Endowments are the conditions in which the accumulated cash value of the policy equals the death benefit at a given age. The age at which this condition is reached is known as the endowment age. Endowments are considerably more expensive (in terms of annual premiums) than whole life or universal life because the period of payment of the premium is shortened and the founding date is earlier.
In the United States, the Technical Corrections Act of 1988 tightened the rules on tax havens (creating modified endowments). These follow tax rules in the same manner as annuities and IRAs.
Endowment is paid if the insured lives or dies, after a specific period (e.g. 15 years) or a specific age (e.g. 65).