Annual or other periodic rate of return on investments. Because life insurance companies act as custodians of premiums for many years, until money must be paid out in death benefits or other types of claims, they invest it to achieve a yield adequate to meet these obligations. Yield is also important to the policy owner of life policies that include a specific investment element. For example, some annuities and cash value life insurance policies pay a yield that approximates the market rate the policyholder could get elsewhere. While other contracts, such as a variable annuity and variable life insurance do not guarantee a specified yield, they pay one based on the performance of the underlying investments.