An Insurance Detective Tale, Or The Thing About Index Annuities
By Jack Marrion
She entered my office with a stride that made her look like potatoes fighting in a burlap bag sliding down an icy sidewalk.
I could tell she had trouble. From the top of her blue tinted hair to the bottom of her mary janes, she quivered like an electric transformer guide wire caught in a windstorm. Still, she projected the aura of a classy dame. Maybe it was the way she wore the AARP pin on her lapel, but I could tell I was in elite company. I opened the parlay.
“How can I be of service, Ms.?”
“Dame,” she responded, “Dame Ethel of Topeka.”
I was right about the class, she was Kansas royalty. “How can I be of service, Dame Ethel?”
“My advisor, Ira Tacscut, is missing and I think theres been foul play.”
“Perhaps youd better start at the beginning,” said I.
“Well,” Dame Ethel began, “I was talking to my friend Betty last week about how the bank wasnt paying enough interest for a body to keep the larder full and she said that she used to have the same problem but that her advisor, Ira Tacscut, had positioned some of her money in an indexed annuity.
“And I asked Betty what an indexed annuity was and she said it was a savings vehicle offered by insurance companies that provided a minimum interest rate plus the potential for additional interest if the equity index increased.
“And I asked but what happens if the market goes down and Betty said that with an index annuity neither the principal nor credited interest was subject to market risk and I asked what kind of interest could I earn and Betty said that an index annuity had the potential to provide a higher return than other savings vehicles so I said”
“And why do you think theres been foul play?” I interjected so Dame Ethel could draw a breath and not turn a darker shade of blue.
“Well,” she said quizzically, “I called Mr. Tacscut and made an appointment to see him this morning. But when I arrived at his office the door was ajar. There were papers strewn everywhere and Mr. Tacscut was nowhere to be found. I wasnt too concerned at that point–Ive heard advisors can be somewhat eccentric–until I noticed an A&Z Federal Bank pocket calendar lying in the hall, as if someone had dropped it.
“I then remembered that yesterday when I was at the bank visiting my money, Id told Mr. Lowratte, the bank president, that I was going to be seeing Ira Tacscut. “When I said the name Tacscut Mr. Lowrattes face turned a little green. I dont believe Mr. Lowratte wants me to see this advisor.”