U

unit-linked

A type of long-term savings plan where premiums are used to buy units in an investment fund, such as a unit trust. The assets in the fund can be a mix of stocks, shares, bonds, property or other securities. The value of the units and the return from them can fluctuate in line with the investment performance of the assets in the fund, and there is no guarantee on the amount of capital that will be returned.

unitised with-profit

A unitised investment contract where the unit price increases daily in line with a declared bonus rate. The unit price is guaranteed not to fall (and may even be guaranteed to grow at a particular rate) and therefore the unit price is not directly related to the value of the assets in the fund.

unearned premiums

Premiums received by an insurer relating to cover provided outside the current accounting period. Such premiums are not normally treated as income until they have been "earned" during the period to which they relate.

underwriting profit

The difference between insurance premiums earned and claims and expenses paid over a given period. If premiums are the higher figure, there is an underwriting profit; if they are lower, there is an underwriting loss. Underwriting profit excludes investment income, so is a commonly used method of evaluating the performance of a general insurance company.

underwriting

The process of selecting which risks an insurance company can cover, and deciding the premiums and terms of acceptance. On the stock exchange, an arrangement by which a company is guaranteed that an issue of shares will raise a given amount of money, because the underwriters promise to buy any of the issue not taken up by the public.

underwriter

Someone willing to assume an insurance risk in exchange for payment of a premium. The term derives from the practice of the person who accepted the risk signing their name under the amount they insured (thereby entering into a contract).

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