Financial Elder Abuse Oakland: Annuities and Insurance Fraud
Elders in Oakland and the San Francisco Bay Area continue to be sold annuities and other insurance products that may be financially inappropriate for them. Examples of such products include deferred annuities, fixed annuities, and equity-indexed annuities. These products may generally be inappropriate because they enforce severe and strict penalties and often require that the insured individual wait for long periods of time before receiving their payouts. Both of these attributes, as well as others, can make purchasing deferred annuities a poor choice for seniors.
Yet despite this fact, many insurance companies and agencies continue to propagate the sale of such products to elderly citizens and seniors in Oakland and throughout California. Insurance companies frequently employ marketing tactics and sales pitches that make annuities appear safe and appealing as investments, but it is important to be aware of the risks underlying these insurance products.
Insurance Agencies and Individual Agents
In recent history, banks or their agents have engaged in professionally unscrupulous behavior by selling elders annuity policies and products that do not accord with the specific needs and limitations of the elderly purchaser. For example, a senior may purchase an annuity without realizing that she must wait for ten years before she can access her own funds. This restriction can come to light and become highly problematic if the senior realizes she must for some reason access these funds to cover unpredicted medical or other costs.
According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (FINRA), individual agents, stockbrokers, and other financial professionals are bound to ensure that an investment or security is “suitable for the customer” before selling it to them. Previous lawsuits allege that this ethical duty has been breached on occasion and with specific respect to annuities sold to seniors. Because the sale of annuities and similar insurance products can be quite lucrative, it is essential to be aware of the potential conflict of interest between an elder purchasing an annuity and a sales agent who may make a sizable profit in commission from the sale.
Deferred Annuities or Fixed Annuities are types of long-term investments – sometimes sold as forms of insurance – that requires the purchaser to deposit a premium and then receive a delayed “rate of return” with interest. These annuities often promise high returns on the condition that the purchaser generally must wait several years before beginning to receive payouts. Another common attribute of these annuities is the infliction of excessive penalties and fees should the purchaser wish to withdraw his or her funds before the designated payout start date.
Deferred and fixed annuities often come with confusing policies and contracts that are not immediately comprehensible to the purchaser. The elderly purchaser then must rely on and trust the annuity salesperson or agency, who may not always have the best interest of the elder at heart.
Past Lawsuits Alleging Elder Financial Annuities Abuse
Past lawsuits exist against banks and insurance agencies that sell annuities to senior citizens. These lawsuits allege that the Defendants either did know or had a duty to know that the products they sold to seniors were unsuitable and inappropriate. In addition, the lawsuits allege that the Defendants sold policies that charged exorbitant surrender fees; and that seniors were pressured into moving their savings into annuities by the Defendants’ use of scare tactics, with the result that the seniors’ savings became inaccessible to them for 10-20 (or more) years. This last allegation highlights the particular harm that can be caused to seniors in case of a financial emergency.
These past lawsuits have sought remedies that include injunctive relief; restitution to senior victims and Plaintiffs; disgorgement of profits from Defendants; double and treble damages; punitive and compensatory damages; and the prohibition of selling unsuitable annuities to elders.
What Types of Senior And Elder Financial Annuity Lawsuits Exist?
Lawsuits have been brought alleging the targeting of elders by certain annuity-issuing banks and insurance companies. Further allegations include the use of scare tactics to pressure elders and seniors into moving their life savings into deferred or fixed annuities, which can render those savings inaccessible to the senior for 10-20 or more years (even if an emergency arises); may charge exorbitant surrender fees and severe tax penalties; and can leave complex estate problems after the annuitant’s passing. Deceptively tempting sales pitches to elders often frame annuities as “guaranteed” and “safe,” likening them to having money in the bank that yields a higher return. Complicated and confusing language in the annuity policy and contract can hide the tremendous charges and fees incurred should the senior wish to withdraw money before the pay-out period.
These lawsuits have sought and seek the following remedies: to prohibit the sales of inappropriate annuities to elders; injunctive relief; restitution to the elder victims; disgorgement from Defendants of the profits reaped at the expense of the victims; treble, double, punitive, and compensatory damages; attorneys’ fees, penalties, and costs of suit.
You may be eligible for representation in senior and elder financial abuse annuity lawsuits if you were sold an unsuitable annuity and were at least 60 years of age at the time of its purchase.
The Evans Law Firm is committed to preventing annuities fraud in Oakland and California, and aiding its clients through litigation against institutions like insurance companies, banks, and agents who deceptively sell annuities and other inappropriate long-term investments to elder adults and seniors. Contact the Evans Law Firm for a free and confidential consultation at 415-441-8669 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lawsuits Have been Brought Against the Following Companies In the Past:
Lawsuits have been brought against the following insurance companies and banks: ; AIG Sun America; Allianz Life Ins. Co.; American Equity; American International Group; American National Insurance Company; Bank of America; Conseco Life Ins. Co.; Fidelity and Guaranty Life Insurance Company; Jackson National Life Insurance Company; National Western Life Ins. Co.; Standard Life Insurance Company of Indiana.
The following annuity companies have sold deferred annuities to senior citizens:
- Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
- American Equity Life Insurance Company
- American General
- American International Group
- American Investors/AVIVA
- American National Insurance Company
- Conseco Life Insurance Company
- EquiTrust Life Insurance Company
- Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company
- Great American Life Insurance Company
- Jackson National life Insurance Company
- Midland National Life Insurance Company
- National Western Life Insurance Company
- Prudential Life Insurance Company
- Standard Life Insurance Company of Indiana
- Standard Life Insurance Company
- Sun Life Insurance Company
- Transamerica Life Insurance Company