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Dec 13, 2021 by |

San Mateo County Financial Elder Abuse And Annuity Attorney: Questionable Sales Techniques Of Unsuitable Annuities

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Prohibitions Against Sales Of Unsuitable Insurance Policies

Unsuitable Sales To Seniors Is Financial Elder Abuse

Red Flags In Sales Pitches

Insurance agents who sell unsuitable insurance products, including indexed annuities, to seniors violate the California Insurance Code and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regulations against the sale of unsuitable investments and may be liable for financial elder abuse.  Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30 (definition of financial elder abuse); Cal. Ins. §§ 790 et seq. (Unfair Insurance Practices Act) and 10509 (suitability requirement); FINRA Rule 2111(suitability standard for financial advisor recommendations).  Evans Law Firm, Inc. recommends against deferred annuities for older consumers because annuities are expensive and complicated and tie up a senior’s money for years. Any financial exploitation of a senior may constitute financial elder abuse and entitle the senior victim to damages and an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses for bringing a case.  Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.5.  If you are over 60, live in San Mateo County or elsewhere in the Bay Area or throughout the State of California and own an indexed annuity, call us today at 415-441-8669 (or toll free at 1-888-50EVANS) for a free review of your policy. 

Red Flags

Be particularly suspicious of agents using any of the following approaches:

    1. “I’m a registered senior specialist” or “I’m a Certified Elder Planning Advisor.”  (An agent cannot use any such a title unless they get permission from the Department of Insurance.  Often these titles have no significance.)
    2. “This is a free seminar.  My services are paid directly by the insurance company.  I receive no commission for my sales.”
    3. “You don’t need a lawyer.  They will charge you thousands of dollars for the information I’m giving you for free.”
    4. “The annuity is the safest place to have your money.  No one has ever lost money on an annuity.  This product is guaranteed.”
    5. “You better act fast to get the discounted price.”  
    6. “This is the last day this particular annuity will be available, and I’d hate for you to miss out on this opportunity.”

All of these pitches are real red flags. Annuities are confusing to even the sharpest investor.  Before you consider purchasing one, make sure you understand the terms and what charges and fees you will pay.  And before you invest, always discuss the purchase with someone you trust, who has nothing to gain from the sale.

Exchanges And Replacement Transactions

If you’ve already purchased an annuity, be especially wary if an agent recommends exchanging your existing annuity for a new one. Unsuitable contract exchanges violate California law (see, e.g., Cal. Ins. Code §10509.914), but agents still push inappropriate (and costly) exchanges.  There are several dangers for consumers in these exchanges: surrender penalties on the surrendered contract, tax on the proceeds from the surrendered contract, and the surrender period resets under the new contract, tying up your money for even more years.  Another danger for consumers is where agents “churn” annuities by recommending a succession of surrenders and exchanges.  This activity is illegal.

Contact Us

If you are over 60 and live in San Mateo County or elsewhere in the State of California and have an indexed annuity, 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=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</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

PacLife

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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