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State attorney general settles lawsuit with Allianz

Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Some seniors who might have died before they could get their annuity money back from Allianz Life Insurance Co. NA will have a chance to apply for refunds and interest, under a lawsuit settlement announced Monday.

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson had accused Allianz of selling annuities that weren’t appropriate for older retirees. Many of them claimed they had been told they could get their money out, only to be forced to choose between onerous penalties or leaving their money in the annuity for years.

Allianz had denied any wrongdoing, and Swanson said the settlement did not force them to admit any.

The settlement, approved on Monday by a Hennepin County judge, has some fine print of its own.

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People who are over 65 and who bought Allianz deferred annuities after Jan. 1, 2001, can apply for a full refund without penalties, if they complained to either Allianz or the attorney general’s office.

Allianz and the attorney general’s office will decide jointly whether to grant the refund, but the settlement calls for them to "liberally construe" the facts in favor of the consumer. They will look for evidence that the annuity "was unsuitable on the date of application or that Allianz or its agent misrepresented the terms or conditions" of the annuity.

A third party will settle disputes over who should get refunds.

Golden Valley-based Allianz Life is a subsidiary of German insurer Allianz SE.

"The settlement process with Attorney General Swanson was a difficult one, but it soon became clear that the common ground we share is a sincere desire to protect the needs of consumers in the State of Minnesota," said Allianz Life CEO Gary Bhojwani in a prepared statement.

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