Life insurance is a form of insurance. The original purpose of life insurance is to guarantee the payment of a sum of money (cash or capital) when an event related to the insured person: death or survival. It should nevertheless make a distinction between the insurance in case of death known as "death insurance" that pays the lump sum or annuity for death and insurance in the event of life (also known as life insurance), which pays capital or an annuity in case of life to maturity of the contract (if death before maturity is not due to inheritance). Insurance in the event of a life is rarely used in France.
What is commonly called "life insurance" in France is a double contract of life insurance and insurance in case of life on a single term. This allows to present a virtual product savings with tax benefits of insurance.
Life insurance can also grow money while pursuing a long-term retirement, property investment, etc.. It also offers significant tax advantages in terms of succession.
A life insurance contract must have a fixed-term subscription, renewable or not depending on the extension of contracts every year.
1. The subscriber is one who is committed to the insurer by payment of the premium (single or overlapped) and the signature of the insurance policy, he has the right to choose the beneficiaries of the annuity or the capital in case of death of the insured;
2. The insured is the person behind the risk (death), it must be made for insurance for death, he is completing the medical questionnaire as appropriate;
3. The beneficiary if the life underwriter is usually the beneficiary, in case of death the beneficiary is one who has been designated by the subscriber. It may be directly appointed (full name) or indirectly (the spouse, children, etc.). But a clause out of the contract is valid (in a will or filed with the notary by deed). The beneficiary can be both the insured and the same subscriber,
4. The insurer.
There are two types of contract:
* The contracts in euros;
* The contracts cross, which include both a fund in euros and unit of account.
Monies paid into a euro, like those placed on the funds in euro to a cross, are guaranteed by the insurer: they can not drop and are adjusted each year of interest, participation in profits (sometimes consisting of a guaranteed minimum rate known in advance and a floating rate known at the end of the year). In return for this security, earnings are generally limited.
The units of account available on contracts can be cross-financial assets of all types (most of the funds in equities or bonds). It is the insurer that determines the units of account for each proposed contract. The sums invested in units of account are not guaranteed and therefore present a risk to the underwriter.
There is a new type of life insurance contracts multimedia in recent years: contracts backed SRI funds. They propose to invest in companies that meet the criteria of sustainable development. The proposed UC are managed according to social, economic, environmental and financial.
The subscriber can choose between several modes of management contracts in the proposed multimedia:
* Profiled management: the subscriber leaves the financial experts to choose the values and the distribution of assets (stocks, bonds, etc..) According to the profile that was determined, the more cautious more dynamic;
* The management free to the subscriber chooses the funds on which it will invest;
* The management horizon or controlled the allocation between asset classes is in a pattern depending on the age of policyholder, very risky at the beginning and then more and more security when the contract expires.
Most contracts offered on the market are known groups: the insured is represented to the insurer by an insured. Any change in the contract is done by negotiation between the insurer and the association. In contrast, individual contracts are concluded directly between the insurer and the underwriter, and any change in the contract can not therefore requires the prior consent of the subscriber.
Although an individual is no longer safe for the subscriber, it also increases the risk that the insurer waives his regular upgrade (addition of new investment, new services, lower fees, etc.).
The costs that normally found in a life insurance contract are often expressed as a percentage of the amounts invested and may be:
* Costs of entry (or expenses), paid only once at the time of disbursement of funds;
* A management fee, paid annually on the sums into account;
* The costs of arbitration paid in case of change of media investment in a cross.
In France, the emergence of brokers and online banks has led to the introduction of reduced-cost contracts, often with the abolition of entrance fees and management costs a little more moderate (about 1 % per year).
Attention, in addition to management fees in the life insurance contract, the customer is also liable for the cost of managing the investment fund from among the contract (and transaction costs of these funds ). In total, of about 3.5% of annual fees that are collected by the financial industry to the detriment of the client.
Life insurance contracts unclaimed
In most cases, the search for the beneficiary of a life insurance contract is no problem. Indeed, for 80% of the contracts is that the subscriber perceives itself capital or an annuity.
And for the remaining contracts, the beneficiaries are over 80% of the spouse or children of the insured, which rules out, in almost all cases, a research problem of beneficiaries.
Where the insurer may encounter some difficulties to identify the beneficiary remain extremely rare. It is generally atypical of beneficiaries (someone outside the family or a legal person, for example).
The sum of these life insurance contracts unclaimed reached 700 million, according to the latest surveys of the French Federation of Insurance Companies (FFSA). This represents 0.06% of total outstanding life insurance (which reached nearly 1 200 million).
Since March 2009, insurers can view the file INSEE on individuals to facilitate their research and learn the possible death of the insured.
Meanwhile, people who believe they are beneficiaries of a life insurance contract may apply, since 1 May 2006, at the Agira (Association for Information Management in the risk insurance). The agency responsible for centralizing the applications, has identified 4 301 contracts of life insurance for an amount of 334 million euros.
The amount of life insurance contracts, life has gradually affected the reserve fund pensions.