DEFINITION of 'Variable Survivorship Life Insurance'

A type of variable life insurance policy that covers two individuals and pays a death benefit to a beneficiary, only after both people have died. Variable Survivorship Life Insurance does not pay any benefit when the first policyholder dies.


Variable survivorship life insurance is also called "survivorship variable life insurance" or "last survivor life insurance."

BREAKING DOWN 'Variable Survivorship Life Insurance'

Like any variable life policy, variable survivorship life insurance has a cash value component in which a portion of each premium payment is set aside to be invested by the policyholder, who bears all investment risk. The insurer selects several dozen investment options from which the policyholder may choose. The other portion of the premium goes toward administrative expenses and the policy's death benefit (also called face value). This type of policy is legally considered a security, because of its investment component, and is subject to regulation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.


A more flexible version of variable survivorship life insurance called "variable universal survivorship life insurance" allows the policyholder to adjust the policy's premiums and death benefit during the policy's life.

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