Friday, March 02, 2012

Sell an Annuity, Go to Jail?

This is kind of scary:

"An agent sells [an] annuity to an 83-year-old. As it turns out, the client had some form of dementia (although the agent didn’t see signs of it and was not informed by the client or her relatives about her dementia)."

So far, sounds pretty ordinary. One might question the suitability of an equity indexed annuity for someone in that demographic, but if one assumes that the agent did his "due diligence" in determining that, then there wouldn't seem to be much of a problem.

Apparently, though, there was:

"[I]nvestigations ensued, and the agent was charged with felony theft. This is ironic since he did not steal anything and since the annuity never lost money."

There were some surrender charges (although one would imagine that the carrier would probably waive these under the circumstances). But theft? That seems a stretch. I've never sold an equity indexed product, so there may well be something I'm missing here, but this certainly seems to be shooting a fly with an elephant gun.
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