Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America was founded in 1896 and is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (See Reference 1) The company is a provider of fixed and variable annuities, life insurance policies and long-term care insurance products. Dating back to about 2001, questions have been raised about the way that the company sells annuities, with accusations made that older Americans were taken advantage of by sales representatives. (See Reference 2)
The state of Minnesota as well as several private parties have sued Allianz for allegedly selling annuities to older people without fully disclosing what their customers were getting.
In one example, Allianz salespeople were reported as telling elderly Americans that they would receive immediate bonuses for their annuity when, in fact, payouts were 10 years or later. Essentially, Allianz would sometimes tell customers that they would see an immediate 5 or 10 percent bonus on their investment without explaining that the annuities had to be held 15 years or longer before they could be paid out. That means that Allianz customers who were at least 85 years of age quite possibly wouldn't live long enough to enjoy a payout.
If you have an annuity with Allianz, check your annuity agreement to learn what the terms of your contract are.
In 2007, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson reach a settlement with Allianz on behalf of as many as 7000 Minnesota senior citizens. According to StarTribune.com, "Minnesotans who were age 65 or older when they bought an Allianz deferred annuity on Jan. 1, 2001, or later can submit a claim for a full refund without penalty." Allianz denied any wrongdoing.
In 2008, the state of California settled with Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America on behalf of its seniors who bought deferred fixed annuity products between January 1, 2004, and July 31, 2005. The $10 million settlement allowed 288 seniors to cancel their policies while opening up the possibility that an additional 10,000 seniors would be able to cancel theirs as well. Allianz agreed to sell only those products that were likely to be of benefit to seniors as part of the settlement.
If you live in a state other than Minnesota or California and believe that you have been victimized by Allianz, contact your state attorney general's office to file a complaint.
Technically, Allianz did not break any laws by selling annuities to older Americans. However, the company sold products that clearly were inappropriate for older Americans, nearly ensuring that they these people would never receive a return on their investments. Review your financial agreements to ensure that they comply with the law and industry best practices.