At the Evans Law Firm, a San Francisco bank fraud law firm, our attorneys hear about far too many fraudulent annuities and insurance policies that are presented as “financially sound” options for older Californians. Such annuities are often backed by well-known, trustworthy companies or big names in the industry; but sadly, some of those companies have less than upstanding intentions.
Annuities from Your Bank
Banks sell annuities to their clients through a series of contracts, usually worked through an insurance agent or company, in which they agree to pay out fixed, predetermined amounts in installments based on the plan in exchange for an initial premium payment from the client. The two types of annuities—immediate and deferred—work in different ways to provide the client with lump sums of money over an extended period of time. An immediate annuity does just what the name suggests–it begins to make period payments immediately upon receipt of the premium payment. A deferred annuity uses the premium payment amount to accumulate interest for the client, and then pays out the principal and accumulated amounts after a set date, usually retirement.
Deferred annuities have gained popularity in recent years, as they currently provide certain tax breaks to consumers—income tax is not collected until the purchaser begins to receive payouts. But a deferred annuity has increased risk because the lump sum is paid well before a return is seen and it is widely dependent on the market, the rate at which interest is being accumulated, and the lifespan of the recipient.
People often purchase annuities to be used as part of a well-rounded retirement plan, to provide an income of sorts after a person no longer draws a paycheck. An annuity payout plan can be set up for a specific period of time, or for life—and this is where the trouble begins for senior citizens, according to what the attorneys at our San Francisco bank fraud law firm have seen.
Any type of payment that is set up to be distributed over an extended period of time needs to have provisions in place for what should be done with the leftover funds in the event of the recipient’s death or incapacity. Because the premium is paid up front, the terms of agreement are very important to ensure that the purchaser of the annuity does not end up losing money.
In most fraudulent annuity contracts, the insurance agents, working through the bank, will try to talk an older consumer into a risky or impractical plan (usually one with a higher premium and longer pay-out plan) in the hopes that they will not end up paying out the entire premium and accrued interest in the long run. Your bank should work with you to determine the best plan for your lifestyle and your age rather than push you into an expensive plan that will not provide the maximum financial benefits.
The following are some well-known insurance companies that sell annuities in the State of California to senior citizen and some of these companies also sell through banks:
- Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
- Principal Life Insurance Company
- Jackson National Life
- Pacific Life Insurance Company
- Aviva Life and Annuity Company – Athene USA
- Genworth Life Insurance Company
- Midland National Life Insurance Company
- Bankers Life and Casualty Co.
- North American Company for Life and Health Insurance
- Security Benefit Life Ins Co
- EquiTrust Life Insurance Company
- Guggenheim Life and Annuity
If you purchased an annuity and would like to have it reviewed for free by an attorney, please contact us.
At the Evans Law Firm, Inc., our San Francisco bank fraud attorneys represent older consumers and their family members who have been cheated by their bank in the purchase of an annuity, either through a contract violation or through improper or impractical contract terms. To discuss your case, contact Ingrid Evans today at 415.441.8669 or www.evanslaw.com.