Property & Casualty Insurance Lingo

The Property and Casualty (P&C) insurance industry is a vast segment of the insurance industry, and there are numerous terms used in it. The following list was made to explain common terminology used in Personal and Commercial Property and Casualty insurance:


Property Insurance: It covers any physical item that could suffer a loss. Examples: your home, your car, your office building, your jewelry, your copier/printer, etc. 


Casualty Insurance: Any situation where you might be liable for harming someone or someone's property. It is a cover-all term for liability insurance coverages. 


Deductible: Also known as a Retention. The Deductible is the amount the insured must pay in order to have the rest of the claim covered. 


Exposure: As in, exposure to loss. Some businesses have exposures that require specialty insurance. Example: The Exposures of an amusement park are harder to cover than a bakery’s.


Peril: A cause of loss. Examples of Perils: Fire, Wind, Hail.


Risk: The possibility of a loss. Example: Contractors have more risk than an ice cream parlor.


Hazard: Something that increases risk; something that increases the chances of a loss. Example: Wet floors in a grocery store, cracked pavement in a parking lot.


Inception Date: Also known as the Effective Date. The day and time when your policy starts to cover you.


Expiration Date: Also known as Ex-Date. The day and time when your policy stops covering you.


Coverage: A single line of insurance. Property coverage is a single line of insurance. A Homeowner’s policy has multiple coverages.


Package policy: A Package policy combines two or more coverages into a single policy, where you pay one premium and the coverage all have the same Inception. A Homeowner’s policy is a package policy, as it has property and personal liability coverages.


Personal Lines: These are the coverages that deal with the risk of the average consumer. These products are far simpler than Commercial Lines, and the products are fairly consistent between insurance companies.


Commercial Lines: These are the coverages that deal with the risk of businesses and organizations. The products in Commercial Lines vary greatly between insurance companies, and the total number of products available is vast.


Standard Insurer: An insurance company that has products for the general public. The products are broad with competitive prices, with the goal of gaining market share.


Surplus Lines: An insurance company that has products for special exposures (such as a bad claim history). These companies specialize in writing high-risk exposures. The products are non-standard, meaning that the policy wording will be less broad, and the premium will be higher.


Assigned Risk Worker’s Compensation: Also known as ‘the pool’. Assigned Risk is for companies that have a bad Workers’ Comp claim history and/or companies that are in a high-loss industry. Being similar to Surplus Lines, the premium you pay with Assigned Risk will be far greater than a Standard Insurer.