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Nominee Meaning in Insurance

Nominees are the people/people group/institution that gets insurance benefits when the insured dies. The term nominee can be applied to individuals, institutions, companies, organizations, associations, trusts, etc.

The main reason why insurance companies prefer nominating a non-family member as the beneficiary is that non-family members are unlikely to have emotional bonds with the insured person and hence are more likely to use the insurance benefits for their benefit. In life insurance policies, nominees come in different types: beneficial, minor, non-family and successive. Each nomination has its specific eligibility criteria. The eligibility criteria vary from policy to policy. When preparing to nominate an insurance policy, remember certain essential factors that will help ensure your success. 

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Who is Nominee in Insurance?

A nominee in insurance is an individual appointed by the policyholder or policy buyer to receive the sum assured (policy benefits) in case of the policyholder's death. Close family members are appointed nominees, such as spouses, children, or parents. 

The policyholder has the right to nominate one or more individuals as nominees. According to the Insurance Act of 1938, any individual the policyholder wishes can be assigned to receive the accrued financial benefits. 

The policyholder can exercise this right when buying a policy or making a nomination. It provides reassurance that the policyholder's family will receive the financial benefit in case of any untoward incident.


Importance of Nominee in Insurance

Regarding insurance policies, it's essential to have a nominee in place. A nominee is a person the policyholder chooses to receive the benefits in case of their death. The nominee can be any spouse, child, or family member. The nomination process is governed by Section 39 of the Insurance Act 1938. 

Having a nominee in place ensures that that person receives the policy's benefits without any legal disputes or delays. With a nominee, the legal heirs can claim and receive the benefits, leading to extended waiting periods and legal disputes regarding who gets the proceeds. Thus, nominating someone to receive the benefits is crucial to ensure the process goes smoothly in case of any unfortunate event.

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Nominee in Life Insurance - Eligibility

When you purchase a life insurance policy, the nominee is the person who will receive the death benefit in the scenario of your untimely demise. In terms of insurance, the nominee must be nominated before maturity, and this person or group of people can be changed multiple times. Ideally, immediate family members such as spouses and children are the most common choices for beneficial nominees. However, friends can also be designated as beneficiaries, but minors require a custodian. 

The nominee must be over 18 to receive the death benefit; otherwise, a trustee or custodian must receive the death benefit on behalf of the minor. Remember that the most recent nomination will always take precedence in the policy, so be sure to update your nomination regularly as your life circumstances change.

Who Is Eligible to Be Your Nominee in Life Insurance?

The following categories of individuals are eligible to be nominated in your life insurance policy:

Legal heirs – Your legal heirs, like children or wife, can be your nominee.

Immediate family members – Your parents, siblings, or family members are suitable to be your nominee. They can receive and hand over your insured sum to the person whose financial future you want to secure.

Extended family members or Friends – You can nominate your cousin, relative or any friend as a nominee. However, you have to take approval of your insurance company to appoint such a nominee.


How Many Types of Nominees Are There?

There are four types of nominees in insurance: general, specific, successive, and contingent. For term insurance policies, there are three types of nominees: beneficial, minor, and changing. Individuals can nominee, but children and spouses are the most common choices; healthy, little, and non-family nominees are available for term insurance plans. Knowing the types of nominees can help you choose a nominee if you have no legal heir. 

With a suitable nominee, you can be sure that the insurance policy's benefits will be passed on to the rightful entities, ensuring financial security and peace of mind.

Beneficial Nominees

When it comes to term insurance planning, understanding the different types of nominees is crucial. One type of nominee is the beneficial nominee.

Beneficial nominees are immediate family members who can become the beneficial owner of a term insurance policy. This means they will have full rights to the policy, including the ability to make changes or receive the payout upon the policyholder's death. Only immediate family members, including spouses, children, and parents, can be appointed beneficial nominees.

Enlisting all immediate family members as beneficial nominees can help avoid family disputes after the policyholder's death. By understanding the eligibility requirements and different types of nominees, individuals can make informed decisions to ensure their families are taken care of in the event of their passing.

Minor Nominees

When it comes to insurance, there are two types of nominees: minor and major nominees. A minor nominee is an individual who meets all but one of the eligibility requirements, while a significant nominee meets all of the eligibility requirements. These requirements include being a citizen or permanent resident, being licensed to do business in the state where they seek the nomination, and being in good standing with their insurance company at the time of their death.

In particular, when it comes to minor nominees, they may not meet one specific requirement, such as being below the age of majority. Overall, it's essential to carefully consider these eligibility requirements to choose the suitable nominee for your insurance policy. 

Non-family Nominees

There are several types of nominees in the insurance industry, including non-family nominees. These nominees have often experienced individuals, such as directors, officers, and employees of the insurer, who have specific knowledge and expertise in the insurance field. Non-family nominees are chosen for their ability to take on responsibilities related to the policy, including handling claims and issuing payouts.

Individuals must meet specific requirements to be eligible to serve as a non-family nominee. These may include having the appropriate financial and professional qualifications and demonstrating ethical behaviour and responsibility history. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that the nominee is well-equipped to handle the responsibilities of being named as a beneficiary in an insurance policy.

Successive Nominees

Regarding insurance, a nominee is an individual or entity designated to receive the benefits under a plan in the event of the policyholder's death. There are four types of nominees: individual, group, association, and corporation. 

A nominee can be any legal entity, including individuals, groups, associations, or corporations. Each nominee type has eligibility requirements to ensure they receive and manage the benefits properly.

One type of nominee that is worth noting is the successive nominee. This is an individual or group that another nominee nominates. There is no pre-defined limit to the number of consecutive nominations a nominee can receive. Still, each nominee must meet the eligibility requirements set forth by the policyholder and the insurer. Overall, it's essential to carefully consider who you choose as your nominee and ensure they meet all needs.

Multiple Nominees

Life insurance policies allow multiple nominees to be designated, each receiving a portion of the death benefit. There is no restriction on who can be a nominee, as individuals such as spouses or children can be named.

Term insurance policies have three types of nominees: Beneficial, Minor, and Changing nominees. One can assign successive nominees if the primary nominee fails to receive the death benefit. Nominees can also be specified to receive a percentage of the death benefit.

One such type of nominee is multiple nominees, where the death benefit is divided among many nominees. This is a common practice in life insurance policies where nominees can be family members or other individuals. Ultimately, it is up to the policyholder to choose and assign the most appropriate nominee for their insurance policy.

How to Elect Nominees in Insurance?

If you hold a life insurance policy, you are entitled to nominate a person to receive the policy benefits in the event of your death. A nominee can be anyone you choose, a family member or a friend. The nomination process is simple and can be done during the policy purchase or after. You must obtain the nominee's basic details, such as name, address, age, and relationship with the policyholder. 

Choosing a reliable and trustworthy nominee who can claim the policy benefits when the time comes is essential. One can appoint more than one nominee, depending upon the requirement. Nomination helps ensure the policy benefits go to the rightful person after the policyholder's death. So, ensure you nominate someone you trust to receive the benefits in case of any eventuality.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the meaning of a nominee in insurance?

A: A nominee in insurance refers to the person appointed by the policyholder who will receive the policy benefits in case of the policyholder's demise. They serve as the point of contact with the insurance company and are responsible for handling the claim settlement process.

Q2: What are the types of nominees?

A: Nominees can be classified based on their relationship with the policyholder. They could be legal heirs such as a spouse or children, immediate family members like parents or siblings, or extended family members and friends. However, the appointment of non-immediate family members or friends typically requires the approval of the insurance company.

Q3: Who is eligible to be a nominee?

A: Generally, any person who is of legal age and sound mind can be a nominee. This can include legal heirs, immediate family members, extended family, or friends. In cases where the nominee is a minor, the policyholder would also need to appoint an appointee who can handle the policy until the nominee comes of age.


It is very beneficial to appoint a nominee in the life insurance policy as it allows you to enjoy tax benefits and legal protection for the family member against financial loss. Nominee insurance does not allow you to claim the insurance plan's help on a family member. However, you must ensure that the nominee understands their rights and obligations under the insurance policy and has all required documents ready before appointing them as the nominee.


Q. How does one change or update a nominee in an existing insurance policy?

A. To change a nominee, the policyholder must submit a formal request to the insurance company. This process involves filling out a nomination change form, which is available from the insurer. The policyholder needs to provide details of the new nominee. Once submitted, the insurance company updates the policy records. It's a straightforward process, ensuring the policyholder's wishes are accurately reflected.

Q. What legal rights and protections do nominees have regarding the claim process, especially in cases where there might be disputes among potential claimants?

A. Nominees are the first point of contact for the insurance company upon the policyholder's demise. Indian law ensures nominees receive the sum assured without delay. However, in case of disputes, the insurance payout may be subject to legal scrutiny. The nominee's rights are protected, but they might have to prove their claim in court if challenged. It's designed to protect the policy benefits from wrongful claims, ensuring they go to the rightful recipient.

Q. How are the benefits distributed if there are multiple nominees, and does the policyholder have the ability to specify different benefit proportions for each nominee?

A. When multiple nominees are listed, the policyholder can specify the proportion of benefits each nominee should receive. This division must be clearly outlined at the time of nomination or through a subsequent update to the policy. If the policyholder does not specify proportions, the insurance company will divide the sum assured equally among all nominees. This provision allows for tailored benefit distribution, reflecting the policyholder's wishes and ensuring fairness among the nominees.