Suit: Bankers Life sold elderly useless annuities

Defendant’s sales agents visited the plaintiff,  Mr. Rowe, who was then 81 years old, and successfully sold him and his wife an annuity that matured on Mr. Rowe’s 99th birthday.  Under the terms of the policy, withdrawing funds before the maturity date would result in substantial penalties.  According to the plaintiffs, Bankers Life didn’t explain the terms of the annuity adequately to the plaintiff.  The complaint goes on to state that Bankers Life marketed to the elderly because it was a vulnerable population that was susceptible to deceptive marketing.   The complaint even suggests that the company’s sales and marketing tactics violate elder abuse laws.

On a side note, this class action complaint, filed in Illinois federal court, is very detailed and contains information about Bankers Life corporate structure, line of business and operations.

Complaint courtesy Courthousenews

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16 Responses to “Suit: Bankers Life sold elderly useless annuities”

  1. Scott C. Gayle Says:

    Dear Mr. Wilson. Thank you for your posting. I would not know about the newly filed suit otherwise.

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  6. Dale Says:

    I didn’t know Bankers sold annuities with more than a ten-year maturity.

    And I find it interesting that of the five “responses,” four are loopbacks to Wilson’s own “articles.”

    Also – Bankers’ main product is Medicare Supplements. Wilson claims that Bankers targets the elderly because they’re more easily deceived. I wonder how he proposes to sell Medicare supplement policies to folks under age 65, since that’s the minimum age necessary to be eligible for Medicare.

    • Randy Wilson Says:

      Thanks for your comment Dale. I don’t think its the Medicare supplements that is the issue. And its not that people over 65 are easier to deceive so much as they are a much more vulnerable population, being more likely to live on a fixed income and to suffer from chronic disease. If they make bad decisions, they aren’t able to recover as easily as younger people.

  7. Aaron Says:

    I would suggest that you are somewhat misinformed. All annuities with Bankers have a penalty free withdrawal provision of at least 10% per year. Even CD’s have penalties for early withdrawal. Ironically, I have never heard of any complaints of the elderly being limited to a 60 or 72 month CD from a bank. A fixed annuity is a safe vehicle to put savings, have been for a long time, and unless the owner of the annuity intends to withdraw substantial amounts at a time, the surrender charges are not applicable. There are some distinct advantages to annuities for the elderly you could have pointed out. They are backed by a state guarantee association up to, in most states, $100 per contract. They can be turned into a stream of income that they can never outlive, like a pension. Annuities offer a competitive interest rate and avoid probate by paying proceeds directly to a beneficiary. It is easy to second guess anyone on almost any decision but some people might think an 81 year old man might have been around the block enough times to know what he wants and doesn’t want. The owner of an annuity, like the one you mention, was likely happy with his situation until someone came along, like an attorney, with the most honest and honorable intentions, and told him how he had been screwed. He might have been told how the attorney could get those no good SOB’s at that insurance company and teach them a lesson….. oh yea, and get $,$$$,$$$,$$$. What is even more likely is the attorney explained the situation to the 81 year old’s children and grand children and they said, “Daddy, you just don’t understand what has happened here. We have got to get that mean insurance company for doing this to you.”
    “Doing what,” says Paw Paw.
    “Taking your money,” says the children.
    “They took my money,” asked Paw Paw?
    “Yep, and we gonna get a pile of theirs with this lawyers help.”

    Could be a story there.

    • Randy Wilson Says:

      You might be right but I leave it to the courts to decide. There are unethical attorneys just as there are in every other walk of life.

  8. Douglas Winston Says:

    Hello. I just wanted to elaborate on the gentleman’s comment and knowledge about our products we offer to clients. Funny thing is, NONE of our annuties have more than a 10 year surrender schedule. If I did my math correctly, this man purchased at 81 years old and had the contact “mature” at 99? Think you should get your knowledge and facts right before accusing a company that has been around for 130 years. CD’s mature, annuities annuitize. It’s people like you that give big great companies a bad name because you like most the clien’ts we run into don’t know what and how an annuity works. I have been in the industry long enough to know that I have helped a numerous amount of individuals and families that still thank me today. Just baffles my mind that you can claim an 18 year contract. What a joke

    • Randy Wilson Says:

      Seems that there are two sides to this like every story. I’m willing to let the courts sort out whose liable for what.

      • Michael Says:


        Annuities do have a maturity date–however this date does not reflect the date at which the client may access his or her investment without penalty— instead maturity date indicates the year the annuity will be annuitized. Although, the insurance company will send the client a letter prior to this date informing the client and their annuity will not be annuitized unless the client indicates this by checking the box and returning the letter.

        And to those who responded both emotionally and inappropriately, from an outside perspective I assume you’re an agent with Banker’s Life and you don’t put them into a very good light. Randy’s post was objective and streamlined and several responses were accusatory and rude. Banker’s is a good company– I spent my early insurance years there learning the ropes and now I run a firm whose a large regional wholesaler for several different companies. Annuities can be good. Agents can be good. So don’t right off annuities as bad or Bankers as bad—just catalog each experience and make a choice for yourself.



  9. Betty Yaws Says:

    I am facing the same problem now. I just send the paper work to Calif. Insurance Dept. My mother was 93 at the time she was sold the annuity for my brother. Are you in a class action suit, or what. I would like to know.

  10. Mary Sullivan Says:

    I would like to join a class action suet against Bankers Life. I have been waiting for six months for them to pay my clame. I had a ramp put in six months ago. Home modification I was told by the agent that this was a benifit I was intitled to under my benifits of Longterm Care. However no check has come forth. Got a visit from my contractor this pm asking if I heard any thing from Bankers. I said no. I contacted the AZ insurance commission on this today. So I feel I have been taken advantage of being a blind woman an elder person. I think they call this abouse. So who is the Lawyer who is hanhandling this class action suet?

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