CALL US: (888) 440-2468

CALL US: (888) 440-2468

have an annuity question?
have an annuity question?

Independent Review of Polaris Platinum III: A Variable AIG Annuity

What’s Covered In This Review?

In this review we’ll cover the following information on the Polaris Platinum III, a Variable AIG Annuity that includes:

  • Product Type
  • Fees
  • Current Rates
  • Realistic long term investment expectations
  • What to expect, and what not to expect

In this day and age fewer and fewer employers are offering pensions, so the challenge of building and structuring retirement income has gotten rather daunting. The Polaris Platinum III comes to the rescue with an easy way to invest in the stock market for a relatively small sum of money, while also offering the promise of guaranteed income later. The only problem is, getting both of these perks inside a single investment gets expensive.

Variables annuities earn their returns by participating in the market, but because they are issued by insurance companies, investors pay fees twice: once for the privilege of investing in the mutual funds, and then again for the income protection. If you don’t need income protection for another 20 or 30 years, then why would you pay for this feature now? Sadly, many investors who are sold variable annuities aren’t even aware of what they are buying. Perhaps this may be you?

If your goal is to grow your money, you might be dazzled by the promise of guaranteed returns somewhere in the realm of 7 to 8% or even higher. Are these claims true?

If your goal is to protect what you have already built up, then you might hear about the Polaris Platinum III’s ability to guarantee you income for life, but how much income will you get, and is your money really guaranteed?

If you want answers to these and other questions, you’ve come to the right place. Variable annuities are long-term insurance vehicles designed for retirement, and they can be very expensive to own and get out of. Early withdrawals may be subject to charges as high as 8% of the investment, plus income tax and Federal taxes, especially if withdrawn before the age of 59½.

Bottom line: you want to be certain before you invest.

Enter: Annuity Gator.

Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information That You Can Trust

If this is your first time visiting us, we’d like to personally welcome you to the most comprehensive and unbiased database out there reviewing annuities today. The independent financial professionals that comprise Annuity Gator strive to produce the most accurate, independent annuity reviews available on the World Wide Web today, and we have been doing so longer than other similar

websites out there. There are plenty of places you can go to find somebody who will sell you an annuity; there aren’t a lot of places where you can go to learn about them. Our goal is to educate you about these investments so you can decide for yourself whether or not a particular annuity is what you need to meet your goals for retirement.

This review will explain what you see in brochures, read in advertisements, and hear from salespersons and companies who make what may turn out to be hyped-up claims when trying to convince you their annuity can give you all of the following:

  • Highest Payouts!
  • Lowest Fees!
  • Top Rated Company!
  • Guaranteed Income for the Rest of Your Life!
  • 7 -8% Returns with NO Risk to Your Principal!

Sound too good to be true? It’s not that these statements are all lies, but rather it’s that they aren’t fully explained. For example, variable annuities rarely earn the high percentages of 7 or 8% returns promised to investors, and the funds themselves certainly don’t do so on a guaranteed basis. In order to get the guarantees, you have to purchase additional features, which in this particular case are called Income Protection Features. It’s sad but true that we’ve seen cases where the investor didn’t even know they were paying for this feature because it was sold to them as a guaranteed rate of return.

You only get one shot at saving and planning for retirement. This is the place to go if you want to understand how annuity investments work and what they can really give you dollar-for-dollar in terms of growth and income protection.

Now let’s dig in:

AIG – Polaris Platinum III Variable Annuity at a Glance:

Product Name:Polaris Platinum III Variable Annuity
Issuer:American General Life Insurance Company (AGL) except in New York, where they are backed by The United States Life Insurance Company in the City of New York (US Life).
Standard & Poor’s Rating:A+ (Strong)
Phone Number:1-800-445-7862

Opening Thoughts on – Polaris Platinum III, a Variable AIG Annuity

AIG is the marketing name for the worldwide insurance operations of American International Group, Inc. As a life insurance company, they have been keeping promises to their customers since 1926 and continue to offer consumers a broad and comprehensive range of products.

The two main variable AIG annuities are the Polaris Choice IV and the Polaris Platinum III. Overall, the biggest difference between the two is how the investment side of things is structured.

The Polaris Platinum III is sold at a “total retirement package” geared to someone not yet in retirement but in the working and saving years of their life. The Platinum III offers a much lower minimum initial investment requirement (as compared to the Choice IV) that starts at $4,000 for qualified money and $10,000 for non-qualified money.

Next, they offer professional money management and dollar cost averaging accounts, with as many as 15 transfers between variable portfolios allowed per contract year. This means you can rebalance the different types of risk you are exposed to within your portfolio as you get closer to the time of retirement. Notice, however, that we specified “different types of risk.”

Variable annuities are dependent on the performance of the stock market. No matter how the funds within the annuity are allocated, they are still correlated to the market, which means you can still lose money in this investment. But wait a minute – what about the guaranteed 8% returns promised by the salesperson who sold (or is trying to sell) this annuity? Good question.

Variable annuities are often pitched as “hybrid” investments because they can do two things: invest your money and structure it for income. If you get nothing else from this review, understand this: these two goals are not compatible with each other.

The best way to understand what this means is to think of it from the issuing company’s point of view, so here is a little example: If you put $100,000 in their variable annuity, how much will it be worth in 10 years’ time? Nobody knows. The market has become increasingly unpredictable. Your annuity could be worth $140,000 or it could be worth $70,000 if it suffers a loss. Either way, the issuing company must pay you a guaranteed income from an account that is going up and down in value.

To protect themselves, they will offer you a smaller income payout than what other safer, non-variable investments can provide. We will go into more detail about the income side of things and how these guarantees are often confused as the rate of return on the investment, but first, we are required to go through some legal disclosures…

This is an independent product review of Polaris Platinum III, not a recommendation to buy or sell an annuity. American International Group (AIG) 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 review at the request of readers so they could see our perspective when breaking down the positives and negatives of this particular model annuity. 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.

How AIG Describes The Polaris Platinum III Variable Annuity.

AIG describes the benefits and features of their Polaris Platinum III annuity on their website as follows:

  • Combined growth potential, family protection features, and optional retirement income choices.
  • Performance for the growth potential you need including ways to customize your annuity
  • Protection and income features for a sense of security
  • Strength for enduring stability

While variable annuities are oftentimes used for their tax-advantaged growth potential – and not necessarily income generation – on thing that the Platinum lll annuity does is lock in the base amount of income on a daily basis (when the value goes up on a given day), throughout the accumulation period (i.e., the time before the annuity is converted to an income stream).

What makes this particular variable annuity stand out from other variable annuities is that most will only “step up” on each contract anniversary. So, these daily lock-ins could end up helping to grow the account value much more than those that are done on an annual basis. It can also provide a nice “safety net” if the market tanks at any time throughout the year, and in turn, lose previous gains that were generated.

There are other bells and whistles such as the enhanced death benefit option and nursing home option, but these are the highlights. If you want to find the website and/or prospectus, you can click HERE.

How Financial Advisors Might Present This Annuity to You

The appeal of retirement planning made simple is easy to understand. Every investor wants performance, protection, and enduring stability from an income-producing investment, but you want to be wary of any advisor who promises that one single investment is the answer to all your problems.

If you are worried about running out of money, saving enough money, and getting an income once retired, then the Polaris Platinum III might be sold to you as an investment that can do the following:

  • Earn higher returns with customizable options available.
  • Give you a guaranteed rate of return and lifetime income.
  • Growth that can step-up every year that you wait to access your money.

These promises can make it sound like the ideal investment, but let’s take a look at the fine print:

Growing your money: This AIG annuity offers access to several different investments with over 70 different types of funds inside each series, ranging from high-yield bonds to international equities and small to large-cap stocks. This allows you to grow your money tax-deferred through dollar cost averaging, which you can do inside any IRA or 401(k) invested in mutual funds.

These funds, however, are “managed,” which means you will be charged a management fee that averages for 0.72% to 1.48% for each series you elect within your variable annuity. You will also be charged a base fee from the insurance company of 1.30% annually. But how do these funds perform?

I’ve heard from potential buyers that the Polaris Platinum III annuity is sold as being able to earn a minimum return of 6% per year, with the possibility of earning 10% or more if the market really goes up. Is any of this true?

Well, not exactly.

If your agent or advisor explains this annuity correctly, you should never get the impression that you’ll earn more than 2% to 5% from the mutual funds inside the annuity. If bigger returns than that were part of the sales pitch, or if a guaranteed rate of return was promised, what they were talking about was the return and guarantee promised by what AIG calls the income protection feature.

It is the income protection feature – for which you pay an additional fee – that gives you the guaranteed rate of return, which in this case is a nice 6%. So what’s wrong with that? If income is what you need, this can be a nice feature to have as long as you understand the costs and realize that you can’t access this money as a lump sum withdrawal.

Providing Guaranteed Income: In order to guarantee your income, the Polaris Platinum III allows you to choose between one of two income protection features: the Polaris Income Plus or the Income Builder. The minimum fee for this feature is .60% a year, and the maximum annual fee for the life of the contract is 2.20% for a single Life or 2.70% for joint life (both you and your spouse.)

By paying this fee, your money will grow or step-up in a separate account. In the case of the Polaris Platinum III, the rate is a generous 6% guaranteed annually. This “locks in” the greater of your investment gains or an annual income credit of up to 6% on each contract anniversary date during the first 12 years you own the investment while you wait to take your income.

Can you access the money growing at this special rate as a lump sum withdrawal? No. You can only take this money out as income.

If you plan never to touch this money, then having a promised 6% growth rate can be a nice thing but understand that in the meantime, you will still be paying a lot of fees to manage the risk and mutual funds inside this investment. There are other annuities out there that can also guarantee a step-up rate of 6% and even higher. Furthermore, other annuities NOT exposed to the stock market can also promise higher income payout rates.

If the reason you bought this investment is to get the most amount of income for your money as possible, then you want to ask your advisor, how much income will I actually get?

The income payments guaranteed by the income protection features of the Polaris Platinum III ranges from 3% to 5% for single and joint life annually. That means no matter how much your account is growing, you will never be able to get more than that income amount.

Variable annuities like this one provide lower income payout rates than other annuities on the market because of the risk element inherent in the investment. Remember, the insurance company is on the hook for paying you a guaranteed income from a fluctuating investment, and so they protect themselves. One way they do that is by charging you . . .

What About the Fees?

The Polaris Platinum III AIG Annuity is upfront about the fees they charge, but because they are spread out all over the prospectus, it might be hard to add them all up in your head. We’ve done that for you here.

While the fees on this annuity are higher than those of a fixed or fixed indexed annuity, the ‘tradeoff’ is that, unlike the typical variable annuity, income with the Polaris III is guaranteed for life.

So, this variable annuity can definitely address filling in income “gaps” that a retiree might have if they don’t bring in enough through Social Security, pensions, and/or other retirement income generators.

The Polaris III variable annuity also offers some investment alternatives – such as some of the American Funds mutual funds – that traditionally have lower management expenses as compared to others.

What follows is a breakdown of all the fees:

  • Separate Account Charge (M&E risk charge and Death Benefit): 1.30% to 1.55%
  • Early Access Rider: .40% additional fee for first 4 contract years
  • Family Protection Feature: .25%
  • Income Feature Charge: 1.10% to 2.70%
  • Fund Fees: .55% to 2.20%

Fee Total: 3.55% to 6.88%

These fees are charged to your account annually, which makes the variable annuity one of the most expensive investments you can own.

Another thing to be aware of is that this can be an expensive investment to get out of. Annuities, unlike mutual funds, are NOT liquid investments, meaning it can be hard to get to your money. That’s what all the surrender charges and early access options are about.

If you roll $100,000 into this annuity, for example, and then you need the money for a down payment on a new condo, you’re going to be charged a fee to access more than your free withdrawal amount (which is usually 10% after the first year.) What might that look like?

Imagine that you make a $100,000 purchase in year one. Then in year two, you take out your free withdrawal amount of 10% or $10,000. Your contract value falls to $90,000. Now imagine the stock market takes a hit and your balance falls to $50,000. Should you decide in year 3 that you want to get out of the investment, they will charge you a 6% withdrawal fee on the full purchase price of $100,000, which means you will get back $44,000 on your $100,000 investment.

A separate withdrawal charge schedule also applies to each purchase payment. A Purchase Payment is anytime you put money into the contract. After a purchase payment has been in the contract for 8 complete years, they no longer charge you to access your money.

A separate withdrawal charge schedule also applies to each purchase payment. A Purchase Payment is anytime you put money into the contract. After a purchase payment has been in the contract for 8 complete years, they no longer charge you to access your money.

The Annuity Gators End-Take on Polaris Platinum III: A Variable AIG Annuity

Where it works best:

  • For investors who need a simple approach to retirement planning.
  • For younger investors who have a smaller amount of capital to start with and no other options for tax-deferred investment vehicles.
  • For investors who do not have a pension and need guaranteed income.
  • or investors who want to guarantee income for their spouse.

Where it works WORST:

  • For investors who do NOT need a source of guaranteed income.
  • For investors who need access to their money.
  • For investors who do NOT want to lose any money and have a low tolerance for risk.
  • For investors who have limited funds and are not participating in their company’s 401(k) or other retirement plan investment options.

In Summary

The AIG Polaris Platinum III Variable Annuity is offered to investors as a total retirement package so you can grow money in the stock market and have guaranteed income all from one investment. This overly simplified approach makes it an expensive investment to own.

In terms of growth, the guaranteed rate of 6% on the income protection features is often confused or combined with the growth rate of the mutual funds inside the investment. The mutual funds inside this variable annuity can lose money and their growth is not guaranteed. Furthermore, because you are getting hit by fees from the investment side and the insurance side, this is an investment running with weights around its ankles.

As an income producing investment, the market risk this annuity is exposed to makes it difficult for the insurance company to meet its obligations. To compensate, they pass the cost on to you. The Polaris Platinum III has relatively low-income payout rates as compared to other annuities available today.

So what does all this mean to you? If you are young and your goal is to save money for retirement, there are other, less expensive ways to do so. If you want to get the most amount of income with the dollars you have already saved, then protecting that money should be your priority. By preserving the money first, you’ll be able to get a higher guaranteed income payout than you will with a variable annuity that is directly exposed to market risk.

Thanks for bearing with us on this rather long post. If you found it helpful, please spread the word and share it with others.

Lastly, like all humans – we do make mistakes. If you see one on this review please reach out and let us know. We are always more than happy to make corrections and give credit where it is due. If you’re an investor and this review causes confusion and creates questions, feel free to reach out as well. We can’t always get back right away, but we can usually clear up any questions within a day or two.

Have an Annuity You’d Like to See Reviewed?

No problem, our team of highly trained annuity geeks can jump to it! Click here to get started and we’ll do our best to get it online as soon as possible.


The Annuity Gator


Independent Review of Polaris Platinum III: A Variable AIG Annuity

  • Michelle
    2:17 AM, 4 August 2017

    I want to thank you so much for all your comments on this annuity program. We have a financial planner that is trying to get us to put our IRA money into the Polaris III, and after reading what you wrote, I now truly believe that we would have been royally screwed for doing so. They steered me to this because they said they understood that at this point in our lives we don’t want risk, and yet here it plainly says that this is a terrible tool to use to avoid risk! We have been having second thoughts about this planner for a while now, and this is the straw that broke our financial backs with them. I am speaking to someone tomorrow to have this money pulled and out into a different planner’s care.

  • Annuity Gator
    10:19 AM, 6 August 2017

    Hi Michelle – Thank you for checking out our annuity reviews – and particularly the AIG Polaris Platinum lll variable – as it sounds like you were at least considering the purchase of that annuity. If your goal was to produce steady income and / or to earn a return with a limited amount of risk, then my best guess is that there are definitely better alternatives available for you. If you would like to additional feedback and / or if you have any more questions regarding annuities, and how they may or may not fit in with your financial plans, then feel free to give us a call at (888) 440-2468, go to or just simply reply to this email with a good phone number and time / day to reach you. We wouldn’t want to ask you any questions regarding your financial situation via email. We look forward to hearing from you. Best. – Annuity Gator Team

  • Chuck
    12:18 PM, 7 January 2018


    Are you familiar with the RIC-E trust from Edelman financial services? That trust uses the Polaris Platinum III Variable Annuity as its underlying investment. A RIC-E trust seems like a reasonable investment option for its stated purpose. What say you?


  • Annuity Gator
    10:50 AM, 12 April 2018

    Hi Chuck – Thank you for your message. We will look into the RIC-E trust and post a review. We’re always happy to provide additional information on financial products that are being marketed to consumers. So, please be sure to check back shortly. If we can help further, feel free to reach out to us at (888) 440-2468, or through our secure online contact form at Best! The Annuity Gator

  • Bren
    11:42 AM, 29 August 2018

    I finished reading your review of AIG Polaris Platinum III and I’m afraid that I made a big mistake because I took my entire pension of $315,000 into this annuity! My financial planner said I was gauntee the same amount for the next 16 years, I’m 70
    What should I do?

  • Annuity Gator
    5:49 PM, 5 September 2018

    Hi Bren – Thank you for your comment. We would be happy to help with any of the questions you have regarding the AIG Polaris Platinum lll. Depending on your situation and goals, it could still be the right choice for you. However, we will be in a better position to know that after getting some additional information from you. Rather than sending sensitive personal and financial details back and forth via email, though, it would be best to discuss via phone. Please feel free to reach out to us directly at (888) 440-2468. Or alternatively, you can contact us by going to: and letting us know what time works best for you. We look forward to talking with you. Best! Annuity Gator

  • AJ
    10:46 AM, 15 January 2019

    I bought this annuity three years ago for guaranteed retirement income along with SS after I retire. While I get to choose from limited investment options within the annuity, none of them are big money makers even in a good market. But that’s not why I bought the annuity. If it does well in these funds, that’s a bonus. I bought it for the guaranteed income during my retirement. The “where it works best” describes me. I will start receiving income in 9 years. I have other assets and my financial planner worked with me to ensure a safe percentage of my retirement funds were invested (not over-invested). I only invested what I need for guaranteed income to cover basic retirement expenses. Since this annuity is insurance and I bought extra riders, I realize there is a cost. Thanks for the review.

  • Annuity Gator
    9:34 AM, 23 January 2019

    Hi AJ – Thank you for your comment. We’re happy that the review helped, as our main goal is to educate consumers on how annuities work, and how they can fit in certain situations. Please feel free to visit our website anytime, as we are always adding to our annuity education materials. And, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us directly at (888) 440-2468 or at Best! Annuity Gator

  • Kathleen
    5:21 PM, 25 July 2019

    Could you please confirm for me my understanding is correct? The guarantee of income is based on the current account value, correct? My advisor who I just got rid of talked me into this, even though I had heard annuities are not a great way to go. Now I’ve been in it since 2015 with a significant chunk of my porfolio invested in it, about 1/3rd. Makes me very upset. I wish I had read this before saying ok. Thank you for your review.

  • Annuity Gator
    12:24 PM, 31 July 2019

    Hi Kathleen– Thank you for your message.
    We would be happy to help you understand your product better.
    Please feel free to contact us directly, toll-free, at (888) 440-2468 to chat with one of our annuity specialists or visit

    We look forward to hearing from you.
    Best. Annuity Gator

  • Jon Singh
    6:52 AM, 28 August 2020

    I was planning to get the Polaris Income plus daily flex but your review has given me second thoughts. You mentioned alternatives but did not suggest any. Would a Vanguard Income and growth fund be a viable alternative?

  • Annuity Gator
    7:59 AM, 28 August 2020

    Hi Jon – Thank you for your message.
    We would be happy to compare several products against each other to see which one best meets your needs. Our annuity ranking software can show you this. In order to best support you, we would need some additional information from you. Rather than sending the info back and forth via email, it would be best to discuss it by phone. Please feel free to contact us directly, toll-free, at (888) 440-2468 to chat with one of our annuity specialists or visit
    We look forward to hearing from you.
    Annuity Gator

  • Pat
    11:45 AM, 16 February 2021

    was seriously considering the Polaris Platinum Variable Annuity until reading this. I am already retired and investments are with Wespath. I received a monthly distribution in addition to social security but was attracted to the “lifetime distribution”of an annunity. How can I get an actual comparison of the two?

  • Annuity Gator
    12:10 PM, 16 February 2021

    Hi Pat – Thank you for your message.
    We would be happy to compare several products against each other to see which one best meets your needs. Our annuity ranking software can show you this. In order to best support you, we would need some additional information from you. Rather than sending the info back and forth via email, it would be best to discuss it by phone. Please feel free to contact us directly, toll-free, at (888) 440-2468 to chat with one of our annuity specialists or visit
    We look forward to hearing from you.
    Annuity Gator

  • david agran
    2:14 PM, 7 March 2021

    from the first comment left in Aug 2017, I am assuming this blog post is now 4 years old. It seems like the product has changed from what I am seeing in current prospectus. A potential advisor is suggesting the Income protection feature Polaris Income Plus Daily Flex — that your post does not go into any detail. Any chance you can provide a highlight of the changes and updates to the product now? thanks

  • Annuity Gator
    9:10 AM, 8 March 2021

    Hi David – Thank you for your message.
    We’ll look into any edits needed to reflect within this review and update accordingly. If you are considering this annuity for yourself, we would be happy to help you understand this product better and get into all of its details.
    Please feel free to contact us directly, toll-free, at (888) 440-2468 to chat with one of our annuity specialists or visit
    We look forward to hearing from you.
    Annuity Gator

  • LH
    6:56 PM, 16 December 2021

    From your review:
    “Furthermore, other annuities NOT exposed to the stock market can also promise higher income payout rates.”

    Question: what would be examples of those “other annuities”.
    Thank you.

  • Annuity Gator
    4:22 PM, 17 December 2021

    Hey, thank you for your message.
    We would be happy to provide you with more details on this and answer any questions you may have. In order to best support you, we would need some additional information from you. Rather than sending the info back and forth via email, it would be best to discuss it by phone. Please feel free to contact us directly, toll-free, at (888) 440-2468 to chat with one of our annuity specialists or visit
    We look forward to hearing from you.
    Annuity Gator

  • Anonymous
    11:59 AM, 30 May 2023


  • Anonymous
    12:05 PM, 30 May 2023


  • Suss
    5:38 PM, 21 March 2024

    I invested 240k in 2014 with the promise it would double in 12 years and provide me with 40 k a year in income for life. Does this sound right? I’m concerned because my value is 298k and my death benefit is 250k.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from - Youtube
Consent to display content from - Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from - Google
Consent to display content from - Spotify
Sound Cloud
Consent to display content from - Sound