Annuity contracts in the United States are defined by the Internal Revenue Code and regulated by the individual states. Variable annuities have features of both life insurance and investment products. In the U.S., annuity insurance may be issued only by life insurance companies, although private annuity contracts may be arranged between donors to non-profits to reduce taxes. Insurance companies are regulated by the states, so contracts or options that may be available in some states may not be available in others. Their federal tax treatment, however, is governed by the Internal Revenue Code. Variable annuities are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the sale of variable annuities is overseen by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) (the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States).
There are two possible phases for an annuity, one phase in which the customer deposits and accumulates money into an account (the deferral phase), and another phase in which customers receive payments for some period of time (the annuity or income phase). During this latter phase, the insurance company makes income payments that may be set for a stated period of time, such as five years, or continue until the death of the customer(s) (the "annuitant(s)") named in the contract. Annuitization over a lifetime can have a death benefit guarantee over a certain period of time, such as ten years. Annuity contracts with a deferral phase always have an annuity phase and are called deferred annuities. An annuity contract may also be structured so that it has only the annuity phase; such a contract is called an immediate annuity. Note this is not always the case.
Read more about this topic: Annuity (US Financial Products)
Famous quotes containing the word general:
“The general tendency of things throughout the world is to render mediocrity the ascendant power among mankind.”
—John Stuart Mill (18061873)
“An aristocratic culture does not advertise its emotions. In its forms of expression it is sober and reserved. Its general attitude is stoic.”
—Johan Huizinga (18721945)
“The general public is easy. You dont have to answer to anyone; and as long as you follow the rules of your profession, you neednt worry about the consequences. But the problem with the powerful and rich is that when they are sick, they really want their doctors to cure them.”
—Molière [Jean Baptiste Poquelin] (16221673)