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Difference Between Nomination And Assignment In Life Insurance

Multiple terms in insurance are necessary to be understood before someone buys a life insurance policy. Likewise, understanding the key difference between nomination and assignment is essential for policyholders to maximize the benefits of their life insurance plans while ensuring financial security for their loved ones. Let’s discuss assignment vs nomination in detail here.

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What Is Nomination In Life Insurance?

A nominee is a person chosen by the policyholder to receive the benefits of the life or term insurance policy if he/she unfortunately passes away. Your nominee can be a spouse, parent, child or sibling. When buying a policy, it's important to provide a nominee's name and correct details to ensure the benefits go to the right person.

Types Of Nominees In Life Insurance

Here are the different types of nominees in life insurance:

  • Beneficial Nominees:

    By law, only immediate family members like spouses, children, or parents nominated by the policyholder can receive the financial benefits and become the rightful owners of the death claim benefits. Knowing that only immediate family members can be called Beneficial Nominees is essential.

  • Minor Nominees:

    Many people name their children as beneficiaries in their life insurance policies. However, if the nominee is a minor (under 18 years old), they cannot manage claim amounts. In such cases, the policyholder must appoint an appointee or custodian. The claim amount is then paid to the appointee until the minor reaches 18.

  • Non-family Nominees:

    These nominees can be distant relatives or even friends designated as beneficiaries of the life insurance policy. Usually, non-family nominees aren’t allowed to be the direct beneficiary of the death claim benefit.

  • Changing Nominees:

    Policyholders can change their nominees whenever needed, but the latest nominee should replace all previous ones.

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What Is Assignment In Life Insurance?

Policy assignment refers to transferring the rights, title, and ownership of the life insurance policy from the policyholder to another person or entity. The person transferring the policy is called the assignor, while the recipient is called the assignee. This transfer is governed by Section 38 of the Insurance Act, 1938.

Types Of Assignment In Life Insurance

Here are the different types of assignments in life insurance:

  • Absolute Assignment:

    Absolute Assignment involves transferring all rights, title, and interest in the policy from the assignor to the assignee permanently, without any conditions. This assignment typically occurs for reasons like obtaining a loan or showing affection towards family members.

  • Conditional Assignment:

    Conditional Assignment means that the transfer of rights occurs from the assignor to the assignee only if certain conditions are met. If these conditions are fulfilled, then the policy is transferred accordingly.

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What Is The Difference Between Nomination And Assignment?

Here are the differences between nomination and assignment:

Parameters Nomination Assignment
Source You need to mention the names of the nominees. You need to endorse the contract policy.
Ownership of Policy Ownership of a life insurance policy does not change under nomination, and it continues with the life assured. Assignment involves transferring ownership/rights from the assignor (policyholder) to the assignee (entity).
Purpose Nomination allows the nominee to avail claim benefits in case of the unfortunate death of the policyholder. The policyholder will transfer all rights/ownership of the life insurance policy to another person.
Consideration Nomination does not support any consideration. The assignment may/may not support any consideration.
Witness A witness is not necessary for nomination. Without a witness, the assignment is considered invalid.
Right to Sue The nominee cannot sue the life assured of the policy. The assignee has all rights to sue the assignor of the life insurance policy.
Life Cover The nominee is entitled to claim benefits in case of the policyholder's unfortunate death. The assignee is entitled to receive the policy amount/life cover.

What Are Some Points To Consider About Nomination And Assignment In Insurance?

Here are some points that you must keep in mind about nomination and assignment in life insurance:

  • When the policyholder and the insured person are the same, they can nominate someone to receive the claim benefits. However, if they are different, only the policyholder can receive the benefits.

  • Nominees cannot make changes to the policy.

  • You can have more than one nominee listed in your policy.

  • If the first nominee passes away, the benefits go to the next nominee listed, and so on.

  • With assignment, only the ownership of the policy changes, not the risk. The insured person remains the same.

  • If the policy is assigned to the insurance company for a loan, the nomination may be cancelled.

  • Assignment applies to all insurance plans except Pension Plans and policies under the Married Women's Property Act (MWP).

  • The assignment is done by endorsing the policy contract.

Wrapping It Up!

Understanding the difference between nomination and assignment in insurance is crucial for policyholders when buying life insurance. While nomination safeguards the interests of both the insured and the insurer by ensuring the rightful recipient of claim benefits, assignment serves to protect the assignee's interests in receiving financial benefits. By being aware about these aspects, policyholders can make informed decisions that align with their financial goals and ensure the effective management of their life insurance policies.


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