Almost all life insurance companies offer annuities, and these companies distribute annuities to customers through a variety of different options. The list below is a summary of these various options, followed by an explanation of variable annuities:
- life insurance agencies;
- many stock brokerage firms;
- independent insurance agents and financial planners;
- independent insurance brokerage firms;
- direct to consumers through the mail and the internet. In addition, many banks now offer annuities (often through internal broker-dealers).
Variable annuities are considered securities under federal securities laws. Consequently, only agents who are licensed and have passed the applicable securities examinations may offer and sell variable annuities. In addition, prospective buyers must be given a prospectus. The prospectus must describe the product and its features and the company offering the product. The prospectus also must explain and detail expense charges, contract options, investment options, and related information.
Reproduced with permission. Copyright The National Underwriter Co. Division of ALM