Social insurance can be many things to many people in many countries. But a summary of its essence is that it is a collection of insurance coverages (including components of life insurance, disability income insurance, unemployment insurance, health insurance, and others), plus retirement savings, that requires participation by all citizens. By forcing everyone in society to be a policyholder and pay premiums, it ensures that everyone can become a claimant when or if he/she needs to. Along the way, this inevitably becomes related to other concepts such as the justice system and the welfare state. This is a large, complicated topic that engenders tremendous debate, which can be further studied in the following articles (and others):
^ Anzovin, Steven, Famous First Facts 2000, item # 2422, H. W. Wilson Company, ISBN 0-8242-0958-3 p. 121 The first life insurance company known of record was founded in 1706 by the Bishop of Oxford and the financier Thomas Allen in London, England. The company, called the Amicable Society for a Perpetual Assurance Office, collected annual premiums from policyholders and paid the nominees of deceased members from a common fund.
While not as highly rated in the Apple App Store as apps from Farmers and Allstate, users note that State Farm’s 4.2-star app doesn’t have significant issues with functionality. You’ll be able to view your policy, request roadside assistance, and file a claim. You won’t find more personalized features like Allstate’s QuickFoto capability, but this more basic functionality means that it offers a more straightforward experience for anyone who isn’t particularly mobile-inclined.
Affordable premium: If the likelihood of an insured event is so high, or the cost of the event so large, that the resulting premium is large relative to the amount of protection offered, then it is not likely that the insurance will be purchased, even if on offer. Furthermore, as the accounting profession formally recognizes in financial accounting standards, the premium cannot be so large that there is not a reasonable chance of a significant loss to the insurer. If there is no such chance of loss, then the transaction may have the form of insurance, but not the substance (see the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board pronouncement number 113: "Accounting and Reporting for Reinsurance of Short-Duration and Long-Duration Contracts").
In the United States, the tax on interest income on life insurance policies and annuities is generally deferred. However, in some cases the benefit derived from tax deferral may be offset by a low return. This depends upon the insuring company, the type of policy and other variables (mortality, market return, etc.). Moreover, other income tax saving vehicles (e.g., IRAs, 401(k) plans, Roth IRAs) may be better alternatives for value accumulation.
Defense Base Act (DBA) insurance provides coverage for civilian workers hired by the government to perform contracts outside the United States and Canada. DBA is required for all U.S. citizens, U.S. residents, U.S. Green Card holders, and all employees or subcontractors hired on overseas government contracts. Depending on the country, foreign nationals must also be covered under DBA. This coverage typically includes expenses related to medical treatment and loss of wages, as well as disability and death benefits.
Progressive’s app has 3.4 stars in the Apple App Store and has the same functions as most other providers’ apps: You can report a claim, pay your bills, view your policy, get in touch with an agent, and request roadside assistance. However, out of over 600 current ratings, many users complain that the app is buggy and isn’t easy to use. If mobile access is important to you, Progressive may make a stressful process even more frustrating.
Annuities provide a stream of payments and are generally classified as insurance because they are issued by insurance companies, are regulated as insurance, and require the same kinds of actuarial and investment management expertise that life insurance requires. Annuities and pensions that pay a benefit for life are sometimes regarded as insurance against the possibility that a retiree will outlive his or her financial resources. In that sense, they are the complement of life insurance and, from an underwriting perspective, are the mirror image of life insurance.
Though Safeco’s app boasts a high 4.7 rating with over 5,000 ratings in the Apple App Store and an average 4.1 rating in Google Play, the reviews tell a different story. The most common complaint is that the app simply redirects you to the Safeco website, which is poorly formatted for mobile use. Many reviews also report that the app routinely crashes, which frustrated customers enough that they deleted the app and used their computers to access the Safeco website. The company has responded to say that it is actively working on improving functionality and adding offline features, but in the meantime, it’s likely that using the app is a frustrating experience.
Choosing the lowest price/inadequate coverage. The lowest prices will typically leave you vulnerable on the back end; should an accident or collision occur, your lower premium will require you to spend much more out of pocket. The same goes for inadequate coverage. Specifically, don’t cut corners when it comes to liability coverage; instead, shop around for the provider that will protect you most while also catering to your needs, lifestyle, and budget.
In managing the claims handling function, insurers seek to balance the elements of customer satisfaction, administrative handling expenses, and claims overpayment leakages. As part of this balancing act, fraudulent insurance practices are a major business risk that must be managed and overcome. Disputes between insurers and insureds over the validity of claims or claims handling practices occasionally escalate into litigation (see insurance bad faith).
Let's use the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy as an example to illustrate the differences between collision and comprehensive. Within that storm, let's consider two events that might have happened: 1) a heavy tree branch fell on your car, or 2) you swerved to avoid a falling tree branch and wound up crashing into a tree. In the first event, you had no control over when or why a tree branch would fall on your car. This kind of accident would get reimbursed under your comprehensive policy. In the second situation, you were driving the car and ultimately swerved into the tree, which makes it a collision, and collision insurance therefore pays for the damages. Events like the hypothetical ones stated above are why it's important to differentiate between the two types of coverage.