Group insurance differs from individual insurance in several respects. A distinctive characteristic is the coverage of many persons under one contact. A master contract is formed between the insurer and the group policy owner for the benefit of the individual members. In most plans, the group policy owner is the employer. Employees receive a certificate of insurance that shows they are insured. A second characteristic is that group insurance usually costs less that comparable insurance purchased individually. Employers usually pay part or all of the cost, which reduces or eliminates premium payments by the employees. In addition, administrative and marketing expenses are reduced as a result of mass distribution methods. Another characteristic is that individual evidence of insurability is usually not required. Group selection of risks is used, not individual selection. The insurer is concerned with the insurability of the group as a whole rather with the insurability of the single member within the group.
Finally, experience rating is used in group insurance plans. If the group is sufficiently large, the actual loss experience of the group is a major factor in determining the premiums charged.