Understand Penalties On Withdrawals
Fees And Other Hidden Costs
Beware High-Pressure Sales Tactics
“Our older citizens, understandably concerned with rising living and medical costs and even pension uncertainties, are being targeted by unscrupulous financial predators,” said a top State securities regulator recently. The regulator has brought a string of complaints against annuity providers on behalf of older consumers who were sold unsuitable annuities. Evans Law Firm, Inc. generally recommends against certain types of deferred annuities for older consumers because these complex, expensive insurance policies may tie up a senior’s money for years and impose significant penalties if you need your money back. Sales and recommended surrenders and exchanges of deferred annuities to seniors may constitute financial elder abuse claims under Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 15610.30 (definition of financial elder abuse) and 10509 (suitability requirement).. Questionable sales tactics, like unannounced home visits or falsified applications, are illegal. See, e.g., Cal. Ins. Code § 790 et seq. (Unfair Insurance Practices Act). If you are over 60, and live in San Diego or elsewhere in California and would like us to review your annuity contract, call us today at 415-441-8669 (or toll free at 1-888-50EVANS) for a free review of your policy.
Annuities Are Long-Term Contracts
Most annuities are long term contracts and should not be considered for short-term purposes. Nor should a senior allow an agent to sell them an annuity without realizing that the annuity will tie up their money for a long time and any withdrawal will be subject to penalties and tax liabilities. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times described the effect of surrender charges on a 90-year-old retiree who bought a $100,000 annuity where the surrender penalty period lasted ten years. He would have had to live to 100 to have unfettered access to his money, Instead, according to the article, he died a year into the contract and his heirs had to pay an $11,000 surrender charge to withdraw his investment of only one year before.
Beware of Deceptive Or High-Pressure Sales Practices
Using come-ons honed by marketing experts, come unscrupulous agents play on seniors’ fears by suggesting that stock mutual funds, even federally insured bank accounts, are too shaky to depend on. They depict annuities as a secure alternative without explaining the accompanying fees and restrictions. Some sales agents offer estate-planning services or free financial workshops or lunches for seniors to gain access to their financial information. Then they zero in on those with sizable assets, delivering a hard sell for annuities regardless of whether they meet the clients’ needs. Beware of any agent who pursues you aggressively about needing to act fast to miss some supposed opportunity. Also beware of any agent who is unwilling to meet with your family in order to answer questions they may have about how a proposed annuity will work. If you are considering an annuity, always get a second opinion from a professional with nothing to gain from a sale.
If you are over 60 and live in San Mateo County or elsewhere in California and would like a free review of your policy contact Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669 (or toll free at 1-888-50EVANS), or by email at <ahref=”mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</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
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.