A spread is the difference between the actual earnings on some investment contracts offered by insurance companies, such as traditional GICs or general account stable value investment options, and the crediting rate that is declared and guaranteed by the insurance company for a given period. While there is no certainty an insurance company will earn a targeted spread, the anticipated spread is used to compensate the insurer for risk charges, capital charges allocated by regulators, and other expenses. An issuer attempts to earn a spread using assumptions based on many factors such as the magnitude and timing of deposits, participant cash flows, investment performance, rate environment, and potential credit impairments. (See also guaranteed insurance account.)