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American Equity Investment

Des Moines, IA

American Equity
Overall Satisfaction Rating 2.37/5
  • 5 stars
  • 4 stars
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  • 1 stars
Based on 35 ratings

We are a top-tier retirement income provider specializing in fixed index annuities. Our products are designed to protect principal and guarantee income. We are an American-owned and operated company headquartered in the heart of the Midwest, where we help fund more than half a million retirements across the country.

Our commitment to product integrity and excellent customer service helped establish us as a leading issuer of fixed index annuities. “The One Who Works for You®” serves as more than a company tagline, it is our business philosophy. We were founded on a people-first culture, where excellent service is paramount and you can expect personal, courteous and timely solutions from our team.

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Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 5, 2020

One star was required to submit this - my real opinion is negative stars. The agent, who sold my aunt two policies, refuses to return calls and presumably moved away and retired. This is because he scammed her and should face charges. My aunt trusted him because she had worked with him for many years (using mutual funds). The only people who benefited from her decision were the agent due to the exorbitant commission (over 10 percent) and the stock holders of American Equity.

I am an experienced investor and no one at the company could explain to me how the product worked. After much research, I learned that not only is the annuity NOT invested in the Index 500 as my aunt understood it, but the funds are used to purchase futures contracts on the index. These track market volatility over various time periods (or lack of it) and have no direct correlation to standard investment returns like money market funds, stocks, bonds, REIT’s or gold. The company guarantees your principal investment will never go down (a negative return) but as we have found, there is also no guarantee that your investment will grow (over the nine years we have been locked in with no liquidity, we have had a “zero” return twice - even when all asset classes were positive in those years).

Again, there is NO CORRELATION between investment results of this product and any standard investment because this IS A FUTURES CONTRACT which, like most futures, is not appropriate for most investors due to very high risk. In years where our futures contracts did make money, the amount is always capped by the company. If we had left the $200,000 in a completely accessible money market fund over the last nine years - even in a very, very low interest environment, I am confident we would have made more money and guaranteed our principal would never have gone down. Now when we need the funds to pay for nursing home care, they are still not available to us. Not sure why this company hasn’t been investigated for fraud...they have a good legal team, I guess.

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    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: July 30, 2019

    Months prior to obtaining this annuity, my husband and I met with the representative 5 or 6 times. We discussed our business and were convinced to believe that this person was actually concerned about situation. As time went on the topic changed to this annuity. We ended up losing our business but this didn't stop the rep from pushing us in to something we did not understand completely or couldn't afford. We need that money to get back on our feet after our business loss. For us to take a partial amount out of the annuity will kill us with interest and fees. If we surrender the policy, we will lose half of the money that my husband worked hard for. We haven't heard from our representative since the transaction, which I see is commonplace in many of the comments.

    American Equity response

    Thank you for sharing your comments. Someone from our company will be in contact with you shortly.

    10 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Feb. 3, 2019

    My husband passed away so we called in November to get correct initial investment and gains. The amounts provided were incorrect. Received a letter correcting the error in December, then filed for the payout. They send the wrong amount as the amounts in the account were never corrected. That also stated check was sent in mid December and it was never mailed. Called in early January to inform them the check was incorrect and was assured it would be addressed and a new check for Delta would be sent before the end of January. This did not happen. They filed with IRS incorrect paperwork as well.

    I called in February to see why they filed incorrect amount to IRS to get status on if they mailed the check. At this point they claimed they had no notes, and there was no issue. And did not owe me any money. Interesting, as I have date and name of who I spoke to that confirmed their errors on each occasion. And they owe me money and new Tax documents. I have been getting the runaround now for 2 months.

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    American Equity response

    Thank you for taking the time to speak with American Equity on February 7th about your concerns. We are happy we were able to resolve this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us directly if you need anything in the future.

    19 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 3 stars
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Jan. 22, 2019

    Have had an annuity for around three years - was told by my rep after me and my wife both purchased an annuity there would be yearly reviews and he would keep in touch. I have never heard one word from him since time of purchase. Overall plan seems to be doing okay but I would rate my representative at total zero.

    American Equity response

    Hello William, we are sorry to hear about your experience with your agent! We appreciate your feedback and would like to make things right. Someone from our resolution department will be contacting you to assist you.

    15 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Oct. 26, 2018

    Realized made huge mistake buying gold annuity from this co. Return very low and contract very long compared to other annuity on the market who perform at a much better rate and give you more flexibility to manage your account. Was convinced by sleazy agent that this was a great deal.

    American Equity response

    We are sorry to hear about your recent experience Ted. We value your feedback and will be in contact with you shortly.

    27 people found this review helpful
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    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Sept. 1, 2018

    I contacted American Equity to ask about surrendering my account due to financial hardships because of having to bury my dad. AE contacted me and basically told me that I was out of luck until 2030, unless I wanted to pay the surrender charges which are outrageous. It is horrible to be tied into something and have no way out... And for the percentage it's gaining, I may as well have my money under a mattress. I will not put another penny into this company.

    63 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Aug. 8, 2018

    Updated on 11/07/2018: My final words on this trainwreck of an annuity. In my last review in August I expressed my dismay with this product. My prediction of another 0% yearly was wrong. It turned out to be $945 or 3/4 of a percent, WOW! Unfortunately my 11 month summary showed a surprising $7300 return. I then was on the S&P watch for the next month. I watched it dribble down next to nothing and there was nothing I could do. This happened to me 4 years ago as I watched a 11% return drop to 6%. What's the point of the 11 month summary anyway.

    In a bad year you know a month early if you're getting no return. In a year that's shows a decent return. You have to cross your fingers like I did and hope for the best or in this case the worst. When they say after your comments you will be contacted it doesn't mean they will help you, just explain what you already know about the product. That you signed etc. Nothing about improving it. She did point out in years I received on return there were indexes that were positive that I could have picked. Now besides lucky it helps to be psychic. I was happy to see some comments where people received a 10% plus 2018 return for the month their annuity started. I guess I also picked the wrong month to buy too. My guess is that their next year won't be nearly as good. The good news for me is only 4 years left on this poor investment and I look forward to getting my 10% out yearly. Thank all of you who read this for taking the time!

    Original Review: October 19th 2012 I bought S&P stock index annuity Contract number **. Broker showed me impressive ten-year graph and mentioned the next day he was giving a client the good news of a 12% return for the year. I know returns aren't guaranteed but it was definitely implied, if not why show me anything. As the S&P has almost doubled my return stands at 19%. I expect no return this year so that will be 3 out of 6 years of no return. The broker should have greatly stressed how one or 2 bad months could completely destroy your yearly returns but he didn't. This has all happened in a raging bull market. My expectations for the next 4 years are zero. But not for the horrific surrender charges I'd gladly take my cash and put it into a 3% CD. The product seems like a win for American Equity and the broker but for the investor, it's all about luck and I've had none. I'm sure there are many others with similar stories, Thanks for letting me vent.

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    American Equity response

    Thank you for sharing your comments. Someone from our company will be in contact with you soon.

    39 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Aug. 2, 2018

    We tried to make a request for a simple withdrawal of a portion of our account. The first person we spoke to after waiting over 10 days gave us an uneducated response delaying the deposit even longer. The person processing the withdrawal made a 20% error upward to the amount we requested and then taxed the higher amount. All paperwork submitted to American Equity was correct. Their incompetent employees made the errors.

    American Equity response

    Wen, We are sorry to hear about your experience and thank you for bringing it to our attention. Someone from our office will be contacting you shortly.

    28 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: March 26, 2018

    This might be fine for younger people who are coming in at a time of low interest rates, but I was confused by Matt ** on this and am stuck with an awful contract, having turned over fixed 3% annuities into this risky low-return disaster. Now I'm stuck with it.

    American Equity response

    Brenda, We're sorry to hear about your experience. Thank you for your feedback and the time you took to speak with us about your recent review.

    31 people found this review helpful
    Customer increased Rating by 1 stars!
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: March 13, 2018

    My parent owned two annuities from American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company. One was a Deferred Annuity that transferred to my siblings and myself without complaint. The second Annuity (I suspect it was a SPIA - Single Premium Immediate Annuity) was annuitized during while my parents were living. Upon the death of each parent, I was appointed as the executor of each Estate. As the Executor I have the duty to collect all funds, file all taxes, and distribute all residual property. Upon the death of my mother (predeceased by my Father) the payments ended. This could possibly be appropriate if the contract was written as such. But the contract could have included a payout for a specific (or minimum) time period.

    Today I called American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company to request information regarding the documentation they would require in order to provided the needed details. I was told that they would supply a copy of the contract and/or history only if I have a Court order. I explained that I have a letter of Qualification (issued by the court) showing that I am the individual that has been appointment the court to settle the affairs of the Estates. I was told that this was not adequate. And I need a Court Order before any information would be provided.

    I question the origin of the requirement and the Representative stated that it was Company Policy. The representative is willing to tell me verbally that the contract has been closed (i.e., no more payments) but is unwilling to send supporting documentation. This puts me in a bind in two ways. (1) I cannot support with written evidence that I did my duty of collecting all funds of the Estate(s). And (2) The final individual income tax return should possibly include a deduction for the tax loss on this annuity.

    Unrecovered Investment in Annuity: A retiree who contributed to the cost of an annuity can exclude from income a part of each payment received as a tax-free return of the retiree's investment. If the retiree dies before the entire investment is recovered tax free, any unrecovered investment can be deducted on the retiree's final income tax return.

    Why would a company have a policy of requiring a court order if a person can support that the court assign that same person the duty of collecting all funds, taxing the tax returns, and other duties? There was another complaint about this requirement by another dissatisfied executor. If you buy an American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company's annuity you might be creating a hardship on your children. What do they have to hide? My next call will be to the Virginia Insurance Commissioner.

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    American Equity response

    Sam, we appreciate the time you took to tell us about your experience. It was our pleasure to work with you following your review and we are happy we were able to come to a resolution. Please do not hesitate to contact us directly if you need anything in the future.

    23 people found this review helpful
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    American Equity expert review by Jim Blankenship

    American Equity is an annuity provider that sells multiple types of annuities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. They are a publically-traded company that is American-owned and operated.

    • Product options: American Equity offers a variety of products so that it can meet the all customers’ needs. Their products include traditional fixed annuities, fixed index annuities, flexible premium annuities, single premium annuities and immediate annuities.

    • Financial strength: Both A.M. Best Company and Standards and Poor have given American Equity an A- rating. The company manages more than $40 billion in assets.

    • Educational resources: Interested consumers can visit the American Equity website to access several resources. The website offers calculators to help consumers understand the benefits of different types of annuities and a list of helpful links so that consumers can learn more before investing with any company.

    • Responsive service: American Equity customers can expect a prompt response to their phone calls and contracts are usually issued less than three days.

    • Consumer guidance: American Equity can offer assistance at any stage of consumers’ annuity purchase, from understanding what an annuity is to receiving the payouts from their annuity.

    • Best for: Savers, savers plus income generators and retirees.

    by Jim Blankenship Investments and Retirement Planning Expert

    Jim Blankenship is a Certified Financial Planner with over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. He is the founder and principal of Blankenship Financial Planning, Ltd., has earned the Enrolled Agent designation and is a NAPFA-registered financial advisor. Prior to establishing his independent firm, Jim operated a successful tax preparation service and managed information technology operations for a major financial services corporation. Jim is the author of three books and a contributor to the blog, Getting Your Financial Ducks in a Row.

    American Equity Company Information

    Company Name:
    American Equity
    6000 Westown Parkway
    Postal Code:
    United States
    (888) 221-1234

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