Unbiased American Equity AssetShield Annuity Review
The AssetShield is a fixed index annuity with no fees and is available in a 7 or 10-year contract. The AssetShield Annuity from American Equity is really designed as an accumulation tool and it does not offer an optional Guaranteed Lifetime income rider.
However, there is an optional Performance Rate Rider (PRR) that is available for an annual fee of 1.5%.
In this American Equity AssetShield Review we will cover:
- American Equity Financial Ratings
- AssetShield Annuity Features
- Market Indexes and Crediting Strategies
- Historical Rate of Returns
- Pros and Cons of the American Equity AssetShield Annuity
Before we dive into our American Equity AssetShield annuity review I would like to mention that this is an independent and unbiased annuity product review and is not endorsed or sponsored by American Equity in any way.
No one annuity product is right for everyone and we strongly encourage you to consult with a tax, legal or financial professional prior to making any investment decisions.
This is an American Equity AssetShield Annuity Review and as such we believe you are here to learn about this annuity specifically. If you’d like to learn more about index annuities in general we recommend reading our Ultimate Guide to Fixed Index Annuities.
American Equity Financial Ratings
American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company has been a major player in the fixed index annuity market for many years and is perennially in the top 10 for total U.S. Index Annuity Sales.
American Equity is rated A- by A.M. Best, Fitch, and Standard & Poors and with a Comdex Score of 60. An annuity’s guarantees are only as good as the insurance company backing them which is why it is always important to consider an insurance company’s financial ratings when shopping for an annuity.
Index rates vary by index and crediting strategy. Uncapped indexed annuities have become very popular and the AssetShield Annuity does offer both capped and uncapped crediting strategies.
Each year at your anniversary you will have the ability to re-allocate among the available options if you elect to do nothing your allocations remain the same as the previous year.
Performance Rate Rider (PRR) – This optional performance rate rider provides the opportunity to increase your index annuity rates. The rider fee is locked-gin for the length of your contract and is charged from your account value on the last day of each term.
Rate Integrity Rider – This rider allows for a waiver of Surrender Charges upon the termination of the annuity contract. During the waiver election period, American Equity will waive Surrender Charges if they declare a Cap or Participation Rate for any crediting strategy included in the Rate Integrity Rider that is less than or equal to the Surrender Charge waiver rate. The Surrender Charge waiver rate for each crediting strategy is determined at the date of purchase.
Enhanced Benefit Rider – There is no charge for this annuity rider and it is automatically included for owners under age 75. It adds additional liquidity to your fixed index annuity with a Qualified Nursing Care and Terminal Illness Benefit waiver.
Stock Market Indexes Available
There are 5 different stock market index options available in AssetShield 7.
- SG Global Sentiment – Uncapped Index Rates Available
- S&P 500® Index
- BofA Destinations – Uncapped Index Rates Available
- Credit Suisse Tech Edge – Uncapped Index Rates Available
- S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats DRC 5% USD (ER) – Uncapped Index Rates Available
- Fixed Account
AssetShield Indexed Annuity Crediting Methods
- Annual point to point index annuity crediting method
- Monthly Sum index annuity crediting method
AssetShield 7 Fixed Index Annuity Historical Performance
Our Favorite AssetShield Fixed Indexed Annuity Options
- SG Global Sentiment Annual Point to Point with a Participation Rate: 80% PAR Rate – (5.67% Net average annual return last 10 years)
- 1 Year CS Tech Edge Annual Point to Point with a Participation Rate: 80% PAR Rate – (5.57% Net average annual return last 10 years)
- 1 Year BofA Destinations Index Annual Point to Point with a Participation Rate: 75% PAR Rate – (4.26% Net average annual return last 10 years)
Penalty-Free Withdrawal Provisions:
This is an opportunity each year (after the first contract year) to take Free Withdrawals up to 10% of the Contract Value. For Cumulative withdrawals, American Equity allows 10% of the contract value after the 1st contract year. The free withdrawal percentage is never more than 10%.
Death Benefit proceeds are paid to the surviving joint owner. If there is no surviving joint owner, the Death Benefit is paid to the named beneficiary with no Surrender Charges. Generally paid in the lump-sum, other payment options are also available.
American Equity AssetShield Annuity Premium Requirements:
AssetShield Product Specifics
The AssetShield Annuity is a Flexible Premium Deferred Annuity which means you are able to add additional deposits throughout the life of the annuity.
The initial premium payment can be allocated, in any combination, to either the fixed interest account or any of the index strategies.
Payments received after the initial premium automatically go into the fixed interest strategy. The Contract Values may be reallocated on the contract anniversary between strategies subject to this minimum:
The minimum allocation for an index rate strategy is $1,000.
The minimum transfer to select a new index rate strategy is 10% of the Contract Value.
The rider charge is the amount deducted on the last day of each indexed strategy term from each indexed strategy to which the rider is applied.
To calculate the rider charge, the rider fee is multiplied by the value of the corresponding indexed strategy on the first day of each term. The rider fee will not change during the annuity contract period.
AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, HI, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY
Terminal Illness Rider – Included automatically in the American Equity AssetShield indexed annuity for owners under age 75 at issue. After the ﬁrst contract year, a one-time withdrawal of up to 100% of the contract value is allowed if the owner is diagnosed with a terminal illness.
The diagnosis must occur after the contract issue date and written proof with supporting documentation is required from a qualiﬁed physician. Any payment made under this rider will not be subject to withdrawal charges, surrender charges, or MVAs.
Nursing Home – Included automatically in the American Equity AssetShield indexed annuity for owners under age 75 at issue. After the first contract year, a one-time withdrawal of up to 100% of the contract value is allowed if the owner is confined to a qualified nursing care facility for a minimum of 90 days.
Confinement must begin after the contract issue date and written proof is required from both the qualified nursing care facility and recommending physician. Any payment made under this rider will not be subject to withdrawal charges, surrender charges, or MVAs.
Pros and Cons of American Equity AssetShield 7 Annuity
As we wrap up our American Equity AssetShield Annuity Review we’ve listed the Pros and Cons using bullet points in an attempt to make it easy for you to compare and contrast it with any of our other annuity reviews.
AssetShield Annuity Pros:
- 5 index options to choose from
- Uncapped interest crediting strategies
- Option to purchase a higher participation rate for a fee
- Rate Integrity Rider states your annuity will become liquid should renewal rates ever be lower than the specified amount.
- The market indexes provide exposure to global markets, technology, and U.S. Equity components.
AssetShield Annuity Cons :
- The S&P 500 crediting rates are very low compared to some of the other competing products may be a con if you would like to allocate a portion of your funds to the S&P 500.
- An optional income rider is not available so it is not as flexible as many index annuities.
American Equity AssetShield Annuity Review Final Thoughts
The AssetShield 7 is towards the fixed index annuity options available in a 7-year firm at the time this was written. It is important to note that the AssetShield 7 is not for you if your intentions are to generate a lifetime income now or at some point in the future. If you are looking for a safe and steady way to grow your retirement savings I would definitely say the AssetShield 7 warrants consideration; read more of our index annuity reviews.
You can view and compare other fixed index annuity rates at our online annuity marketplace.
Disclosure: This is an independent product review, not a recommendation to buy or sell an annuity. American Equity has not endorsed this review in any way nor do we receive any compensation for this review.
This review is meant to be an independent, unbiased review intended to increase transparency and provide information to assist our clients in making informed financial decisions.
Before purchasing any investment product be sure to do your own due diligence and consult a properly licensed professional should you have specific questions as they relate to your individual circumstances. All names, marks, and materials used for this review are the property of their respective owners.