Independent, Objective Review of the Allianz 222 Annuity – [Updated September 2018]
What’s Covered in this Allianz 222 Annuity Review?
In today’s review, we’ll be covering the Allianz 222 Fixed Index Annuity with Protected Income Value.
The Allianz 222 is a fixed index annuity with available riders that provide lifetime income guarantees/death benefits / and a few other bells and whistles.
If you’ve been pitched this annuity and are looking for all the info – good, bad, ugly and even a 35-minute video that shows exactly how to determine the REAL returns you might earn with this annuity – you’re in the right place!
(Just as a side note, because this insurance company’s name sounds so much like the word “alliance,” it is sometimes referenced by those seeking more information as Alliance annuities – or in this particular case, Alliance 222 annuity.)
Limited Time – The Allianz 222 Annuity’s Premium Bonus Has Been Increased to 30%! With its quest to remain the top dog in key annuity categories, Allianz has increased its premium bonus on the Allianz 222 annuity to 30%! But only for a limited time. This is the highest level that this bonus has ever been.
Bonus ended on 9/18/18 – The Protected Income Bonus is now 22%
But that isn’t all – or, as they say – wait, there’s more!
There are actually two ways to receive a bonus on the protected income value of the annuity. Here, in order to sweeten the pot even further, a 50% interest bonus will also be credited on any interest that is earned from the chosen allocations.
However, before you start jumping up and down, it is critical to understand now – before you commit to the Allianz 222 – just exactly what this bonus means. In this scenario, the bonus gives your Protected Income Value (PIV) a nice boost from day one.
BUT – this will not increase your annuity’s account value. And unlike the account value of the annuity, you cannot withdraw the PIV in a lump sum. Rather, the PIV is only there to calculate your income payments down the road when you opt to convert the annuity into an income stream.
There are a couple of other items to keep in mind here, too, in order to secure these bonuses. First, in order to receive the protected income value – including any premium bonuses and interest bonuses – you need to hold your annuity in deferral for at least ten contract years, and be receiving lifetime withdrawals between the ages of 60 and 100. With that in mind, you won’t receive the premium bonus or potential interest bonuses if the contract is partially or fully surrendered, if annuity payments are taken, or if the protected income value rider is terminated.
Allianz goes into more details about these offerings HERE.
The point here is that, as the current “sweetheart” of the annuity industry, the Allianz 222 annuity offers a rather nice bonus, which can definitely sound attractive, but that you will learn in this review is far from being a “free lunch.”
Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Education You Can Actually Trust
One of the most popular ways that people are being introduced to this (and other) annuity is through free local lunch or dinner seminars where insurance and financial salespeople send out thousands of direct mail pieces inviting folks who are generally between age 50 and 75 to a restaurant for financial education and a free meal.
After the seminar presentation, the annuity agent will typically encourage the attendees to sign up for a free consultation where the Allianz 222 annuity may be proposed as a possible option for your retirement needs.
Similarly, there are also a ton of annuity marketing websites advertising either education on annuities or that are making bold claims that are also responsible for introducing many people to the Allianz 222.
If you’ve landed here on our website for the very first time and you don’t know much about us, we’d like to officially welcome you here to Annuity Gator. We are an independent annuity research firm that is comprised of licensed annuity professionals and researchers, as well as self-proclaimed math “geeks,” that have joined forces to revolutionize the annuity industry.
We started AnnuityGator.com to publish the most comprehensive, independent annuity reviews on the web – and quite frankly, we have been at this far longer than any of the (now many) copycat websites that are out there.
If you’ve been researching annuities online for any length of time now, you are likely to know just exactly what we’re talking about!
With our cumulative years of expertise here, we have come to the conclusion that the financial industry has become way too expensive, as well as too complicated, and too out of touch with actually helping people to reach their goals.
One of our primary goals is to change the status quo and to start a high-quality, low-cost results driven retirement planning revolution. And we’d like to invite you to come along!
So, now that you know where we’re coming from – and where we’re going – let’s dig into the details that you want to know about the Allianz 222 annuity.
Allianz 222 Fixed Index Annuity at a Glance
|Type of Product||Fixed Index Annuity|
|S&P Rating||AA (Very Strong)|
Opening Thoughts On The Allianz 222 Annuity With Protected Income Value
With more than 115 years of experience under its belt, Allianz has a long history of providing financial security to its customers. Its parent company, Allianz SE, also has a long list of accolades, including:
- The world’s 34th largest company
- The world’s 5th largest asset manager
The company has more than 85 million customers in 70 countries around the world, and as of year-end 2017, it was ranked as the second largest company in the diversified insurance industry, based on assets. In just insurance premium along, Allianz Life took in roughly $11 billion last year (2017).
Allianz Life has some of the highest ratings that are given to insurance carriers, including a(n):
- AA (Very Strong) from Standard & Poor’s
- A+ (Superior) from A.M. Best
- A1 from Moody’s
With that in mind, the company appears to know what it’s doing.
When it comes to the Allianz 222 annuity, you might say that it is similar to a Swiss Army Knife – because it does a lot of different things okay, but it doesn’t do any one thing really well.
But unfortunately, just like the jack of all trades, it is a master of none.
If you’re wondering if an annuity is really right for you, or even if you just need a little help getting pointed in the right direction, feel free to reach out to us via our secure contact form here.
Before we get into the gritty details, here are some legal disclosures…
This is an independent annuity product review. It is not a recommendation to purchase or to sell an annuity. Allianz has not endorsed this review in any way, nor do we receive any type of compensation for providing this review. This annuity review is meant solely to be an independent review at the request of our readers so that they may see our perspective when breaking down the positives and the negatives of this particular annuity. Prior to committing to the purchase of any type of insurance and/or investment vehicle, it is critical that you do your own due diligence, and that you also talk with a properly licensed professional if you have any questions that relate to your specific situation. All of the names, materials, and marks that have been used in compiling this annuity review are the property of their respective owners.
How Allianz Life Insurance Company of North American Describes the 222 Annuity
In its website overview, Allianz describes the 222 annuity as a product that offers principal protection from market downturns, the opportunity for index-linked growth, tax-deferral, and even a death benefit for beneficiaries.
In addition to providing two ways to get a bonus (described above), the 222 annuity from Allianz also offers two ways for beneficiaries to obtain a death benefit. In this case, beneficiaries could receive the full accumulation value in a lump sum.
Or alternatively, they could receive the full protected income value, or PIV, as annuity payments that are stretched out for at least five years. (This second option also means that taxes would be spread out over a period of time, rather than being due all at once).
One of the interesting things about the Allianz 222 is the way it credits returns – which is how you actually make money with an index annuity. For example, one of the index options that you have with the 222 annuity is the Barclays U.S. Dynamic Balance Index. This is a way of demonstrating “superior returns.”
We’ll cover this more in a few minutes – but buyer beware that some annuity sales agents depend on their hypothetical illustrations in order to sell the 222 to investors.
But a while back, when the Barclay’s U.S. Dynamic Index l didn’t perform as well as Allianz had hoped it would, the company pulled a switcheroo and changed the index!
How about them apples!
This is a perfect example of why potential investors need to be aware that the returns on fixed index annuities aren’t necessarily based on what IS guaranteed, but rather on what MIGHT be guaranteed.
In this case, some of the hot-selling annuity products like the Allianz 222 may do their best to paint a rosy picture – but without showing you the part with the thorns.
But if you’re planning to contribute a sizeable chunk you’re your money into this (or any) annuity, the thorny drawbacks are something that you need to know about!
That said, you will find out when we dig into some super-nerdy analysis that the return offered by the Allianz 222 annuity really is not a big deal, nor is the Barclay’s that great of an index.
But the sales folks may talk if up pretty good – so be sure to stay tuned so that you can learn how much value the interest crediting method on the 222 may or may not work for you.
How an Insurance or Financial Advisor Might “Pitch” the Allianz 222 Annuity
One of the most concerning things about annuity sales today is the way in which these financial products are sometimes presented by insurance and financial salespeople.
For instance, while annuities can certainly provide benefits that a conservative retiree might find desirable, they are sometimes sold with the promise of returns and potential fund performance that may not be entirely true.
Also, because the stock market tends to move up and down regularly, an index-linked annuity such as the Allianz 222 might have a better return in some years over others.
As an example, recently, the stock market has done ok – at least for the most part. But as always, it is important to keep in mind that past performance – even the recent past – is definitely not a guarantee of the future results that you’ll get in most any financial vehicle. This includes fixed index annuities.
In the past, fixed index annuities were often “pitched” by insurance and financial salespeople as a way to get market-linked upside potential, with no downside.
But, now that interest rates are super low, the upside could be somewhat limited.
As a result, many insurance companies have pivoted to make their products more about lifetime income guarantees. In terms of index annuities, many have done this by adding “riders” that add an income benefit to the base product.
While most insurance companies aren’t fond of the term, there are quite a few agents that use the term “hybrid annuity” when describing this updated version of the original index annuity. Be careful, though, with this term.
Our guess is that the cool-sounding name makes it easier for agents to sell these annuities. But really, the term “Hybrid Annuity” is just a marketing term. It’s nothing special, and in reality, annuities (for the most part) have always been hybrid in nature because they do more than just one thing. (They can grow money and pay out income).
In fact, that’s really all a hybrid annuity is – an annuity that has several features all rolled into one. In the case of the Allianz 222 annuity, it combines a lifetime income guarantee with the possibility of higher returns that are linked to various crediting methods.
If you do happen to hear the 222 annuity from Allianz being described as a “hybrid annuity,” there are a few different ways it might be presented to you. And, even though it isn’t carved in stone, in our experience, most sales agents will cling to these key components:
- The safety combined with return potential of the market
- The guaranteed income for life via the Protected Income Value (PIV)
- The return potential via the Barclays U.S. Dynamic Balance Index
While these are certainly true statements, this annuity is not perfect (nor all bad). It can work ok when it is used properly. But it also has some shortcomings – just like any other financial or insurance product.
One of the biggest issues that we’ve run into is that some insurance sales agents may misrepresent how this annuity will actually perform.
And that’s a problem!
From the many people that we’ve talked to personally about their experience working with insurance and financial salespeople, oftentimes investors have been told that the Allianz 222 annuity will perform “better” than other annuities.
Here, the sales people seem to really tout the large bonus, along with the guaranteed income potential of the Protected Income Value feature.
Is all of that true?
Eh, not exactly.
In fact, if your current advisor explains this annuity correctly, you should never get the impression that you will earn more than 2% to 6% – and it could even produce a return of less than 1%, depending on the fixed account values and how the underlying index performs.
On top of that, if you end up surrendering this annuity early, it could even cause you to lose money, based on the withdrawal charges.
Given that, if you’re being promised ongoing returns in the 7 to 8 percent range, you need to run – not walk – as fast as you can to another, more honest (and knowledgeable) advisor.
It can also be really helpful if you know how – and how much – the advisor who is offering you this annuity is getting paid. Unfortunately, even though the majority of insurance and financial services representatives work hard to do what is best for their clients, money definitely still talks – and if a commissioned salesperson is weighing the odds between being able to eat steak or mac and cheese, they’re more than likely going to push hard to make a sale.
In the case of the Allianz 222 annuity’s commission schedule, agents can typically earn a commission of 7.5% up-front, as well as “trailing commissions” in the following years.
So, before you buy this – or any – annuity, it is really important that you understand the difference between what financial sales agents say, and how the product actually works. Then you can better determine whether or not the Allianz 222 annuity is right for you, or if there is another annuity that might be a better fit.
In addition, you need to be especially careful if the insurance or financial advisor is trying to use this annuity as a replacement for an existing annuity that you already own, and that still has surrender penalties and charges. That’s because jumping ship now on your current annuity could have some costly consequences.
Allianz 222 Annuity Returns / Full Video Overview and Detailed Calculations
Warning: We tend to get pretty in-depth and a little geeky with video reviews. Please keep in mind that we made this video when the Allianz 222 offered a 15% bonus (it’s currently 20%). This particular video is very thorough and will show you exactly how to calculate the annuity performance. Enjoy, but consider yourself warned. 😉
Some Important Info on the Barclays Dynamic Balance Index Returns
A feature that has started to come up with many of the newest fixed index annuities are proprietary indexes for determining the returns (or index credits) of the annuity. In the case of the Allianz, many of their newest products (like the 222, 365, and 365i) include the Barclays Dynamic Balance Index.
When we first wrote this review, we warned investors that the Dynamic Balance I Index was new.
It shows a history going back to 1989, but that is almost all back-tested. Back-testing is done to show how the formula used to create the index WOULD HAVE measured up in past market conditions.
We all need to be extremely careful when we look at back-tested data as it is done with the benefit of hindsight. In other words, pretty much anyone can create a special “formula” that would have picked all the best investments and times to be in the market.
Just because something back-tests well does NOT mean it will perform the same in the future.
Case in point: we now have a new development to report…
Prior to 2015, the Alliance 222 used the Barclay US Dynamic Balance I Index in order to give investors a hypothetical illustration of returns. Now, they are using the Barclays US Dynamic Balance II Index, which has only been in existence since April 14, 2015.
We actually spoke with an internal sales consultant and asked why they changed from the Barclays I to the Barclays II, and were told, “because this one back tested higher than the other.”
Take a look for yourself at the difference. Here’s the disclosure directly from the Barclays website indicating the back-tested data and its limitations (red box and lines added by AnnuityGator.com):
This is the OLD index used prior to 2015:
Below is the NEW Barclays graph currently being used.
These rates are guaranteed for one year. They are declared at the time of issue and on each contract anniversary. The minimum monthly cap as of the time of this writing is 0.50%, and the minimum annual cap is 0.25%. The maximum annual spread is 12%, and the minimum interest rate is 0.10%.
There is also a bit more details on how the Allianz 222 premium bonus works, and how the interest bonus is credited, HERE.
(Note here that the returns can differ, depending on your state of residence). You can also take a look at the chart below, which also shows the movement of this index through early April of 2017.
A closer look at the Barclays US Dynamic Balance II Index
Remember, some financial sales folks may depend on these “hypothetical” illustrations to make their pitch look impressive. But we all know that hypothetical isn’t necessarily always what actually is.
Here again, though, there are actually two versions with different caps and spreads on the crediting methods used by the Allianz 222, depending on what state you reside in.
The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Allianz 222 Annuity with Protected Income Value (PIV):
Where it works best:
- For producing a reliable, “pension-like” guaranteed income stream (although there are other annuities with higher guaranteed income at this time)
- For producing an income for life that cannot be outlived by a surviving spouse
- For investors who have a family history of life longevity
- For investors that have no need for their money or generating large returns, but want it to grow safely until transferred to their beneficiaries
- For investors willing to defer income payments from the annuity for 10 years or longer in order to get maximum benefit from the PIV (protected income value)
Where it works worst:
- For those that do not plan on using the Protected Income Value (PIV) feature
- For those seeking maximum long-term growth
- For those looking for a good “worst case scenario” annuity
We should also note that we only tested a few of the many ways this annuity can be structured. It has other indexes the interest can be calculated against, different options on the income rider, and most importantly – the returns will vary based on each unique persons’ circumstances.
In general, though, this is a fairly comprehensive review that will hopefully help many people better understand how the Allianz 222 Annuity really works.
And, like with most any other product or service out there in the market, there has been a fair share of Allianz 222 annuity complaints. You can take a peek at how this annuity has performed for other investors HERE.
Despite Allianz being a reputable company, based on our review of the Allianz 222 complaints, it appears that some of the folks that bought this product may not have been properly educated about its features.
Given the fact that the Allianz 222 – or any annuity, for that matter – can be somewhat confusing (especially indexed products) – it is all the more important to review the Allianz 222 statement of understanding before you move forward and commit to this product. As you can see in the statement of understanding example that is linked here, there is a lot more detailed information – which may or may not always mirror exactly what your financial advisor has told you.
One of the most important things for investors to understand is that the “Protected Income Value” is not the actual return, nor is the “income percentage” the actual return. We’re having a difficult time seeing it produce the 5% to 8% return numbers a lot of uneducated financial salespersons toss around when trying to get you to buy it.
As noted in the video review, a couple both age 60 with a 30-year life expectancy could realistically expect to earn somewhere between 2% and 6% over the next 30 years – depending on which options they select and how long they defer taking income.
You should know that you can improve your income situation by as much as 10% annually if you work with a financial professional who knows how to employ a strategy with these income creation tools.
These annuity optimization strategies may lock in a greater guaranteed income for life.
Most financial salespeople who are only interested in selling products (and fee-based advisors who can’t sell annuities) typically don’t know how to employ these creative and mathematically optimized strategies, and so investors are left on their own to figure it out.
For someone strictly looking for guaranteed income with no market risk, the Allianz 222 can do the job, there may be better options available.
For someone looking for an investment that cannot go down, is content with low/mid-to-single digit returns, and wants the transfer of risk annuities are really good at – this might be a good fit, though we’ve reviewed other annuities we think do that better.
Also, we’re still convinced some agents don’t realize what the real returns are, and may significantly over-promise what’s realistic – so be especially wary of anyone who suggests this annuity will work better than how we illustrated it here.
If the agents are being upfront and honest, you’ll notice their explanations will match very closely (if not exactly) as described in this review. When that happens, you have an agent you can trust.
Allianz has done a very good job of producing easy to understand literature that in no way misrepresents their product. They can’t, however, control every word that comes out of every insurance sales agent’s mouth – so just always be careful out there!
In summary, the Allianz 222 has good attributes – it’s backed by a quality company, it has the potential for growth, and you do have some access to money. BUT it may fall short on guaranteed income.
People often buy lifetime guaranteed income annuities for what they WILL provide, not for what they MIGHT provide. Allianz is big on the might, and it might not be as mighty as other annuities out there.
If you want to see if there are other annuities that can go up against the mighty Allianz 222, you can reach us via the Free Annuity Help form.
We can show you what your other options are so that you can compare and point you in the right direction.
Bottom Line: While we certainly understand that the Allianz 222 annuity has both pros and cons, we’ve found that there may still actually be some better alternatives out there.
Really, though, the only way to know if this annuity is a good fit for you is to have it tested. We do this free at AnnuityGator.com, so just get in touch with us and we’ll run our proprietary annuity review software based on your scenario.
This process allows you to compare one annuity against the other so you can see for yourself what gives y3our dollar the best benefits and highest income guarantees.
If your agent was honest with you, then you won’t be surprised by the numbers, and if they don’t match up, well then you might want to reconsider who you are working with.
We’ve worked with many wealthy people who were afraid to spend a dime during retirement because all their money was in the market. They were afraid to spend it because they knew that in today’s global economy, anything can happen. The money could be gone tomorrow based on the latest news cycle.
The Allianz 222 can get you a guaranteed income, but dollar for dollar, there may be other annuities we have seen that can to provide you with more income.
When you choose what we call “high-performance annuities” and combine them with a mathematically optimized plan, you can get the maximum effect and benefit out of every dollar saved.
All of this being said, if the Allianz 222 annuity does seem right for you – and you want to take advantage of the additional bonus – do so now before it’s too late. Because if this annuity is a good fit for you financially, the added bonus could make it that much better!
Still Have Questions on the Allianz 222 Annuity? Did You Notice Any Mistakes in this Review?
If you have questions please let us know. You can reach me via the Free Annuity Help form here.
We realize that annuities can be complex and confusing and a lot of financial salespeople are pushing investors hard to buy them.
But you need to know the real facts to make sure if you go that route, you don’t end up regretting it later.
After all, annuities are long-term investment vehicle with contracts, surrender penalties, etc. For some people, they won’t make sense at all, but for some, they might.
That’s where having an Annuity Investigator who loves math comes in. We make the complex simple.
If you know anyone who has an annuity or is thinking of buying one, please share this post with them. We know a lot of people are getting very conflicting information and our goal in writing this review and making the video was to educate in an objective way.
If you have a Facebook account you can click on the little “Facebook” icon and share this article. That way more people will be able to find it and hopefully, more people will benefit.
Thanks for bearing with us on this rather long post. We hope you found it beneficial in your research. 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 usually, we can clear up those questions within a day or two.
The Annuity Gator
P.S. We included a few more related links to the Allianz 222 below that you might find useful:
- Allianz 222 Annuity Complaints
- Allianz 222 Annuity Statement of Understanding
- Barclays U.S. Dynamic Balance Index ll
P.P.S If you would like to read more of our Allianz annuity reviews here are some links to check out:
- Allianz MasterDex X with Simple Income Rider Annuity
- Allianz MasterDex X Index Annuity
- Allianz Retirement Pro Variable Annuity
- Allianz Vision Variable Annuity
- Allianz Life 360 Annuity
- Allianz Life Core Income 7 Annuity
- Allianz Life Allianz Endurance Plus Annuity
- Allianz Master Dex 10 Annuity