Annuities & Disappearing Surrender Charges

Surrender charges on fee-based variable annuities seem to be retreating faster than the polar ice caps, new filings reveal.

“These advisor-sold contracts typically have no surrender or a very short surrender (period) with very low penalties,” said Kevin Loffredi, senior product manager, annuity solutions, for Morningstar.
Surrender charges penalize an annuity contract holder for canceling the contract before a certain date. They also allow insurance companies to recoup their commissions paid upfront to advisors on the sale of a commission-based contract.

For annuity buyers, contracts with shorter or no surrender penalties is advantageous. In the past several months, there has been a rush of insurance companies introducing products with better surrender charge solutions. The challenge for them will be distribution.

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