Annuity Providers

Annuity providers include insurance companies, independent brokers, banks and other financial groups. There are many reputable companies that sell annuities, but always do your research before investing your money.

Although you can purchase an annuity at any time in your life, most annuity purchasers are those nearing retirement, or people in their mid-career planning for retirement who wish to protect their assets. Annuities are built to protect this money and secure future income for when you’ll need it most, so it’s important to purchase your annuity from a reputable provider.

Annuity providers include insurance companies, independent brokers, banks and other financial groups. There are many reputable companies that sell annuities, but always do your research before investing your money.

Because annuities are considered an insurance product, only insurance companies can issue them. The same large corporations that sell life, home, automobile and other types of insurance in the United States also sell the majority of annuity contracts.

While there are hundreds of annuity issuers in America, the country’s major firms account for about 90 percent of all annuities sold each year. Generally, each company will sell one or more of the four basic types of annuities – immediate, deferred, fixed, and variable – while also tailoring offerings with many different variations, such as equity indexed, flexible premium.

Not All Annuities Are Sold by Insurance Companies

Although an annuity must be issued by an insurance company, not all annuities contracts are sold to the public directly via the issuing company’s own agents. In fact, the majority of annuities in America are purchased from:

  • Annuity distributors, including large brokerage firms, known as wire houses, such as Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley
  • Independent broker-dealers, like Raymond James
  • Large banks, such as Bank of America
  • Mutual fund companies like Vanguard and T. Rowe Price
  • Thousands of independent agents, brokers and financial advisors across the country

If you purchase an annuity from one of these middlemen, normally you will continue to work with them directly as you manage your contract, even though you will also receive information from the insurance company from time to time.

For example, if you own a variable-rate annuity, you will receive quarterly statements from the insurance company regarding the contract’s underlying accounts, but if you want to make changes to those accounts, you might do it through the agent who sold you the contract.

If you receive checks from an insurance company as part of a structured settlement that was the result of an accident or injury claim, there is no middleman. You will deal with the insurance company directly.

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Which Companies Sell Annuities?

Unlike the checking, savings and money market accounts at your bank or credit union, annuities are not guaranteed by the federal government. Instead, they’re backed by the insurance company that issues them.

That means you should do considerable research in the company before choosing a purchaser. Some factors to consider include:

  • Rating from an independent ratings company like Standard & Poor’s, Fitch, AM Best, Moody’s, and TheStreet.com
  • Death benefits
  • Surrender fees, should you choose to withdraw the funds early
  • Yearly fees and other administrative fees
  • Minimum guaranteed return
  • The provider’s financial health
  • Online reviews

Here is an alphabetical list of some of the main annuity issuers in the $2.7 trillion annuity industry with the highest rating:

Allstate

Founded in 1931 and headquartered in Northfield Township, Ill., Allstate is the second-largest personal lines insurer in the country and the largest that is publicly owned. It sells deferred and immediate fixed annuities.

American Equity Investment Life Holding Company

American Equity is an industry leader in the development and sale of fixed-index and fixed-rate annuity products. It is licensed to sell in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Its business strategy is to focus primarily on annuities and earn predictable returns by managing investment spreads and investment risk.

American National Insurance Company

American National was founded in 1905 by William L. Moody, Jr. and is headquartered in Galveston, Texas. A major provider of insurance and annuities, its products are distributed through career agents, independent marketing organizations and multiple line exclusive agents, as well as direct distribution channels.

Fidelity Insurance Network

Fidelity sells immediate fixed income annuities from other providers like Mass Mutual, MetLife, New York Life and the Principal for investors who want a predictable income stream starting immediately. Minimum investment is generally $10,000.

Genworth Financial

Genworth Financial was founded as the Life Insurance Company of Virginia in 1871. Its products and services include life and long-term care policies, wealth management, and annuities.

ING

The International Netherlands Group is based in Amsterdam, Holland. In 2012, ING was the world’s largest banking/financial services and insurance conglomerate by revenue with gross receipts exceeding $150 billion. It sells indexed and fixed immediate annuities.

John Hancock

Founded in 1862, John Hancock operates today as a subsidiary of Canadian-based Manulife Financial. Its products include life insurance, mutual funds, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance and annuities. The company sells these products primarily through licensed financial advisors and a national network of independent firms.

Lincoln Financial Group

Lincoln Financial offers a diverse range of financial services including life insurance, retirement plans and annuities – fixed, and fixed and variable-indexed. The company is based in Philadelphia. Lincoln Financial sold $11.76 billion in annuities in 2016.

MetLife

MetLife is among the world’s largest providers of insurance, annuities, and employee benefit programs with 90 million customers in over 60 countries. It was founded in 1868 and is based in New York City. MetLife sold $6.8 billion in annuities in 2016.

Midland National Life Insurance Company

Founded as the Dakota Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1906, Midland National now services more than 1 million life and annuity policies. It also has an A+ rating from Standard & Poor’s.

Mutual of Omaha

Founded in 1909 and made famous by its long-time sponsorship of a popular Wild Kingdom television show, Mutual of Omaha offers deferred and immediate annuities.

New York Life

New York Life is one of the largest life insurance companies in the world and one of only three life insurers to hold the highest ratings from all four rating companies. Founded in 1845 as the Nautilus Insurance Company, New York Life sells annuities, long-term care insurance and mutual funds through its subsidiary NYLIFE Securities, a registered broker-dealer. New York Life sold $8.08 billion in annuities in 2016.

Pacific Life

Pacific Life was founded in 1868 by Leland Stanford in Sacramento, CA. In 1955, it became the first company west of the Mississippi River to computerize its operations. Pacific Life sells fixed and variable annuities. The company rebranded itself in 1997, adopting the humpback whale as its symbol because of the whale’s persistence, performance and strength.

Prudential

Prudential sells life Insurance, mutual funds, group insurance, retirement services, investment management services and variable annuities. Founded in 1876 and based in Newark, N.J., Prudential’s symbol is the Rock of Gibraltar, an icon of strength and stability. Prudential sold $8.01 billion in annuities in 2016.

TIAA-CREF

The acronym stands for Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund. TIAA-CREF is the chief retirement vendor for people in the academic, medical and cultural professions. Created in 1918 by the New York State legislature to provide retirement income for college professors, the company serves 3.7 million active and retired employees. TIAA-CREF sold $9.38 billion in annuities in 2016.

* Annuity.org has no relationship in any way to any of the listed issuers and is not engaged in the issuance of new annuity policies.

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