Unlicensed Insurance Brokers
Our Santa Clara annuity fraud attorneys can tell you that seniors are already at risk when dealing with licensed brokers. High commissions, surrender penalties, hidden costs and fees: there are any number of dangers even when buying an annuity from the “safe” sources. However, the chances of fraud, extortion, and outright theft dramatically increase if you don’t take the time to investigate whether your brokers is licensed and regulated.
Unlicensed brokers may be salespeople who lost their licenses for illegal practices, conmen trying to target senior’s retirement funds, or “senior financial advisors” who are trying to find another way to use their mailing lists to make some quick cash. Often, unlicensed insurance agents try to fly under the radar. Rather than advertise openly, which can attract unwanted attention, unlicensed insurance agents get introduced to seniors through social networks or at seminars, and try to arrange meetings and sales informally.
A common tactic for unscrupulous annuity salespeople is the “free lunch seminar,” often held at a senior community center, where they try to scare retirees into investing their savings with them. They may also convince seniors to sell existing policies and use the funds to purchase new ones through them. This practice is called churning, and it costs seniors not only the surrender cost for their old policy, often thousands of dollars, but the insurance agent’s commission on the new one, which can be as much at 15% of the policy’s value.
The SEC and other organizations, such as FINRA, make a valiant effort to keep malicious brokers and financial institutions in check, but it’s inevitable that some wrongdoer’s will slip through the cracks. In order to help seniors and retirees protect themselves from unscrupulous insurance agents, they provide a number of useful resources for people to investigate their brokers and policies before they sign the check. We’ve listed a few of them below:
• Use Investor.gov’s free online database to search for your investment professional.
• Contact your state securities regulator.
• If you are thinking about investing and have any questions, do not hesitate to call the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy at (800) 732-0330 or ask a question using this online form.
• A Guide For Seniors: Protecting Yourself Against Investment Fraud.
• Social Media and Investing: Tips for Seniors.
• Stopping Affinity Fraud in Your Community
• Investor Bulletin and Consumer Advisory: Planning for Diminished Capacity and Illness
Some of the major annuity and life insurance providers are:
- Aviva/Athene/Accordia Life Insurance Company
- Transamerica Life Insurance Company
- John Hancock Life Insurance Company
- Bankers Life Insurance and Casualty company
- Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
- Midland Life Insurance Company
- North American Company for Life and Health Insurance
- Pacific Life Insurance Company
- Prudential Life Insurance Company
- Genworth Life Insurance Company
- ING USA Annuity and Life Insurance Company
- Lincoln Benefit Life Company
- Metlife/Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
- Unum Life Insurance Company of America
- Voya/Reliastar Life Insurance Company
If you or a loved one feels they may have been the victim of an improperly sold or administered annuity or life insurance policy, contact the Evans Law firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at . Our Santa Clara annuity fraud attorneys work closely with our clients to help recover lost and stolen funds, and to seek a fair recompense for the actions of malicious brokers and financial companies.