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Frequently Asked Questions About Annuities

Annuities FAQs

  1. What is an annuity?
    A contract from an insurance company that individuals generally use to accumulate money for their retirement on a tax-deferred basis and that guarantees a fixed or variable payment to the annuitant at some future time.
  2. What is a deferred annuity?
    An annuity you purchase either with a single sum or with periodic payments to help save for retirement. Earnings in a deferred annuity are not treated as taxable income until they are withdrawn. Withdrawals may be subject to regular income tax, and if made prior to age 59½, may be subject to a 10% IRS penalty. In addition, company imposed surrender charges may apply. The policy owner can choose the point at which he or she can convert the accumulated principal and earnings in the contract to a stream of income.
  3. What are the different types of deferred annuities?
    The two most common deferred annuities are fixed annuities and variable annuities.
  4. What is a variable deferred annuity?
    An annuity under which the policy's premium is invested in a variety of investment divisions and the accumulated value fluctuates with the performance of the investment divisions.
  5. What is a fixed deferred annuity?
    An annuity where the individual knows what the current and guaranteed interests rates are and when the interest will be credited to the funds in the annuity. Rates are usually guaranteed for a specified time period. After the specified time period, the policy will generally receive a new interest rate every year equal to the standard rate being credited by the issuing company at that time.
  6. Where can I obtain information about variable annuities?
    Click here to visit our variable annuities page.
  7. How can I obtain my current annuities account information?
    Visit the Virtual Service Center.
  8. How do I report a death?
    Upon the death of an insured, a Service Center, General Office, or Sales Office must be contacted and advised of the name of the insured, the date and cause of death, and the name, address, and telephone number of the person who should be contacted. A claimant's statement and additional information on how to file a death claim is then sent to the appropriate person.

    You can report a death via e–mail or for more information please visit our Beneficiary Resource Center.

  9. Who is a Beneficiary?
    This is the person or other party designated to receive life insurance or annuity proceeds upon the death of the insured. The beneficiary is named when a policy is taken out and can be changed at the request of the policyowner.

    A contingent beneficiary is the party designated to receive life insurance policy proceeds if the primary beneficiary should die before the person whose life is insured.

    In order to change the beneficiary of a policy, the current policyowner must fill out a form with the necessary information and return it to the Service Center.

  10. What is Income Tax Withholding?
    Since the enactment of the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (TEFRA), New York Life has been required to withhold Federal and sometimes State (depending on the state of record of the policyowner) income taxes from certain taxable distributions. Generally, payees are permitted to elect not to have income taxes withheld from designated distributions.
  11. Why do I receive a "page cannot be displayed" error when I attempt to access my Life Insurance or Annuity account on the Virtual Service Center?
    If you receive a "page cannot be displayed" error, there's a chance your browser does not contain 128-bit encryption. For your protection our service web site requires that your browser be 128 bit-encrypted. If your browser is not 128-bit encrypted you will need to upgrade to a more secure browser.

    If you are using Internet Explorer 5.0x or below you can check the encryption level by selecting "Help" then "About Internet Explorer" from the top toolbar. It should state: "Cipher Strength: 128-bit." If it states "Cipher Strength: 40-bit", you will need to visit the Microsoft Web site to download a browser that is 128-bit encrypted. The browser you download may vary based on your operating system and must contain the proper system requirements as specified by Microsoft.

    If you are using Netscape 4.7x or below you can check the encryption level by selecting "Help" then "About Netscape (Communicator)" from the top toolbar. It should state in bold: "This version supports U.S. security" which indicates it is 128-bit encrypted. If it states "This version supports international security", the browser only contains 40-bit encryption, and you will need to visit the Netscape Web site to download a browser that is 128-bit encrypted. The browser you download may vary based on your operating system and must contain the proper system requirements as specified by Netscape.

  12. How do I make a change to my annuity? (change my beneficiary, change my address, file a death benefit claim, etc.)
    Visit the Virtual Service Center to download the necessary forms for your needs.
  13. How can I change my name on an annuity contract?
    To change the name on an annuity, the current contract owner must send a signed Name Change Request form, a written request, a copy of a marriage certificate, or other court document with the necessary information to the Service Center.

    Visit the Virtual Service Center to download a Name Change Request Form. Click on the Service Form Library to select the appropriate form for your area and policy.

  14. How can I withdraw funds from my annuity?
    Visit the Virtual Service Center or contact a Customer Service Representative by calling: (800) 695-4331.
  15. How do I make a payment for my existing annuity?
    Visit the Virtual Service Center or contact a Customer Service Representative by calling: (800) 695-4331.
  16. How can I get the unit value of my annuity funds?
    Visit the Fund Values page to see the Accumulated Unit Values for the funds in your annuity.

Click here to get answers to other questions you may have about other products, this site and more.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Annuities

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