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Consumer Tips

Avoiding Unsuitable Annuity Products

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Certain insurance agents have been found to have sold annuities to seniors where the senior will not likely benefit from the product during their lifetime, and where they cannot withdraw the funds early without paying a penalty. Ohio law requires agents and companies to assure that annuities sold to Ohioans are suitable for the policyholder, based on their age, income and other needs.

Important Questions to Ask:
  • Does this annuity fit well into my overall financial plan for the future?
  • Will I incur surrender fees and penalties if I need to withdraw money from the annuity before it reaches maturity? 
  • When will the policy reach its date of maturity? Is the annuity appropriate for my age and future income needs? 
  • Is the agent I’m dealing with licensed in Ohio to sell me this product? Does the agent have any other financial industry license, designation or credentials that can be verified?

Important Consumer Tips:
  • Carefully review the insurance product being considered with a trusted advisor or contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at 1-800-686-1526. 
  • Oftentimes, high-pressure tactics are used to scare the client into signing paperwork selecting a product. 
  • A licensed agent will be more than willing to show adequate credentials.
  • Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Upon receipt, review your contract to verify it contains the applied-for provisions. You will have a limited amount of time to return the policy for a full refund. 
  • To find out if an annuity is right for you, think about what your financial goals are for the future. 
  • Compare information for similar contracts from several companies.
  • Ask your agent and/or the company for an explanation of anything you don’t understand.
  • Check with the Ohio Department of Insurance at 1-800-686-1526 to verify that the company and agent are licensed in Ohio. 
  • As you complete your research and decide to purchase a particular policy, it’s important to keep detailed records.

Report a Violation or Get Information:

If you suspect you’ve been a victim of deceptive sales practices, please contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at 1-800-686-1527 with detailed information about the agent and product. Please call the department at 1-800-686-1526 with any questions you may have about annuities.

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Ohio Department of Insurance
50 W. Town Street, Third Floor - Suite 300
Columbus, Ohio  43215
Mike DeWine, Governor | Jillian Froment, Director
General Info: 614-644-2658 | Consumer Hotline: 800-686-1526
Fraud Hotline: 800-686-1527 | Medicare Hotline: 800-686-1578