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A form of whole life insurance under which the death benefit and the cash value of the policy fluctuate according to the investment performance of a separate account fund. Most variable life insurance policies guarantee that the death benefit will not fall below a specified minimum. A minimum cash value is seldom guaranteed. Because the policy owner assumes investment risk under variable life insurance policies, these products are considered securities contracts. In the United States, variable life insurance policies must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and only agents who have passed the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) examination may sell this product. In Canada, variable life insurance policies are considered life insurance contracts, and agents do not need a special license to sell these products. See also investment-sensitive life insurance.

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