Policy reserves - Risk management

“Policy reserves become especially important for whole life policies. With a whole life policy, the insurance company specifies an age at which the policy’s face value will be paid as an endowment to the policy owner if the insured person has not died by that time. The insurance company must accumulate reserves during the life of the policy to be able to make that payment. The policy reserve can be defined as follows: Policy reserve = Present value of future benefits – Present value of future net premiums.”

Why do insurers have to pay the face value if insured doesn’t die? Don’t they just get to keep the premiums without paying a benefit (except for cash value)?

Whole life is specifically priced for death before a certain top age (used to be 100 back in the day) and for survival to that top age. Either way, there is a payout of the face amount to the beneficiary.

Some companies do sell term insurance to 100, so if you make it to 100, there is no payout. This has caused problems when policy lapses came in much lower than expected.

I see, so the face value is paid if the insured survives the specified age in the whole life policy. Thank you!