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Jan 4, 2019 by |

Alameda County and California Annuity and Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys: What You need to Know About Annuity Fraud on Seniors

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Fraud Up as Annuity Sales Increase

Unsuitable Products and Churning

Annuity sales are up and so are cases of fraud, especially on seniors. The fraud on seniors varies but typically involves either the sale of unsuitable products or unlawful “churning,” where agents convince annuity owners to trade one policy for another.  Both new sales and exchanges of existing policies generate sales commissions.  Exchanges also mean surrender penalties on the old contract and can include a tax liability depending on how the exchange is structured.  The Alameda County and California financial elder abuse and annuity attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent seniors who lose money on churning or any other kind of agent fraud.  If you are over 60 and live in Alameda County or elsewhere in California and have lost money on any surrender, cancellation or exchange, call our lawyers today at 415-441-8669.  A list of major annuity distributors and carriers in California appears below.

Annuities come in all shapes and sizes — fixed rate, variable rate, immediate annuities and deferred income annuities.  Whatever the type, the principle is the same: the policyholder pays a large sum of nonrefundable cash upfront or in periodic payments in exchange for a promise of income in the future. Unlike bank deposits, the premiums are not insured by any government agency so the repayment obligation is only as good as the carrier’s word. If you need to withdraw money you will pay a surrender penalty while your policy is in the “surrender period,” which can last up to 15 years in some contracts.  In one recently reported case,[1] an elderly couple paid over $19,000 in surrender charges when their agent convinced them to trade two annuities they were sold a few years earlier for $130,000.  That’s almost a 15% loss without even considering commissions and other fees.  The agent never explained the penalties and fees they would incur.

Our lawyers litigate on behalf of such senior policyowners who have lost money on these complex, expensive, and illiquid products. We advise against them.  If you are considering a purchase be sure to consult a professional with nothing to gain from your purchase and always consult your tax advisor.  Withdrawals always have tax consequences and the money you take out may incur taxes at ordinary rates.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has suffered loss on a fixed indexed annuity or any other annuity in California, contact Alameda County and California annuity and financial elder abuse attorney Ingrid M. Evans and the other attorneys at Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>. 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.

Annuities and life insurance produce large sales commissions for brokers but are often inappropriate products for consumers, especially seniors. Leading providers and distributors of life insurance and fixed, variable and fixed indexed deferred annuities in California are listed below.  We are not in any way suggesting that any of these carriers or distributors has done anything wrong.  Rather, the list is provided solely as a reference for our readers.

AIG/American General Life Insurance Company

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America

American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company

American General Life Insurance Company/AIG

American National Life Insurance Company

Ameriprise Financial/RiverSource Life Insurance Company

Ameriprise Financial/Securities America, Inc.

Athene Annuity & life Assurance Company

Athene Annuity and Life Company

Athene USA

Aviva Life Insurance Company

AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company/AXA US

Bankers Life Insurance and Casualty Company

Brighthouse Financial, Inc./MetLife

Citigroup Global Markets, Inc.

Crump Life Insurance Services, Inc.

CUNA Mutual Group/CMFG Life Insurance Company

EquiTrust Life Insurance Company

Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company

Forethought Life Insurance Company/Global Atlantic Financial Group

Genworth Financial, Inc.

Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Company

Genworth Life Insurance Company

Global Atlantic Financial Group/Forethought Life Insurance Company

Guardian Life Insurance Company

Guggenheim Partners/Security Benefit Life Insurance Company

ING USA Annuity and Life Insurance Company

Jackson National Life Insurance Company

John Hancock Life Insurance Company

Lincoln Benefit Life Company

Lincoln Financial Group

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company

Merrill Lynch Life Agency Inc.

Metlife/Metropolitan Life Insurance Company/Brighthouse Financial, Inc.

Minnesota Life Insurance Company

National Western Life Insurance Company

Nationwide Life Insurance Company

New York Life Insurance Company

North American Company for Life and Health Insurance

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company

Oxford Life Insurance Company

Pacific Life Insurance Company

Principal Financial Group

Prudential Life Insurance Company

Raymond James Insurance Group

RiverSource Life Insurance Company/Ameriprise Financial

Securities America, Inc./Ameriprise Financial

Security Benefit Life Insurance Company/Guggenheim Partners

Symetra Life Insurance Company

Transamerica Life Insurance Company

Unum Life Insurance Company of America

Voya/Reliastar Life Insurance Company

Wells Fargo Advisors

World Financial Group Insurance Agency, Inc.

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case but you can read about it here: https://www.post-gazette.com/business/money/2018/12/09/As-annuity-sales-soar-fraud-against-seniors-has-increased/stories/201812030143.

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