
Insurance is a form of investment.
The global insurance industry is an immense power, employing millions and contributing billions to the economy while offering vital social services and security. Estimates place its total asset coverage over $7 trillion, covering everything from houses and cars to medical bills and life policies.
Insurance businesses specialize in risk management for both customers and insurers alike. Their goal is to collect enough premiums to offset claims and make a profit, and achieve this through “transferring risk,” where smaller policyholders cover significant losses through small monthly premiums; often known as “transferring risk,” it allows individuals and businesses to minimize financial exposure when unexpected events such as property loss, lawsuits, death or business interruption occur.
Brokers provide most insurance purchases through an intermediary known as a broker, who acts on the buyer’s behalf to locate suitable coverage at an affordable cost. Brokers receive compensation from insurance companies; as a result, this may create conflicts of interest – for example, encouraging individuals to purchase higher-priced policies that offer unnecessary coverage.
Insurance is a form of reinsurance.
Insurance is a form of risk management designed to cover losses associated with car accidents, natural disasters, and medical emergencies. Insurers collect premiums to provide this protection for their customers and use those funds to pay claims. If reserves have been set aside for anticipated losses (called reserves), an insurer can still make a profit.
Insurance companies can reduce their exposure to large claims by purchasing reinsurance from other insurance companies. This practice, known as ceding, involves shifting some of the risk associated with insured property or liability from their insured to another party (known as reinsurer or ceding party). In contrast, the remaining risk is assumed by themselves (ceding party and cedent, respectively).
Reinsurance provides insurance companies with a cost-cutting way to reduce risk while making products more affordable for their target markets. Reinsurance also helps meet regulatory requirements and keep adequate capital reserves on hand, with facultative reinsurance purchased directly from an underwriter and treaty reinsurance purchased through an outwards reinsurance manager or senior executive at an insurance company.
Most states mandate that reinsurance transactions be secured with collateral such as trust funds, letters of credit, or funds withheld from insurance companies; furthermore, they are often subject to extensive auditing processes.