Changing Guarantees in Variable Annuities
The new Department of Labor rule that requires annuity brokers to act as fiduciaries has sent ripples throughout the industry. Although the rule doesn’t go into full effect until 2018, insurance companies are scrambling to find ways to adapt to (or circumvent) the rule. Although few consumers would find it objectionable for their brokers to have to act in their best financial interest, many insurance and annuity salespeople have objected to the new rules on the grounds that it would put them on the hook in their customers felt that they had been mistreated.
As insurance companies try to prepare for the full implementation of the new rules, many are starting to make changes to the way they structure and sell annuities. Some are relatively superficial changes: for example, some companies are changing the payment structure for brokers, since the fiduciary requirement kicks in when the product is sold on commission. Other changes are more fundamental: some companies are eliminating brokers from the equation entirely, by having all of the products covered under the rule sold through the main company itself. Our California variable annuity attorneys have been reviewing the steps taken by insurance companies in response to the DOL rule.
These changes are designed to accommodate the new rules without actually adhering to them. Very few companies have said anything about actually complying with the rule, or about increasing training and reducing sales pressure in order to ensure that brokers can meet the fiduciary requirement without problems. As long as the annuity environment prioritizes sales and commissions over ensuring that seniors are properly taken care of by their financial advisors, further rules and regulations will have to be enacted to curb the excesses of the industry.
Some of the major annuity and life insurance providers 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 been the victim of an improperly sold or administered annuity including variable, indexed, or fixed annuities, contact the California Variable annuity attorneys at Evans Law Firm. Our attorneys have experience handling cases involving complex financial contracts, and can help guide your case through a civil trial or toward an equitable settlement. We can be reached at (415) 441-8669, or by email at email@example.com.