FINRA cracks down on Variable Annuities
In the wake of another round of FINRA crackdowns on variable annuity sales, it’s becoming increasingly clear that nobody knows how annuities work: not consumers, who have been tricked into buying products that lock their money into risky investments, and not even the brokers who sell them in the first place. The basic idea of an annuity is simple: you give the company a large pile of money up-front, they make very safe investments, and give it back to you in a slow trickle as you get older. However, as the insurance industry tries to find a way to squeeze larger profits out of their investments and policies, our Marin County variable annuity fraud attorneys have watched as annuities have grown more complicated and spawned increasingly risky and opaque varieties. One branch of these is the variable annuity, the focus of much of the regulatory action in recent months.
Variable Annuity Risks
Variable annuities are exactly what they sound like: under these policies, monthly returns can vary in response to a number of factors, mostly market performance. While this may sound dangerous for retirees counting on a stable income, brokers sell these policies, for which they earn high commissions, as well as prizes and even trips to Pacific islands, by convincing seniors that their returns will go up rather than down.
One particular type of variable annuity that has our Marin County variable annuity fraud attorneys worried is the “L-share,” a type of annuity designed to be held onto for a shorter period than traditional annuities. While the product was supposedly designed with investors in mind, it has made its way to the general public, sometimes with particularly concerning adaptations, such as selling the short-term policies with costly riders that would reward policyholders for not surrendering. Essentially, these policies pit the contract against itself, virtually guaranteeing that the policyholder would suffer needless losses.
Recovering from Annuity Fraud
A fraudulently sold or administered annuity can eviscerate a senior’s savings, and watching their retirement plan get shredded before their eyes can be a very difficult experience. Thankfully, some states, including California, have laws in place to help provide remedies for victims of this type of financial elder abuse.
Some of the major annuity and life insurance providers in California are:
- Aviva/Athene/Accordia Life Insurance Company
- Transamerica Life Insurance Company
- John Hancock Life Insurance Company
- Bankers Life Insurance and Casualty company
- Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
- Midland Life Insurance Company
- North American Company for Life and Health Insurance
- Pacific Life Insurance Company
- Prudential Life Insurance Company
- Genworth Life Insurance Company
- ING USA Annuity and Life Insurance Company
- Lincoln Benefit Life Company
- Metlife/Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
- Unum Life Insurance Company of America
- Voya/Reliastar Life Insurance Company
If you or a loved one has experienced variable annuity fraud in California, contact the Evans Law Firm annuity fraud fraud attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our attorneys have experience with complex financial contracts and large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.