Insurance Continuing Education – Information on Annuity Benefits


An Annuity Certain specifies the number of benefits payments of a set amount. This option will guarantee a minimum amount that the insurance company will pay on an annuity. The annuity has a Death Benefit that provides for payment to be made to the designated beneficiary upon the annuitant’s death and will continue as long as the beneficiary lives. In effect, this annuity says that it will pay the benefits remaining of the period certain to the beneficiary. However, if the annuitant should survive the period certain, then the annuity performs as a Life Annuity.


Cecil dies 3 years after taking out an Annuity with a 5-year period certain. The Annuity Company will continue to make payments to his beneficiary for next two years. Insurance companies usually pay the present value of the remaining payments in a lump sum, so Cecil’s beneficiary will receive 2 annual payments.

If Cecil had survived the first five years of annuitization (liquidation period), the annuity would have continued to be paid out in the normal manner, ceasing upon the annuitant’s death.

“A Life Annuity Certain is an annuity that … guarantees a given number of income payments whether or not the annuitant is alive to receive them. If the annuitant is living after the guaranteed number of payments has been made, the income continues for life. If the annuitant dies within the guarantee period, the balance is paid to a beneficiary. For example, under one common contract, a life annuity certain for 10 years, income payments are guaranteed for a minimum of 10 years. If the annuitant dies after receiving two years of payments, the beneficiary would receive the remaining eight years of income. An annuitant who lives out the 10 years would receive income payments for life, but there would be none available to a beneficiary.”


This is the most common type of annuity. The simple “Straight Life Annuity” provides for guaranteed periodic payments that terminate upon the death of the annuitant. Once the annuitant dies, the contract is fulfilled and no payments are made. This type of annuity does not guarantee that the annuitant will receive payments equal to the amount paid as premiums on the contract. If the annuitant lives a long time, they will recover more than all of the premiums they have paid; if they die soon after annuitization, the insurance company will only pay the benefits up until the time of death.

In the event the annuitant dies during the accumulation period (i.e. the time that payments are being made on the annuity, but prior to annuitization) proceeds will revert to the beneficiary, or if none is named, to the estate. Because this limits potential payouts, it will provide a higher return than other plans.

The Straight Life Annuity provides the maximum income per dollar of outlay.


The Life Income with Period Certain guarantees that annuity payments to a beneficiary will be made for a specific number of years, even if the annuitant dies before the end of this period. Payments to the annuitant will continue as long as he or she lives.


The Life Income with Refund type of Annuity states that in event of the annuitant’s death, the company will pay an amount at least equal to the total dollars paid in as premiums. The company will continue to pay the guaranteed amount of monthly income for as long as the annuitant lives.

There are two types of this annuity:

Cash Refund: The Company agrees that if the annuitant dies, it will refund in cash the difference between the income that annuitant received and the amount that was paid in premiums plus interest earned.

Installment Refund: The Company agrees to continue to make payments to the beneficiary until the total of the payments made to the annuitant and to the beneficiary equals the amount the owner paid for the annuity plus the interest earned. The longer the payout is to continue after the annuitant’s death, the smaller will be the periodic payments.

Annuities with refund options pay annuitants lower amounts of income than do comparable contracts without them. The refund option represents an extra benefit for the contract owner and an extra cost for the company.


The Temporary Life Annuity is a “combination” plan. Annuity payments will be made until either (a) the end of a pre-determined number of years, or (b) until the death of the annuitant, whichever comes first.

Source by Edward J Hulse

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