Better Business Bureau Alert

Annuity Services sends out millions of postcards nationally to anyone who meets the “profile” of an annuity policyholder, particularly senior citizens. The postcard is intended to be a lead generation devise. The company contacts target individuals that may be longtime holders of annuities, offering to review their contracts with an agent located in the recipients’ area.

The postcard being mailed nationally states, “This notice is to inform you that you may have an annuity that has reached the end of its surrender period.” Laws in Ohio and North Carolina require specific disclaimers to appear on the cards. In September 2005 Annuity Services Center modified their postcards to include a disclosure statement that if the consumer does not have an annuity, he or she should disregard the mailer.

The Bureau has received a large number of complaints from consumers across the country alleging that Annuity Service Center’s postcard is misleading and deceptive.

On Aug. 28, 2006, the Ohio Department of Insurance issued a Notice of Opportunity for Hearing to Investors Union LLC to respond to allegations of using unfair and deceptive insurance trade practices in soliciting annuity business in Ohio. Investors Union LLC has until Sept. 22, 2006, to request a hearing.

* In December 2005, the Kansas Department of Insurance issued a Cease and Desist Order for Investors Union LLC, for soliciting the sale of insurance without the necessary license and misleading advertising.

* In February 2006, the State of Utah Department of Insurances issued a Cease and Desist Order for Investors Union LLC to stop soliciting or advertising insurance or attempting to obtain leads for the sale of insurance to residents of the State of Utah.

* On Aug. 14, 2006, the Missouri Department of Insurance announced it has ordered Investor Union LLC to prove that it is in compliance with the insurance laws in Missouri or be shut down. Investors Union LLC has 15 days to request a hearing to respond the order. If the company elects not to request a hearing, the Missouri Department of Insurance will order Investor Union LLC to stop related business practices and pay a fine or forfeiture for its unlawful practices.

* On Aug. 22, 2006, the Delaware Department of Insurance filed a complaint stating that the firm may be engaging in an unfair trade practice under Delaware law, and a hearing has been set for Sept.13, 2006.