In law and economics, insurance is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for payment. An insurer is a company selling the insurance; an insured, or policyholder, is the person or entity buying the insurance policy. The insurance rate is a factor used to determine the amount to be charged for a certain amount of insurance coverage, called the premium. Risk management, the practice of appraising and controlling risk, has evolved as a discrete field of study and practice.
The transaction involves the insured assuming a guaranteed and known relatively small loss in the form of payment to the insurer in exchange for the insurer's promise to compensate (indemnify) the insured in the case of a financial (personal) loss. The insured receives a contract, called the insurance policy, which details the conditions and circumstances under which the insured will be financially compensated.
Group insurance is an insurance that covers a group of people, usually who are the members of societies, employees of a common employer, or professionals in a common group.
Group coverage can help reduce the problem of adverse selection by creating a pool of people eligible to purchase insurance who belong to the group for reasons other than for the purposes of obtaining insurance. In other words, people belong to the group not because they possess some high-risk factor which makes them more apt to purchase insurance (thus increasing adverse selection); instead they are in the group for reasons unrelated to insurance, such as all working for a particular employer.
A feature which is sometimes common in group insurance is that the premium cost on an individual basis may not be risk-based. Instead it is the same amount for all the insured persons in the group. So, for example, in the United States, often all employees of an employer receiving health insurance coverage pay the same premium amount for the same coverage regardless of their age or other factors. In contrast, under private individual health insurance coverage in the U.S., different insured persons will pay different premium amounts for the same coverage based on their age, location, pre-existing conditions, etc.
Another distinctive feature is that under group coverage, a member of the group is generally eligible to purchase or renew coverage all whilst he or she is a member of the group subject to certain conditions. Again, using U.S. health coverage as an example, under group insurance a person will normally remain covered as long as he or she continues to work for a certain employer and pays the required insurance premiums, whereas under individual coverage, the insurance company often has the right to non-renew a person's individual health insurance policy when the policy is up for renewal, which it may do if the person's risk profile changes (though some states limit the insurance company's ability to non-renew after the person has been under individual coverage with a given company for a certain number of years).
In Canada group insurance is usually purchased through larger brokerage firms such as PACE Consulting because brokers receive better rates than individual companies or unions.
In its broadest sense, "no-fault insurance" is a term used to describe any type of insurance contract under which insureds are indemnified for losses by their own insurance company, regardless of fault in the incident generating losses. In this sense, it is no different from first-party coverage. However, the term no-fault is most commonly used in the context of state/provincial automobile insurance laws in the United States, Canada, and Australia, in which a policyholder (and his/her passengers) are not only reimbursed by the policyholder's own insurance company without proof of fault, but also restricted in the right to seek recovery through the civil-justice system for losses caused by other parties