SEC v. Variable Annuity Life Ins. Co. of America, 359 U.S. 65(1959)
Variable annuity contracts are securities that must be registered with the SEC under the 1933 Act. Such contracts are not annuity contracts within the meaning of the exemption provided in Section 3(a)(8) of that Act for annuity and life insurance contracts, or the McCarran-Ferguson Act.
SEC v. United Benefit, 387 U.S. 202 (1967)
A deferred variable annuity that promised to return net premiums at the end of a 10-year term is a security. The Court found that, despite the guaranteed return at the end of the term, the contract owner held too much investment risk, especially when the product’s marketing appealed to purchasers with its prospect of “growth” through sound investment management rather than on “the usual insurance basis of stability and security.”
Prudential Ins. Co. v. SEC, 326 F.2d 383(3d Cir. 1964), cert. denied, 377 U.S. 953 (1964)
A separate investment account was established by Prudential for the sole benefit of variable annuity contract holders. The account was the "issuer" of securities for the purposes of the 1940 Act, and was separable from Prudential, so that the exclusion in the 1940 Act for insurance companies did not apply.
A declaratory judgment determined that assets held by an insurer in insulated separate accounts equal to the reserves and other contract liabilities regarding such accounts were not subject to the claims of general creditors in the event of liquidation. The Court held that a provision in the Illinois Insurance Code stating that the insulated separate accounts may not be charged with unrelated liabilities was mandatory, and "forbids the invasion of separate accounts by a liquidator for the benefit of general creditors." The opinion did not discuss the receivership act; the case preceded the enactment of an exclusion for separate accounts in the distribution scheme.