American Equity
Overall Satisfaction Rating
  • 5 stars
  • 4 stars
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  • 1 stars
Based on 34 ratings

American Equity Investment

Des Moines, IA

ConsumerAffairs Accredited Brand

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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42 American Equity Consumer Reviews

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Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
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.

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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.

14 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.

12 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.

23 people found this review helpful
Insufficient response received
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Sept. 18, 2018

My brother-in-law (co-owner & joint annuitant) passed away in February of 2018. My sister & I visited the sales agent involved with their Indexed Annuity which they purchased in July 2011. He sheepishly advised she could not transfer ownership to herself per the contract. Frankly this was a blessing in my opinion as I and most people familiar with annuities know most are consumer ripoffs laden with high sales fees and surrender charges. Fortunately there was a death benefit which added to the surrender value. Note my sister was a joint owner & co-annuitant on this contract.

When we contacted A/E to begin processing the payout, the stall began. They advised that because the payout exceeded $50,000 we would need to open or probate my brother-in-law's estate. Now, note, they live in a state with tenancy in common. All the property including this annuity was jointly owned so my sister was not required to probate her husband's estate in this state. The net impact on her was she had to hire a lawyer and open the estate only because A/E required this circus of needless activity. We still have not closed the estate but A/E has paid out the proceeds, but it sits in an estate account at my sister's bank!

A/E advertising literature on this indexed annuity has this quote on the bottom of page #2, "WHERE WILL YOUR RETIREMENT DOLLARS TAKE YOU?" "AVOIDANCE OF PROBATE:" "In the case of premature death, your beneficiaries have the accumulated funds within your annuity available to them and may avoid the expense, delay and publicity of probate. Your named beneficiaries can choose to receive the proceeds as monthly income or a lump sum payment." We are testament on the false advertising of A/E in our claim. My advice is to run for the hills when a so called Life Underwriter or Certified Financial Planner advises on any annuity let alone an A/E annuity. Nothing but expense, delay and publicity of probate will ensue. They get away with making their own rules, likely to delay any payouts!

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34 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.

52 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.

36 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.

26 people found this review helpful
Insufficient response received
Verified Reviewer
Original review: April 7, 2018

This annuity was sold to my aging father when he was 8 months away from turning 80 years old. He had advanced stage COPD and in clearly declining health. There was a high likelihood of assisted living care in his future as well as his wife's (already an Alzheimer patient). His primary request of any product purchased as liquidity. He was assured that was the case with American Equity Bonus Gold. With a very long accumulation phase and severe penalties on early withdrawal, I believe this was irresponsible of the salesman to suggest this product, and equally irresponsible for the company to *accept* the application in light of his advanced age. The one rider that may have been helpful to him (The Nursing Care Rider) was never offered. The other feature (Qualified Care Needs) is not available to applicants over 75 years old. That demonstrates the point clearly: This is not a product intended for an applicant nearing 80 years old.

Currently, he's 84 years old, in severely declining health and looking at assisted living costs that exceed his monthly income... with no way to access the all of his funds from this annuity. It's my assessment that his financial adviser and American Equity Life have engaged in predatory practices and have taken advantage of an elderly person with intentionally confusing product literature and sale tactics. I would obviously welcome any communication with this company, but at this point I can not recommend them for persons of advanced age.

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61 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.

30 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.

Profile picture of Jim Blankenship
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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