Florida Health Insurance Terms:
"What are Annuity?"
Annuity: A contract sold by a life insurance company that provides fixed or variable payments to an annuitant, either immediately or at a future date.
Annuities have been in existence for well over two hundred years. The very first mention of Annuities in the United States was the use of these products by the Presbyterian Church in 1740 to provide security for the clergy and widows. Annuities allow you to accumulate tax-deferred funds for retirement and then, if you desire, receive a guaranteed income (this process is called Annuitization) payable for life or for a specified period of time: generally a term of five or ten years.
Annuities are offered by Insurance companies and sold through licensed agents. The insurance company must be evaluated and licensed in your state as does the agent. State insurance commissions scrutinize Insurance companies to ensure they have reserve funds, commonly referred to as State Legal Reserve Pools, in place to protect investors before granting insurance companies licenses.
If an insurance company goes out of business other insurance companies licensed in state must assume bankrupt insurers obligations and liabilities. Note that this protection protects fixed-rate annuity holders only, with some protection afforded to variable annuity owners.
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