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What is Stop Loss Insurance?

What is Stop Loss Insurance?

Stop-loss insurance (also known as excess insurance) is a product that provides protection against catastrophic or unpredictable losses. It is purchased by employers who have decided to self-fund their employee benefit plans, but do not want to assume 100% of the liability for losses arising from the plans. Under a stop-loss policy, the insurance company becomes liable for losses that exceed certain limits called deductibles. There are two types of self-funded insurance:


  • Specific Stop-Loss is the form of excess risk coverage that provides protection for the employer against a high claim on any one individual. This is protection against abnormal severity of a single claim rather than abnormal frequency of claims in total. Specific stop-loss is also known as individual stop-loss.

  • Aggregate Stop-Loss provides a ceiling on the dollar amount of eligible expenses that an employer would pay, in total, during a contract period. The carrier reimburses the employer after the end of the contract period for aggregate claims.


A number of variations are available for each of these two products.

Generally, all but the largest employers will want to protect their plan with both specific and aggregate stop-loss coverage. Occasionally, circumstances may be such that specific stop-loss by itself will fulfill the employer’s need for protection.

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