Jan 9, 2019 by |

San Francisco and California Annuity and Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys: Understanding Annuities

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Annuities Are Expensive, Complex, and Illiquid

Big Fees, Modest Yields, and Withdrawal Charges

Annuity carriers and agents use fear tactics to push annuities. One agent recently claimed on the radio that “It could take a lifetime to make up your losses in the stock market.”  Not really.  The market fully recovered from the Great Recession in just five years.  Getting sucked into buying an expensive, complicated annuity out of fear may be the biggest mistake you can make as you approach retirement and old age.  We recommend avoiding deferred annuities of any kind, including variable, fixed or equity indexed annuities, especially for seniors.[1]  At a minimum, take a close look before you buy. If you’re over 60 and already purchased a contract here in California and have suffered a loss due to cancellation, replacement, full or partial surrender or high fees, call the San Francisco and California financial elder abuse and annuity attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. today at 415-441-8669 for a free review of your policy.  A list of major carriers in California appears below.

Annuities are sold as fixed, indexed or variable policies, and offer immediate or deferred income plans.  Whatever the type, the principle is the same: the policyholder pays a large sum of nonrefundable cash upfront or in periodic payments in exchange for a promise of income in the future. Unlike bank deposits, the premiums are not insured by any government agency so the repayment obligation is only as good as the carrier’s word.   If you need to withdraw money you will pay a surrender penalty while your policy is in the “surrender period,” which can last up to 15 years in some contracts.  The penalty may be as high as 15%.

That’s what makes deferred annuities so risky for seniors. Your money will be tied up for a long time, subject to annual fees (often 3.5% or more if you elect some “riders” to your policy) and expenses that may increase over time. Any early withdrawal will be subject to surrender penalties and forfeiture of any “extra” return or bonus promised in your policy or rider.  Withdrawals will also be subject to tax at ordinary rates.  Even if you hold out to the end and refrain from early withdrawals, commissions and other fees erode your return.  Always consult a qualified professional who does not stand to gain from any purchase and your tax advisor before making any purchase, replacement or surrender. 

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has suffered loss on an annuity in San Francisco or elsewhere in California, contact San Francisco and California annuity and financial elder abuse attorney Ingrid M. Evans and the other attorneys at Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>. Our attorneys have experience with complex financial contracts and large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a 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.

Annuities and life insurance produce large sales commissions for brokers but are often inappropriate products for consumers, especially seniors. Leading providers and distributors of life insurance and 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.  Rather, 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 National Life Insurance Company

Ameriprise Financial/RiverSource Life Insurance Company

Ameriprise Financial/Securities America, Inc.

Athene Annuity & Life Assurance Company

Athene Annuity and Life Company

Athene USA

Aviva Life Insurance Company

AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company/AXA US

Bankers Life Insurance and Casualty Company

Brighthouse Financial, Inc./MetLife

Citigroup Global Markets, Inc.

Crump Life Insurance Services, Inc.

CUNA Mutual Group/CMFG Life Insurance Company

EquiTrust Life Insurance Company

Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company

Forethought Life Insurance Company/Global Atlantic Financial Group

Genworth Financial, Inc.

Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Company

Genworth Life Insurance Company

Global Atlantic Financial Group/Forethought Life Insurance Company

Guardian Life Insurance Company

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

Merrill Lynch Life Agency Inc.

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

Minnesota Life Insurance Company

National Western Life Insurance Company

Nationwide Life Insurance Company

New York Life Insurance Company

North American Company for Life and Health Insurance

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company

Oxford Life Insurance Company

Pacific Life Insurance Company

Principal Financial Group

Prudential Life Insurance Company

Raymond James Insurance Group

RiverSource Life Insurance Company/Ameriprise Financial

Securities America, Inc./Ameriprise Financial

Security Benefit Life Insurance Company/Guggenheim Partners

Symetra Life Insurance Company

Transamerica Life Insurance Company

Unum Life Insurance Company of America

Voya/Reliastar Life Insurance Company

Wells Fargo Advisors

World Financial Group Insurance Agency, Inc.

[1] We do not provide investment or tax advice but our litigators represent senior policyholders who lose money through cancellations, surrenders or fees on these contracts.

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