Understand Returns, Costs, and Penalties
Resist Hard Sell Tactics
Especially “Free Lunch” Seminars!
Our litigators recommend against annuities for any older consumers because commissions and fees are high, returns on your money are calculated to benefit the carrier not you, and the contracts tie up your money for years. The disadvantages of annuities impact senior citizens the most, especially the penalties imposed if you need to get your money back. If you’re over 60 and have suffered a loss due to cancellation, replacement, full or partial surrender, or fees on any type of annuity, call our California financial elder abuse and annuity attorneys today at 415-441-8669 or toll free at 888-50EVANS (888-503-8267) for a free review of your policy.
Agents use high-pressure sales pitches, seminars, and telemarketing to pitch annuities to older persons concerned about future income levels. Beware of agents who “cold call” you, offer you a free lunch, contact you repeatedly, offer “limited time offers,” show up at your door without an appointment, or won’t meet with you if your family is present. Many of these questionable sales practices violate California law protecting elders. See, e.g., Cal. Ins Code §§ 785-789. Even if the sales tactic is legal, proceed with caution. Promises of returns too good to be true, always are.
If you are considering an annuity, keep these factors in mind:
• Pay attention to annual maintenance costs. Fees on annuities can cost 50-100 percent more than mutual fund fees.
• Be wary of extra “riders” to the contract. Added income and death benefit riders will cost you 1.00-1.50% annually or more and neither you nor your heirs may ever reap the benefits.
• Annuities are not insured investments. Unlike CDs and mutual fund investments, annuities are not covered by any government-sponsored insurance protection. The promise to, pay is only as good as the insurance carrier’s word.
• Avoid contracts that offer a premium bonus. This is a phantom benefit that neither you nor your heirs are ever likely to realize. “Bonuses” are marketing gimmicks.
• Know that annuities are illiquid; withdrawals are subject to surrender charges and tax penalties. Under some contracts surrender periods last as long as ten years and penalties can be as high as 15%.
• Consult your tax professional before you buy or surrender an annuity. Every annuity transaction has tax consequences.
• Review any proposal with a professional with nothing to gain from your purchase.
Our litigators know from experience that annuity owners are often hit by hidden costs and withdrawal penalties when their policies go into effect. Agents gloss over costs and details and may not themselves understand how a complicated annuity performs over time. The problem is compounded by the fact that once you’re sold an annuity you cannot get out of it without paying a withdrawal penalty and a tax on the amount withdrawn.
If you or a loved one has suffered loss on an annuity 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, toll free at 888-50EVANS (888-503-8267) 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 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.
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 International Group, Inc. (AIG)
American National Life Insurance Company
Athene Annuity & Life Assurance Company
Athene Annuity and Life Company
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.