Editor's note: The U.S. Supreme Court has ducked a major ruling on a challenge by religious employers to an Affordable Care Act mandate to provide female workers health insurance that covers birth control. Our earlier update stated the top court ruled in favor of the employers, but we've corrected the update to say the cases were sent back to lower courts for further proceedings. The justices ruled unanimously to send the cases back to federal appeals courts, where all but one of four courts upheld the mandate, according to USA Today. - Rebecca
Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. It is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss.
An entity which provides insurance is known as an insurer, insurance company, or insurance carrier. A person or entity who buys insurance is known as an insured or policyholder. The insurance 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 the insured in the event of a covered loss. The loss may or may not be financial, but it must be reducible to financial terms, and must involve something in which the insured has an insurable interest established by ownership, possession, or preexisting relationship. The insured receives a contract, called the insurance policy, which details the conditions and circumstances under which the insured will be financially compensated. The amount of money charged by the insurer to the insured for the coverage set forth in the insurance policy is called the premium. If the insured experiences a loss which is potentially covered by the insurance policy, the insured submits a claim to the insurer for processing by a claims adjuster.