What Duty Does An Agent Owe You?
Putting You First
We at Evans Law Firm litigate the question of an insurance agent’s duty to his clients, particularly when it comes to life insurance and/or annuities. We have written on the subject in this column. As life insurance and annuity lawyers, we’ve followed changes in the case law, legislative and agency initiatives, and internal changes in the insurance and annuity industry. In general, the direction is toward more protection for the American public, particularly seniors. We want to keep you informed of the changes. In representation of our clients, we remain committed to holding agents to the highest standards the law and industry regulations impose on them. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a breach of fiduciary duty, securities fraud or financial elder abuse, or find yourself headed toward a FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) arbitration in Alameda County or elsewhere in California, contact the Evans Law Firm securities and financial elder abuse attorneys at (415) 441-8669 and we can help.
What This Means
The Department of Labor’s (DOL) long-awaited “fiduciary rule” took effect in 2017. The rule requires financial advisors to put your interests first when the advisors makes recommendations regarding retirement savings. From now on when you seek advice on your IRA, 401(k) or other retirement savings account, your financial advisor, broker or banker will be required to put your interests first in whatever recommendations he or she makes regarding your retirement investments. Your best interests may be served by leaving your plan just the way it is and if that is the case, the advisor has an obligation to recommend just that. We at Evans Law Firm applaud the fiduciary rule and hope State legislatures, insurance departments, and the industry itself broaden the scope of the rule.
If you are the victim of wrongdoing by an insurance agent we at Evans Law Firm can help you hold that agent to the highest standard of conduct the law prescribes. We are fortunate in California in that our State legislature leads the way in protections against unscrupulous agents. This is particularly true for seniors, where the agent’s misconduct may well amount to financial elder abuse. California allows extra damages and mandatory attorneys’ fees in these cases and imposes additional duties and disclosure requirements on agents. For example, your agent must conduct a thorough suitability analysis of any recommendation. This includes a complete look at your financial picture, including your age, your income, other resources, cash reserves, future needs, and debt and liquidity reviews. The law prohibits agents from cross-selling products to you in certain situations, requires an extended free-look period during which you can get out of the contract without penalty, and requires a detailed disclosure of any surrender penalties the recommended investment may contain. All of these measures are meant to protect you. We at Evans Law Firm have experience with all these requirements and know how to represent you when an agent has ignored or short-changed you on any of them.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a breach of fiduciary duty, annuity or securities fraud or financial elder abuse in California or are headed to FINRA Arbitration, contact the Evans Law Firm securities attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>. Our attorneys have experience with complex securities cases, arbitrations, and mediations; and complicated financial contracts and large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We also handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, other types of qui tam and whistleblower cases, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.
Some of the leading providers of annuities in California are listed below. We are not in any way suggesting that any of these carriers have committed wrongdoing. The list is provided solely as a reference for readers.
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
Allstate Life Insurance Company
American Equity Investment Life Holding Company
American General Life Insurance Company
American National Life Insurance Company
Ameriprise Financial/RiverSource Life Insurance Company
Athene Annuity and Life Company
AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company
Bankers Life Insurance and Casualty Company
EquiTrust Life Insurance Company
Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company
Forethought Life Insurance Company/Global Atlantic Financial Group
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
Life Insurance of the SouthWest/National Life Group
Lincoln Financial Group/The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company
MassMutual/Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
Metlife/Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
Midland National Life Insurance Company
Mutual of Omaha/United of Omaha Life Insurance Company
National Life Group/Life Insurance of the SouthWest
New York Life Insurance Company
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company
Pacific Life Insurance Company
Principal Life Insurance Company
Pruco/Prudential Life Insurance Company
RiverSource Life Insurance Company/Ameriprise Financial
Security Benefit Life Insurance Company/Guggenheim Partners
Symetra Life Insurance Company
Transamerica Life Insurance Company
United of Omaha Life Insurance Company/Mutual of Omaha
Unum Life Insurance Company of America