San Francisco, CA: An annuities class action lawsuit has been filed against ING by Ernest Abbit of California, alleging the financial services firm indexed financial instruments that failed to meet the advertised goals and that company officials failed to properly advise seniors of the risks associated with investing in the annuities.
According to the lawsuit, the stated goal of ING indexed annuities, is to provide seniors in various age groups with "protection of principal", which means reducing the risks of investment while using various investments productsaimed at "fueling the value of our annuity" "to build up your retirement savings." Abbit claims ING failed to back up their claims.
Abbit alleges in the class action, that he, and others similarly situated, have lost as much as 20 percent of their savings, "on the first day" of investment, due to the lack of information regarding what the product provided. His returns are allegedly a fraction of those an investor would have received by investing in the S&P 500 as a whole, the index his annuity was allegedly designed to mirror.
Specifically, the lawsuit, The ING Annuity Class Action Lawsuit, entitled Ernest O. Abbit, et al. v. ING USA Annuity and Life Insurance Company, Case No. 13-cv-2310, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, claims that ING’s the financial instruments are "wolves-in-sheep's clothing" and that their statements are "opaque." The lawsuit claims that not only did the instruments fail to return as advertised, but that those investments contained "embedded derivatives" similar to those that led to the financial collapse in 2008. ING indexed annuities were structured, the lawsuit claims, so that the company would benefit from any derivatives income while at the same time putting it senior investors at risk for losses.
According to the class action, in 2005 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which is the financial services industry’s self-governing body operating as a private monitor, warned that the products Abbit and others were invested in were accompanied by sales material that "do not fully describe the features and risks of the products." Other insurance companies allegedly changing their annuity obligations or not being able to meet those obligations are Aviva, Transamerica, The Principal Financial Group, MetLife, Prudential, Guggenheim and Genworth. Variable annuity holders who purchased their annuities in the past three years from those companies may be eligible to file a claim against those companies.