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Feb 10, 2023 by |

Marin Financial Elder Abuse And Annuity Attorney: Why Deferred Annuities Are Not Good Investments For Seniors


Penalties For Accessing Funds

Loss Of Control Of Investment

Sales Commissions And Contract Fees

Evans Law Firm, Inc. generally recommends against deferred annuities for older consumers because they are expensive and complicated and because these contracts tie up a senior’s money for years. Popular talk show advisor Suze Orman put it this way on Oprah:

Q: My financial adviser suggested that I invest in index annuities. Are they safe?

Suze: I’m not a fan of index annuities. These financial instruments, which are sold by insurance companies, are typically held for a set number of years and pay out based on the performance of an index like the S&P 500. (Be advised that insurers aren’t necessarily transparent about how they calculate any gains credited to your annuity.) They do offer a guaranteed return, but it can be under the rate of inflation, and there are caps on the amount of interest you can earn. Plus, if you don’t want to keep an annuity for its entire term, you could lose 10 percent or more of your investment to a surrender charge. Honestly, I’d be suspicious of any adviser who wants you to go this route. Instead, I’d recommend that you stick to your workplace retirement plan, if you have that option. You can contribute up to $17,500 this year ($23,000 if you are at least 50). If you don’t have a company 401(k) or you have more funds to invest, you can set aside $5,500 ($6,500 if you are at least 50) in a traditional or Roth IRA.

If you are over 60, live in San Francisco or elsewhere in the Bay Area or throughout the State of California and own a deferred annuity, call us today at 415-441-8669 (or toll free at 1-888-50EVANS) for a free review of your policy. 

Asking The Right Questions

In addition to these downsides, some insurance agents employ aggressive sales tactics to rush a senior into a transaction.  The sale and the tactics employed may constitute violations of insurance laws and elder protections. Cal. Weld. & Inst. Code § 15610.30 (definition of financial elder abuse); Cal. Ins. § 790 et seq. (Unfair Insurance Practices Act).  Senior victims may sue for damages and other relief including awards of attorneys’ fees and expenses for bringing your case.  Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.5. 

At a minimum always slow the process down, get a second opinion (from a professional with nothing to gain from sale) and be sure to think about a few very important things:

  • Ask your producer, or the company for an explanation of anything you do not understand. Make sure that the person you talk to answers your questions to your satisfaction.
  • Ask for a complete listing of fees and commissions before agreeing to buy anything presented as an “investment product”. Understand contract restrictions, such as surrender penalties or administrative fees.
  • Compare similar products from several companies using the criteria presented above. Remember, even though you have a meeting with a producer, you have no obligation to buy anything.
  • Avoid repeated or unsolicited contacts from particular producers that make you feel pressured.
  • Check the rating of the company’s finances through Standard & Poor’s, A.M. Best Co., Moody’s Investors Services, etc. Annuities are not government-insured investments like bank deposits and CDs. The promise to pay is only as good as the insurer’s ability to do so.
  • Take notes about what the producer tells you and keep copies of all documents, correspondence, notices, special offers and payment receipts.
  • Ask for and read Disclosure Statements offered by the producer or the company and make sure you understand what the statements say about the annuity you are being sold.

Contact Us

If you are over 60 and live in Marin or elsewhere in the Bay Area or State of California and have a deferred annuity or universal life insurance contract, we can review your contract for free.  You can reach Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or toll free at 1-888-50EVANS or by email at <a href=””></a>.

Some significant issuers and distributors of 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.  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 International Group, Inc. (AIG)

American National Life Insurance Company

Athene Annuity & Life Assurance Company

Athene Annuity and Life Company

Athene USA

Aviva Life Insurance Company

AXA Equitable Financial Services, LLC

AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company/AXA US

AXA Advisors, LLC

Brighthouse Financial, Inc./MetLife

EquiTrust Life Insurance Company

Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company

Genworth Financial, Inc.

Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Company

Genworth Life Insurance Company

Guggenheim Partners, LLC

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

Metlife/Metropolitan Life Insurance Company/Brighthouse Financial, Inc.

Minnesota Life Insurance Company

Nationwide Investor Services Corporation (NISC)

Nationwide Life and Annuity Insurance Company

Nationwide Life Insurance Company

New York Life Insurance Company

Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company

Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company

Pacific Life & Annuity Company

Pacific Life Insurance Company


Security Benefit Corporation

Security Benefit Group, Inc.

Security Benefit Life Insurance Company/Guggenheim Partners

Security Investors, LLC

Security of Denver Life Insurance Company/Voya

Transamerica Life Insurance Company

Voya Financial Advisors

 Voya/Reliastar Life Insurance Company

 World Financial Group Insurance Agency, Inc.

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