Web Sites For TIAA-CREF, Fidelity Tie For Top Ranking In Dalbar Ratings
There were some notable ups and downs on Dalbar Inc.s list of top-ranked life insurance/annuity Web sites for the third quarter 2001, although not as many as usual for the much-watched roster.
Among consumer sites, TIAA-CREF and Fidelity moved into a tie for first place and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company placed third. All three qualified for Dalbars ‘Excellent’ rating.
Meanwhile, Prudential dropped out of the top rank of consumer sites to fifth place.
Among sites for life agents and financial professionals, top-ranked Pacific Life Insurance Company was the only firm ranked ‘Excellent.’
Dalbars rankings did not change drastically for either consumer or agent sites in comparison to the first half of the year, notes Louis S. Harvey, president of the Boston research firm, a fact that may have much to do with Sept. 11 and other distressing news.
“Even if the events may not effect e-business directly, they do mean Web sites managers can’t get decisions easily from senior management,” he adds.
Among sites aimed at professionals, there were no new entrants in the top 10.
Among consumer sites, TIAA-CREF earned high marks for thorough retirement support, extensive news and market coverage, and market snapshots and economic reviews, all in a multimedia environment, Dalbar says.
Fidelity won No. 1 status for a superior education section coupled with detailed product coverage. Dalbar also lauded its site for continually improving and offering advanced features, such as intuitive planning calculators and e-mail support.
The Hartford Life Inc.s consumer site shot up to 6th place from 13th last quarter with extensive revisions. These include new planning tools and calculators that help consumers achieve goals, such as determining income needed for retirement or calculating monthly payments for buying a new home.
Hartford also added detailed company information, such as corporate financial statements and third-party ratings, Dalbar notes.
GE Financial Assurance, whose consumer site leaped from 19th place to 6th to tie with the Hartford, got high marks for offering more interactive features that help investors manage their accounts. GE customers can now view their pending transactions and transaction history, as well as make purchases or exchanges or withdraw funds. GE has also added online quotes for whole life insurance and a tax guide.
Conseco, Inc. also made a strong leap, from 19th to 8th place among consumer sites. It now includes a “Life Events” section that addresses financial planning for key life stages such as marriage, college and retirement.
“The sites overall look and feel is now much more consistent throughout,” notes Dalbar, “and quick-link additions to the sites home page have made it easier to use.”