The Register Guard is reporting that Oregon state officials ordered Bankers Life and Casualty Co to refund money to some of the senior citizens to whom it sold annuities. The company was also told to "overhaul the way it does business," said Cheryl Martinis, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Consumer and Business Services.
Bankers Life and Casualty Co. has already given refunds, on the state’s orders, to approximately 20 seniors who were sold about 30 annuities, Martinis said Thursday. "In a huge number of cases, the annuities tied up all their money so they didn’t have enough to pay expenses," she said. "One man from the [Willamette] Valley had a very sick wife. [The annuity] tied up money he had had in the stock market. He had to do a reverse mortgage to pay for home health care.”
According to the article, many of the seniors had no idea they were buying annuities and in one case, the buyer had dementia. Some of the buyers already had long term care policies with the company and were responding to solicitations about ways to lower their medical costs. Instead, they were sold annuities.
State officials said Bankers Life has cooperated in developing the action plan laid out in the state’s order, and agreed to the order and the fine. Martinis said Bankers Life has been ordered to review other annuities it has sold, offer refunds if the sales were unsuitable, and take steps to protect future clients. The details of how the review will be conducted are still being worked out, she said, adding, "Not everybody has a policy that is unsuitable."