An Annuity is a purchased policy that pays a fixed amount of benefits every year — although most annuities actually pay monthly – for the life of the person who is entitled to those benefits or for a fixed period of time, e.g. 15 years. In a “simple life annuity”, when the person receiving the annuity dies, the benefits stop; there is no final lump sum payment and no provision to keep paying benefits to a spouse or other survivor. A “continuous annuity” pays monthly installments for the life of the retired person, and also provides a smaller continuing annuity payment for the person’s spouse or other survivor after the person’s death. These annuity contracts are usually with insurance companies often have high upfront commissions and severe penalties if money is withdrawn earlier than the contract allows.
What You Need to Know About Annuities and Financial Elder Abuse
- Visit CANHR’s Consumer Video Library to listen and learn about Annuities
- Annuity Basics (PDF Download)
- Annuities: Questions for Senior Consumers (PDF Download)
- Senior Annuities Guide, CA Department of Insurance
- Consumer Alert from National Association of Insurance Commissioners
Where to Report Elder Financial Abuse
- Consumer Scams: Contact the county office of the District Attorney—check California District Attorney’s Association for current addresses and phone numbers at 916-443-2017 or www.cdaa.org.
- Insurance Agent Complaints: Contact the State Insurance Commissioner’s Office at 1-800-927-4347 or www.insurance.ca.gov. If an attorney sold the annuity, also file a complaint with the State Bar Association at 1-800-843-9053 or www.calbar.ca.gov.
- Attorney Complaints: File a complaint with the State Bar of California if you believe your attorney acted improperly, and file complaints with state (https://www.dca.ca.gov/consumers/complaints/index.shtml) and local consumer protection agencies.
- Mortgage Lenders & Brokers Complaints: If you believe that a real estate professional has committed fraud having to do with your reverse mortgage, file a complaint with the California Department of Real Estate at http://www.dre.ca.gov/cons_complaint.html/. Also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online or by phone, toll–free, at 1–877–FTC–HELP.
- Local law enforcement and county District Attorney’s office – check California District Attorney’s Association for current addresses and phone numbers at 916-443-2017 or www.cdaa.org.
- Adult Protective Services (APS) in your county by referring to California Department of Social Services Web site at http://www.cdss.ca.gov/Adult-Protective-Services.