Your tax-deferred annuity is safe. A qualified legal reserve life insurance company is required to meet its contractual obligations to you. These reserves must, at all times, be equal to the withdrawal value of your annuity policy. In addition to reserves, state law also requires certain levels of capital and surplus to further increase policyholder protection. Legal reserve refers to the strict financial requirements that must be met by an insurance company to protect the money paid in by all policyholders. These reserves must be at all times, equal to the withdrawal value (principal plus interest less early withdrawal fees, if any) of every annuity policy. State insurance laws also require that a life insurance company must maintain certain minimum levels of capital and surplus, which provide additional policyholder protection.