Death Claim FAQ

American Equity Annuity Claim Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I begin the annuity claim process?
To speak with a representative in person, you may contact our Annuity Claims Department toll free at (877) 542-8847.
How do I know if I am a beneficiary?
Please contact the Annuity Claims Department for verification.
Is my annuity death benefit taxable?

On qualified annuities (IRA, 401K, Defined Benefit plans), a 1099-R reporting 100% of the claim amount as taxable income will be sent to both the beneficiary and the IRS in the year in which a claim distribution is made.

On non-qualified annuities, a 1099-R reporting the interest portion of the claim amount will be sent to both the beneficiary and the IRS in the year in which a claim distribution is made.

How quickly will my claim be processed?
Once the death of a contract owner is reported, a claim kit is forwarded to each beneficiary within 72 hours. Once all claim requirements are received by American Equity and are in good order, the processing time of a beneficiary claim is approximately 10 business days.
Can my death benefit be wired to my bank?
No. All lump sum claim payments are issued as a check and mailed via United States Postal Service.
Do you accept a photocopy or electronic copy of the original death certificate?

Yes. We will accept a mailed, faxed or emailed photocopy of a certified death certificate. To ensure authenticity, each copy must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be complete – no parts of the death certificate can be cut off, altered or amended
  • Must be legible – we must be able to read the ENTIRE death certificate
  • Must contain an official seal – the copy must include a visible seal to verify authenticity
Do you need a separate death certificate from each beneficiary?

No. One death certificate is required for processing. Once received, it is applied to each contract involved in the beneficiary claim, and for each beneficiary making claim on those contracts.

How long do I have to claim my death benefit?

The IRS requires the taxable portion of all death benefits must be reported within 5 years from the date of death. Certain tax-deferral options that stretch this reporting past the 5th year have different election requirements. Please refer to the beneficiary claim form for election requirements on specific claim options.

What is an annuity?

You can learn more about annuities by visiting our Annuities page.