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Insurance companies make money on the return of premium (ROP) policies through a strategic combination of investment, risk management, and actuarial science.

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These policies are a unique twist on traditional insurance, offering a refund of premiums if the policyholder survives the policy term.

It can be advantageous for the insurer and the policyholder to use this option to protect their family’s or estate’s financial needs. Here is a look at how it can be profitable for the provider to offer this opportunity.

Step #1: Premium Collection

Insurance companies generate revenue primarily by collecting premiums from policyholders. With ROP policies, they collect monthly, quarterly, or annual payments like any other policy. This steady stream of income forms the foundation of profitability.

Step #2: Investment Income

Once insurers have the premiums, they can invest the funds instead of letting them sit idle. These companies use the payments from ROP policies to put money into relatively safe transactions like stocks and bonds. Some will include real estate or mutual funds.

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As time passes, these investments generate a positive return, adding to the insurance company’s overall income.

Interest rate management is a vital component of this step. When interest rates are high, the returns on their investments increase, boosting profitability.

Step #3: Actuarial Calculations

This step plays a crucial role in determining the pricing and profitability of an ROP policy. It is a complex mathematical model that assesses the likelihood of the policyholder surviving the agreed-upon term.

Insurance companies can set premiums at a level that ensures profitability by accurately predicting the number of policyholders who won’t receive a refund.

Step #4: Risk Management Work

Insurers are experts in risk management. They diversify their portfolios across various insurance products, including ROP policies. This work reduces the impact of many policyholders claiming refunds by spreading the various risk factors across different customer “pools.

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Step #5: Cross-Selling

Insurance companies often upsell or cross-sell other financial products, such as annuities and retirement plans, to ROP policyholders. These additional products generate additional revenue for the business.

A more extensive customer base becomes developable when combined with effective marketing and sales strategies.

Large insurance companies benefit from economies of scale. They can spread their operational and administrative costs across many policies, making each more profitable.

Step #6: Policy Lapses

Not all policyholders will keep their ROP policies until the end of the term. Some may cancel their policies before the refund period, which means the company doesn’t have to return the premiums for those who don’t maintain their agreement until the refund is activated.

Insurance companies make money on ROP policies in several ways. There is some risk, as there is with any business. By understanding what is needed to maintain profits, it is possible to structure a plan that benefits everyone by balancing the individual and corporate risk factors.


Meet Aaron H., a senior life insurance agent from California with 15+ years of experience. With a major in finance, excellent analytical and communication skills, and a passion for helping clients find personalized solutions, Aaron is a trusted advisor in the industry. He stays up-to-date on the latest trends and developments by attending webinars and workshops, reading industry blogs, and writing informative blog posts on this website. Aaron also has a keen understanding of SEO and online marketing, which he uses to help his clients reach a wider audience and get the coverage they need. He cherishes spending quality time with his wife, two children, and elder parents.