An Index Annuity guarantees a fixed minimum interest rate and protection of principal while providing the investor with the potential for receiving a higher rate of interest based upon the performance of "a market type" index, such as the Standard and Poor's 500 index. The primary advantage of an index annuity is the protection it affords the accounts balance in a declining stock market and the potential of higher return in a rising stock market.
The guarantee of the protection of the principal balance matched by the potential for a higher interest crediting rate can make this product complicated with respect to costs, fees and the rate crediting formula of the Index Annuity. Due to the complexities of the product investors should obtain all the facts prior to making a purchase.
Key items such as:
- Index used
- Method of crediting
- Participation percentage credit to the account should be clearly understood and known to the investor
If you surrender your equity-indexed annuity (EAI) early, you may have to pay a significant surrender charge and a 10% tax penalty that will reduce or eliminate any return. Guarantees and payments are based on the claims-paying ability of Issuer and not on the value of the securities within the account. Because interest is not credited until the end of the term, you may not receive any index-link gain if you surrender your EIA early.