Can Fixed Annuities Fail?

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Can Fixed annuities Fail?

Fixed annuities are generally considered stable and reliable financial products primarily because they offer contractually guaranteed interest rates and income streams. These guarantees are set in the annuity contract and are not directly subject to market fluctuations, which is a significant advantage for those seeking predictable income in retirement.

However, it is important to recognize that fixed annuities are not entirely risk-free. The primary risk associated with fixed annuities arises from the financial stability of the issuing insurance company. If the insurance company faces financial difficulties or fails, the guarantees of the fixed annuity might be at risk. In such a scenario, annuity payments could be reduced, delayed, or, in extreme cases, cease altogether.

Mitigating The Risk

To mitigate this risk, insurance companies are regulated and required to maintain certain reserve levels to ensure they can meet their obligations. Moreover, State Guaranty Associations (SGAs) provide an additional layer of protection. In the event of an insurance company’s failure, SGAs protect policyholders, including those with fixed annuities, up to certain limits. These limits vary by state but typically cover a portion of the annuity’s value or income stream.

Despite these protections, it is essential for annuity buyers to conduct due diligence on the financial strength and stability of the insurance company issuing the annuity. Ratings from independent agencies like A.M. Best, Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch can provide valuable insights into the insurer’s financial health.

Are Fixed Annuities Risk Free

Risks and Protections for Fixed Annuities

  1. Primary Risk: The financial stability of the issuing insurance company.
  2. Regulatory Protections: Insurance companies are regulated and required to maintain reserves.
  3. State Guaranty Associations: Protect up to certain limits in case of insurer failure.
  4. Ratings: Ratings from agencies like A.M. Best and Moody’s assess insurers’ financial strength.


In conclusion, while fixed annuities are generally safe and stable, they can face risks if the issuing insurance company encounters financial problems. However, regulatory protections and SGAs offer a degree of safety for annuity owners. It is advisable to review the insurer’s ratings and financial health before purchasing a fixed annuity to ensure long-term stability and peace of mind. Contact us today for a free quote.

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Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Shawn Plummer is a licensed financial professional, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

The Annuity Expert is an independent online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. The goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning and find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates

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