Definitions of Insurance and Related Information

GAO-06-424R: Published: Feb 23, 2006. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 2006.

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Orice M. Williams
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Office of Public Affairs
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This letter concerns a variety of issues related to identifying a universal definition of insurance and the challenges associated with doing so. We briefed congressional staff on the preliminary results of our work on June 24, 2005, and on our final results on November 29, 2005. Specifically, we provided information on (1) the elements that are commonly part of definitions of insurance, (2) a few products not universally defined as insurance or regulated across the states by their insurance departments, (3) possible regulatory implications of developing separate definitions for insurance products covering insurance risks in more than one category, (4) current developments in statutory and financial accounting communities in re-evaluating their guidelines for measuring risk transfer in reinsurance contracts, and (5) certain circumstances when finite risk contracts are used.

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