An insurance policy that pays a specified amount of money on the death of the life assured or, in the case of an endowment assurance policy, on the death of the life assured or at the end of an agreed period, whichever is the earlier. Life assurance grew from a humble means of providing funeral expenses to a means of saving for oneself or one's dependants, with certain tax advantages. With-profits policies provide sums of money in excess of the sum assured by the addition of bonuses. Unit-linked policies invest the premiums in funds of assets, by means of buying units in the funds. See also whole (of) life policy.