Be Wary of Annuity Sales Presentations
Have you ever returned to your car in a shopping center parking lot to find a flyer on your windshield inviting you to a free lunch and estate planning seminar? Such tactics are often used by insurance agents to lure seniors especially to “informational seminars.” Following the free lunch, senior attendees are often told their finances are a mess and they need an annuity. Be wary of those invitations and presentations. Remember that the agent stands to make a sizeable commission on any sale. We at Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent consumers in Marin County and throughout California who have lost money when an agent or advisor convinces someone to purchase an unsuitable product. If you or a loved one is over age 60 and lives in California and has been the victim of securities fraud or have lost money due to an unsuitable investment, or on the surrender of an annuity or life insurance policy, call the Marin County and California financial elder abuse and securities lawyers at Evans Law Firm, Inc. (415) 441-8669 and we may be able to help.
Factors to Consider
Annuities are a complex hybrid of investment and insurance instruments and may be structured as fixed annuities, variable annuities or products such as fixed indexed annuities which are a combination of fixed and variable policies. Agents may try and convince you that you need a deferred annuity to accumulate money tax-deferred for the future. Be wary. You already have a deferred annuity in the form of Social Security and perhaps a pension plan from your job; you can also accumulate tax-deferred retirement savings in an IRA or 401(k) savings plan. With a deferred annuity your money will be tied up for a long time and any withdrawal prior to maturity may be subject to a surrender penalty.
Consider the following factors when deciding on an annuity recommendation:
- Know what kind of annuity is being recommended. Is it deferred, fixed, variable, etc.?
- How long will your money be tied up? Deferred annuities can run as long as 15 years. Surrender penalties on early withdrawals may cancel out any earnings.
- How much is the surrender penalty? Penalties may run as high as 15% in early years. Investing in a deferred annuity may make no sense at all if you need access to your money.
- Don’t take out a reverse mortgage to purchase an annuity. California law prohibits such cross-selling but it still occurs.
- Don’t purchase an annuity based on the representation that it will protect your assets under California Medi-Cal eligibility rules.
- Beware of scare tactics. Some annuity salespersons are trained to exploit a senior’s fear of running out of money.
- Always get a second opinion and always consult your tax advisor.
If you or a loved one is over age 60, lives in California, and has suffered economic loss as a result of an unsuitable investment, lost money on an annuity or life insurance surrender or replacement or been the victim of financial elder abuse in Marin County or any California county, contact California securities and financial elder abuse attorney Ingrid Evans and the other Evans Law Firm, Inc. financial elder abuse and 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 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.
Some of the leading providers of annuities and life insurance in California are listed below. We do not suggest in any way that these carriers have issued unsuitable contracts. Rather, the list is provided solely for our readers’ reference.
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
Allstate Life Insurance Company
American Equity Investment Life Holding Company
American General Life Insurance Company
American National 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
Guggenheim Partners/First Security Benefit Life Insurance Company
Global Atlantic/Forethought Life Insurance Company
Genworth Life Insurance Company
Guardian 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 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
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
Voya/Reliastar Life Insurance Company
 We do not, however, provide investment or tax advice.