Allianz Life Insurance Company Review

Allianz Life Insurance is a German insurance company with a truly global scope, operating on every continent except Antarctica. Although a relative newcomer to the United States in comparison to other insurance companies, Allianz has nonetheless become a major player in the multi-line insurance field.

Allianz Life Insurance currently maintains an A rating (excellent) from A. M. Best for financial strength. Other independent ratings include an AA (very strong) from Standard and Poor’s and an A2 (good) from Moody’s.

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History and Structure

Allianz was founded in Berlin in 1890 primarily as a property and casualty insurer. The company grew throughout the first part of the 20th Century, even during periods of profound economic depression in Germany. During the Nazi period in Germany Allianz – like many other German businesses – came under the influence of the regime. In recent years the company has worked to locate and pay life insurance claims that were misappropriated during the period, especially claims on policies of Holocaust victims.

After World War II, Allianz moved its headquarters to Munich in what was then West Germany. Although greatly weakened by the war’s effects, Allianz rebounded and by the early 1970s had become the largest insurance company in Europe. Today Allianz remains the largest insurer in Europe and ranks among the largest financial services providers in the world.

Since the 2006 merger of Allianz with the Italian insurance company Riunione Adriatica di Sicurità (RAS), Allianz has been considered a “Societas Europaea,” or European Company. In essence this means the company is considered to be a European Union corporation rather than a German one.

Allianz entered the United States market in the 1970s. Today in the United States it effectively operates as two companies. In 1991, Allianz purchased the Novato, California-based Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company. As a result Fireman’s Fund serves as the company’s main property and casualty insurance provider in the United States.

Allianz’s main life insurance company in the United States is the Minneapolis-based Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America. The New York City-based Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York operates in New York state only. Allianz Life Financial Services, LLC serves as the company’s distributor of variable products.

Universal Life

The following product discussions are intended to be a generic representation of the policies Allianz Life Insurance offers. Not all products may be available in every state as described. In addition policy features and underwriting requirements may change without notice. Consult with an Allianz Life Insurance agent for the most up-to-date information.

Allianz Life Insurance offers only three life insurance products, all variations of the universal life model. Specifically these products are the GenDex Foundation UL/IUL, the GenDex Momentum UL/IUL and the two-party indexed survivorship GenDex Survivor UL/IUL.

The GenDex Foundation and GenDex Momentum products are very similar, although the GenDex Momentum places a greater emphasis on its cash value mechanism. Both products give policyholders an option to base their cash value on a traditional fixed account similar to a traditional UL or on an indexed basis. In the IUL option, one can choose to peg cash value performance to the Standard & Poor’s 500, the NASDAQ 100, or the Eurozone-based Euro STOXX 50. A blended index option, which is based on the composite performance the Dow Jones Industrials, Lehman Aggregate Bond, Euro STOXX 50 and Russell 2000 indexes, is also available.

In addition one can choose three crediting options which determine exactly how the cash value is accrued based on index performance: monthly sum crediting, monthly average crediting or annual point-to-point crediting. Both policies feature 15-year surrender charge schedules.

Available riders on these products include the waiver of monthly deduction, enhanced liquidity, child term, waiver of specified premium, other insured, loan protection, additional term, long term care accelerated benefit and enhanced cash value. As with most riders, these are optional and available at an additional cost.

The GenDex Survivor is a two-party survivorship life insurance product which is available in a first-to-die (i.e. death benefit paid on the death of the first party) or a last-to-die option. The product is otherwise identical to Allianz Life Insurance’s other two UL/IUL product, except that the surrender charge schedule is 19 years instead of 15.

Annuities and Other Products

Allianz Life Insurance offers a robust range of annuity options, including fixed annuity, indexed annuity and variable annuity products.

The main fixed annuity product offered by Allianz Life Insurance is the single premium or one-pay Dominator Plus. This product is available as both a qualified or non-qualified plan. The plan offers a five- or 10-year guaranteed interest period, after which the policy owner has a 30-day window to terminate the annuity without incurring any company surrender charges. If taken as a non-qualified plan, the Dominator Plus also allows for policy loans without incurring surrender charges.

Although the six available indexed annuity plans from Allianz Life Insurance vary in vesting schedules and premium bonus options, for the most part they operate in a similar manner. All are available in qualified and non-qualified options and can be initiated either as standard fixed annuities or as indexed annuities. In certain surrender charge-free policy loans are available on non-qualified plans.

If the indexed annuity option is chosen, the annuity’s return on investment is pegged to either the Standard & Poor’s 500, the NASDAQ 100 or the London Stock Exchange-based FTSE 100. A blended index combining the composite performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Barclays Capital U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, EURO STOXX 50 and Russell 2000 is also available. As with the IUL products, one can choose three crediting options which determine exactly how the cash value is accrued based on index performance: monthly sum crediting, monthly average crediting or annual point-to-point crediting.

The Allianz Vision is Allianz Life Insurance’s variable annuity. This product is available with bonus contract, short withdrawal charge contract and no withdrawal charge contract options. As with any variable annuity, the return on investment is based on the performance of its separate accounts. As such, the product can lose money in unfavorable market conditions.

A wide-ranging choice of separate account options are available, managed by respected third-party asset management companies such as Franklin Templeton, BlackRock, the Morgan Stanley-owned Van Kampen Investments and the Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), among others. Allianz Life Insurance also offers a simplified choice of funds based on overall investment strategy rather than individual separate accounts.

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