Jurors in a U.S. District Court in Minnesota have ruled in favor of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America a key issue and against it on another in connection with a class-action lawsuit involving indexed annuity marketing materials.
The plaintiffs in the case, Mooney vs. Allianz Life, said Allianz Life, Golden Valley, Minn., a unit of Allianz S.E., Munich, had implied that consumers who put money in various types of BonusMaxx, BonusDex, MasterDex and InfiniDex annuities would get “immediate” cash bonuses.
In reality, annuity holders had to leave their money in the annuities for at least 15 years to collect the bonuses, the plaintiffs alleged.
Lawyers at the Nygaard Law Firm, Leawood, Kan., won certification for a class that included most people who had bought 2-tiered indexed annuities from Allianz Life since Feb. 9, 2000. The class excluded people who bought the annuities while they were California residents and were ages 65 or older.
Lawyers for Allianz Life argued that, whatever the consumers who bought the annuities believed at the time of purchase, they ended up doing better than they would have done if they had invested their money in the stock market.
The jury found that Allianz Life had used deceptive materials, but it found that customers had not been harmed and awarded no monetary damages.
Representatives for the firm were not immediately available to comment on the Minnesota verdict.
Allianz Life is welcoming the verdict.
“We are very pleased that the jury concluded that no harm came to our policyholders,” Allianz Life President Gary Bhojwani says in a statement. “Allianz Life strives to work with only the best financial professionals in providing financial solutions for more than a million policyholders. On behalf of the Company, I would like to thank our employees, our agents, and parent company for their continued support throughout this process. We remain committed to doing the right thing for our customers. Equally important, we remain committed to guarding our reputation jealously.”
An earlier version of this article failed to indicate that the jury found that Allianz Life had used deceptive materials.