No Agent Annuities?

Be Careful About Empty Promises

portrait of person in business attire
Not all insurance agents are created equal. Be leery of those who think your financial life as an opportunity to sell you something.

By Nimish Shukla, CFA

I’ve seen a lot of misinformation recently about “no-agent annuities.” I thought it was important to correct these half-truths.

  1. You can’t buy an annuity without an agent. Any company that is telling you they have “no-agent” annuities is misleading you (or breaking the law). The truth is that digital brokerages, like ours, are agents, too. If we weren’t, it wouldn’t be legal for us to sell you these products. It’s not insurance agents that are the problem. It’s the way most of them try too hard to sell you something you don’t need and don’t have an array of products from across the market.
  2. You can buy an annuity online in a new way that cuts out all of the hassle. You can purchase an online annuity through an digital agency that offers products from the majority of carriers, discloses their commissions on each product, and is focused on giving you sound, data-driven advice rather than a sales pitch. This is a different process than the way a traditional insurance agent operates.
  3. You can use a tool to determine if and which annuities are right for you. An online platform for learning about annuities, getting advice about whether to purchase and then seeing quotes in real-time exists (you’re looking at it). On the Abaris platform, you can talk to an agent if you’d like, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. At no point will an agent pressure you into a sale.
  4. You can actively choose to buy. There’s a big difference between the type of buying process where someone is trying to sell you something versus seeking information and advice about whether you should purchase a financial product like an income annuity that you independently thought about buying. Be careful you don’t end up getting sold instead of actively choosing to buy. This is a subtle but important difference.
  5. You can see annuity quotes online without jumping through hoops. Most annuity “websites” today don’t actually offer you the ability to see quotes online. These websites might take the information you provide and sell it to a third party, or, at best, email you quotes. In some cases, these sites are even worse than an annuity agent, so be careful.