NU Online News Service, Aug. 22, 5:35 p.m. – Web insurance sites will account for only 1.5% of total net premiums written in 2005, and life, health and annuity products will account for less than 12% of that volume, according to Booz-Allen & Hamilton, McLean, Va.

The management consulting firm bases those estimates on analysis of financial Web site traffic data from Nielsen/NetRatings, New York.

The number of visitors viewing insurance sites increased 1,150% between 1999 and 2000, but the top 10 insurance sites attracted only 5 million users in April 2000, compared with a total of 18 million for the top 10 bank sites and 11.5 million for the top 10 securities broker sites.

Consumers who visited insurer sites spent an average of only 13 minutes a month at the sites. That compares with an average of 22 minutes a month for bank site visitors and 35 minutes a month for securities site visitors.

The most visited insurer sites are those that offer the widest array of financial products, Booz-Allen reports.

The firm also found that insurers take longer than banks and securities brokers to answer electronic mail. Sixty-three percent of the banks and securities brokers responded to e-mail questions within 24 hours, but only 46% of the insurers responded that quickly.