In some cases, Allianz told clients that they would get a 10 percent bonus if they transferred their current annuity over to Allianz. Most annuities charge heavy fees for withdrawing early, so people who switched from one plan to another were relying on the bonus just to cover the cost of switching. The annuities involved include Master Dex 10 Annuity, 10% Bonus PowerDex Elite Annuity, and the Bonus Dex Elite Annuity.
- What's an annuity? It's a special kind of investment offered by life insurance companies that promises to pay out a regular amount of money after you pay in for a certain amount of time.
- Who else is offering "bonuses annuities"? Pioneer Investments, American Skandia, Ing, Ohio National, Extra-GE, Manulife Financial, AXA Equitable, Pacific Life, The Hartford.
- Are there charges for annuities? Yes - sometimes a lot of them. Make sure you have all costs explained to you, and don't pay for things you don't need.
- How do I know who to trust? The California Department of Insurance tells consumers considering an annuity - or any kind of insurance - to check the company's ratings: "Five major insurance rating companies grade insurers on their financial health and ability to pay claims. These companies are:
- A. M. Best
- Standard and Poor's
- Moody's Investor Service
- Duff & Phelps, and
- Weiss Research"
- A. M. Best
- What if I think my insurance company is over-charging me? The fine print can be tricky sometimes. If there's a chance you've been cheated, it may be time to seek legal advice.