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Clients of an insurance company pay regular fees to an insurance company. From the perspective of the accounting of the insurance company, what is the correct or best term for the fees that are due for collection in the upcoming collection cycle as in

Here's a list of all the ... that are due to be collected on 1 June.

Terms I came up with by querying dictionaries and Google are:

  • debt claim
  • outstanding money
  • amount receivable
  • premium receivable

The last one is my personal favorite but as I'm not an English native speaker and never received any training in accounting and/or insurance business I'm just not sure at all which term is actually commonly used and not sound kind of odd to a native speaker.

Also, what is the correct plural form? Premiums receivable or premium receivables?

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  • I would say this question belong on Stack Exchange - Money. It is not really about the English language but about naming financial terms.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 28, 2018 at 16:07
  • Fair enough. Didn't know about SE-Money. Thanks for the hint and sorry for being off-topic. Mar 28, 2018 at 16:09
  • No apology needed. Glad to be of help.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 28, 2018 at 16:12

1 Answer 1

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In a finance context, the word "receivable" is often used to mean assets arising from regular payments such as insurance premium payments, or rental income, or income from leasing of any kind. See the Oxford English Dictionary definition:

B. (in plural)... (short-term) debts owed to a business, especially those regarded as assets.

The risk of using the word 'premium' is that as an adjective it means 'high-quality' which risks confusing the reader, who might not immediately realise that an insurance premium is what the word refers to rather than to the 'quality' of the receivables (compare the use of the terms 'prime' and 'sub-prime' in other financial contexts).

I would opt for '[insurance] policy receivables' (i.e. receivables arising from an insurance policy) or 'customer payment receivables' or something along those lines to avoid the confusion using the word 'premium'.

As "receivables" is almost always used in the plural as a noun, the only question is whether the word preceding it needs to be pluralised as well; I would suggest no as it's an adjective rather than a noun (compare 'courts martial' which follows this pattern, with the irregular adjectival placement being an archaism), describing the receivables rather than the individual policies.

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  • If the term is in the context of insurance (e.g. in a formal document within insurance industry) then the usage of the word "premium" is definitely preferred and won't be misunderstood.
    – Ister
    Oct 30, 2019 at 11:14

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