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American Equity Investment

Des Moines, IA

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

American Equity is an insurance company that specializes in retirement annuities. The company offers a variety of annuity types, including traditional fixed and fixed-index annuities. While American Equity doesn’t disclose its rates and fees online, you can request more information on its website.

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American Equity offers plans with traditional fixed and fixed-index annuities, including an immediate option that pays in 12 months. The company doesn’t list its rates online, but it does offer an annual, penalty-free withdrawal.

  • Some plans promise lifetime income
  • Annual no-penalty withdrawal
  • Steady funds despite stock market
  • Annuities not guaranteed by FDIC
  • Penalties for early withdrawal

Top American Equity Reviews We Found

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Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer

It is very nice experience to have a deal with American Annual Equity. Their customer service is excellent… Their withdrawal options allows us that what we need actually. So I will happily recommend their product to everyone if they ask me. It is a relevant, reliable company to all…

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Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer

Good experience from working with sales to customer service. Never had a problem. All questions were answered within a day. Payout options, pay dates, survivor options, were all explained. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a lifetime payout.

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American Equity Investment Get Pricing 

What is American Equity?

American Equity is a retirement annuity provider that offers both fixed-index and traditional fixed annuity products for customers aged 18 to 85. Its fixed-index surrender charge schedules range from five to 16 years. Its products include:

  • Destinations 10
  • AssetShield 5, 7 and 10
  • IncomeShield 5, 7 and 10
  • Bonus Gold
  • Retirement Gold

The Bonus Gold and Retirement Gold plans have the option to guarantee you won’t outlive your income. American Equity also offers a market value adjustment option for many of its annuities.

Its traditional fixed annuities include Guarantee 5, 6 and 7. Guarantee Series annuities offer a yearly, penalty-free accrued interest withdrawal. With its nursing care rider, your annuity is eligible for penalty-free withdrawal after three contract years if you’re committed to a qualified nursing care center for 90 days or more; its terminal illness rider is another penalty-free withdrawal option. The company also offers an annuity that starts paying immediately.

How does American Equity work?

American Equity's fixed-index options provide both principal protection and growth opportunities to assist with stock market fluctuations. Some of these fixed-index annuities reach 0% surrender charge, but surrender value never falls below 87.5% of the premium. The lowest surrender charge for American Equity’s traditional fixed annuities is 3% (with the Guarantee 7 plan); the Guarantee plans’ surrender values will never be less than 90% of the premium.

Most American Equity products allow a penalty-free withdrawal one time per contract year after the initial year. When the annuity matures, you start receiving income payments based on your investments. The company’s immediate annuities start paying out after 12 months. You can choose a guaranteed income for life or a set period — its other annuities last five to 16 years. A surviving joint owner or beneficiary gets the contract value in the event of the owner’s death.

American Equity rates

American Equity doesn’t provide rate or fee information on its website, but you can use its rate calculator to figure what percentage of growth you need to reach your savings goals. Typically, with a fixed annuity, the longer the surrender period, the higher the growth rate, and fixed annuity rates tend to be higher than rates for CDs.

American Equity FAQ

What’s the difference between American Equity’s annuities and a mutual fund?
American Equity offers fixed annuities that grow at a fixed predetermined rate the company sets upon purchase. A mutual fund grows at a variable rate based on stock performance.
Where is American Equity located?
American Equity is located in West Des Moines, Iowa, and it’s available nationwide.
Who owns American Equity?
American Equity Investment Life Holding Company owns American Equity.
What types of annuities does American Equity offer?
American Equity offers fixed and fixed-index annuities.

Is American Equity worth it?

American Equity specializes in fixed annuities. For those who want to put money away for retirement and have a guaranteed income, fixed annuities are a stable investment. Though fixed annuity fees tend to be higher than mutual fund fees, their return is guaranteed. American Equity allows one penalty-free withdrawal per year, which sets it apart from other annuity companies on the market; however, its investment rates and fees aren’t listed online.

American Equity Reviews

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2 featured reviews
How do I know I can trust these reviews about American Equity?
How do I know I can trust these reviews about American Equity?
  • 3,057,428 reviews on ConsumerAffairs are verified.
  • We require contact information to ensure our reviewers are real.
  • We use intelligent software that helps us maintain the integrity of reviews.
  • Our moderators read all reviews to verify quality and helpfulness.

For more information about reviews on please visit our FAQ.

Page 1 Reviews 0 - 10
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 16, 2020

I was recent retired and wanted my money somewhat safe and I would never lose money and would make a minimum of 6%. It seems to never make more than 6% even though the market is sky rocking. We looked at moving and this is where the surprise came in. We were never told that it was like a 16 year contract. If we take our money out before than we would lose a big share of our investment. I ask the representative at the time about this and he said we could take our money out anytime we wanted but omitted the important detail about the huge penalty we would have to pay. Very dishonest in my world.

Tried to contact the company to ask this question and the person would deflect from the question about this and said I will have to get back to you and to this time no return phone call. At my age why would me or anyone sign a 16 year contract on their savings. If I had read these reviews I would have used a different company as I would suspect other people would have.

American Equity response

James, we are sorry to hear about your experience and it is important that we understand your concerns. Someone from our company will be following up with you shortly.

29 people found this review helpful

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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.

    33 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.

    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.

    39 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.

    33 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.

    44 people found this review helpful
    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.

    89 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.

    American Equity response

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

    56 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.

    39 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.

    41 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.

    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.

    32 people found this review helpful
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    American Equity Company Information

    Company Name:
    American Equity
    6000 Westown Parkway
    Postal Code:
    United States