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Feb 27, 2019 by |

California and San Francisco Annuity and Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys: Riders in Annuities


What are Riders?

Riders are attachments to deferred annuities sold by agents as enhanced benefits. They come with an additional fee added to your base premium. Available riders include income riders, long-term care riders, death benefit riders and other policy “enhancements.”  All of these add-ons are expensive and promise benefits you may never see.  Selling agents often gloss over details or deliberately conceal the way the recommended riders really work.  Frankly, the riders are so complex the agent may not even understand them.

Take, for example, the income rider sold by agents as a “guarantee” of future income levels. Annual fees for income riders run around 1% of total policy value so right off the bat there’s a hit on your return. And you may never see the promised benefit. These contributions sit in a separately calculated fund apart from the accumulated value of the over-all annuity.  The “value” of this separate fund is never available for withdrawal.  Rather, the rider offers a “guaranteed” income for life payable only on a schedule determined by the carrier. But fees and withdrawals can diminish that future benefit and, in certain cases, wipe it out entirely.  If you are over age 60 and reside in California, the California annuity attorneys at Evans Law Firm can review your annuity contract, including any riders and the policy’s surrender provisions, for free.  Call us today at (415)441-8669.

Guarantees Sound Good – What’s the Catch?

There are several serious catches to how the rider works: You cannot peel off interest from an income rider like you can a CD or bond.  Once you begin your income draw downs, the income will always be paid to you in “scheduled” amounts, determined by the carrier’s actuarial tables.  Those payments are scheduled at inception and do not change as you get older or your circumstances change.  Any surrender will never include the phantom amount of the income rider “fund.”  Instead, you will pay a surrender charge, and any accruals in the separate rider account are forfeited entirely. 

Annuities are extremely complex and not for everybody. Endorsements and riders are even more complex. Fees and commissions destroy returns.  Annuities are illiquid investments and tie up your money for years and withdrawals for emergencies may incur steep surrender penalties; you should be positive you will not need whatever funds you commit by way of premium contributions. We understand all these drawbacks because we’ve represented senior policyholders who have lost money on these contracts.  f you are over age 60 and reside in California, we are able to review your annuity at no cost if you believe that you or a loved one were victims of annuity fraud or suffered a financial loss as a result of income rider or other rider fees, and/or surrender penalties on an unsuitable annuity. 

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

Berkshire Hathaway Group

Berkshire Hathaway Life Insurance Company of Nebraska

Brighthouse Financial, Inc./MetLife

Citigroup Global Markets, Inc.

Crump Life Insurance Services, Inc.

CUNA Mutual Group/CMFG Life Insurance Company

Delaware 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 Life Group

National Life Insurance Company/Equity Services, Inc.

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

Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company/Tokio Marine Group

RiverSource Life Insurance Company/Ameriprise Financial

Securities America, Inc./Ameriprise Financial

Security Benefit Life Insurance Company/Guggenheim Partners

The Standard Life Insurance Company

Symetra Financial Corporation

Symetra Life Insurance Company

Transamerica Life Insurance Company

Unum Life Insurance Company of America

USAA Life Insurance Company

Voya/Reliastar Life Insurance Company

Wells Fargo Advisors

Western & Southern Financial Group

The Western & Southern Life Insurance Company

World Financial Group Insurance Agency, Inc.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has suffered a loss on an income rider, policy surrender, or from other high fees and charges in California, contact Ingrid M. Evans and the other Evans Law Firm financial elder abuse and annuity attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=””></a>. Our attorneys have experience with complex financial contracts and large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a FINRA arbitration, 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.

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