Some things are different in the United Kingdom.

For example: what they refer to as “football,” we know as soccer.

You probably knew that.

But did you know that instead of calling their whole insurance products “life insurance,” they use the term “life assurance”?

Recently, I was watching a group of television commercials created by our friends over on the other side of the Atlantic. One of them was about getting affordable rates on “life assurance.”

I wondered if it was just another football/soccer cultural preference in words. Life insurance is the same thing as life assurance.

But it’s not.

Richard Green, a personal finance writer and frequent contributor to the UK Web site Cashzilla points out that there is a distinct difference.

“In general,” Green says, “the term insurance refers to providing cover for an event that mighthappen, while assurance is the provision of cover for an event that is certain to happen.” You can read a more in-depth description by Green here.

The dictionary built in to my word processor defines ‘insure’ as “protect against risk”. When asked to define ‘assure’ the result included, “insure against certainty”.

Those two words certainly don’t mean the same thing.

I am semantically enlightened.

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