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Annuity (Financial Contracts) Summary

Annuity (American)

In the United States, an annuity is a structured (insurance) product that each state approves and regulates. It is designed using a mortality table and mainly guaranteed by a life insurer. There are many different varieties of annuities sold by carriers. In a typical scenario, an investor (usually the annuitant) will make a single cash premium to own an annuity. After the policy is issued the owner may elect to annuitize the contract (start receiving payments) for a chosen period of time (e.g., 5, 10, 20 years, a lifetime). This process is called annuitization and can also provide a predictable, guaranteed stream of future income during retirement until the death of the annuitant (or joint annuitants). Alternatively, an investor can defer annuitizing their contract to get larger payments later, hedge long-term care cost increases, or maximize a lump sum death benefit for a named beneficiary.

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