Fidelity, Pacific Life Still Tops In Insurance Web Sites, Dalbar Says
Fidelity Investments, Boston, retained its place at the top of the top 25 consumer Web sites during the third quarter of 2002 among life insurance and annuity companies and held onto second place among sites for agents and financial professionals, reports Dalbar Inc., the Boston research firm.
Pacific Life Insurance Company, Newport Beach, Calif., remained the top-ranked professional site and has now won Dalbars Excellent rating for six straight quarters. That rating is reserved for life/annuity companies scoring 80 or better on Dalbars scale of 100, which scores sites on such qualities as functionality, usability and currency of content. Dalbar issues rankings of financial sites each quarter.
Among consumer-oriented sites by life insurance/annuity companies, Fidelity scored 92 for the second straight quarter, well ahead of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund, New York; Prudential Financial, Newark, N.J.; and New York Life, all of which tied for second place with a score of 82.
Fidelitys consumer site earned Dalbars Excellent rating for the seventh straight quarter.
It scored especially well for functions available on the site, such as client account information, product information and investor education. Site functionality is Dalbars most important evaluation measure, counting for up to 35 points.
Dalbar gave Fidelitys consumer site a score of 33 for functions, six points above both New York Life and TIAA-CREF.
A number of sites showed notable improvements since Dalbars last ranking.
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Minneapolis, landed in the top 25 for the first time, coming in at 17.
“Thrivent Financials site offers easily accessible information as well as step-by-step planning and retirement information,” observes Dalbar.
State Farm, Bloomington, Ill., leaped into eighth place from 19th on the strength of improved content and navigation features such as news and stock quotes. Dalbar also notes improved product information on the site.
A State Farm spokeswoman says some improvements stemmed from what the company calls its usability laboratory. Researchers in the lab test reactions to its Web site by actual consumers as well as by subjects from within the company itself, she explains.
Other life/annuity companies making strong improvements to their consumer sites were the Transamerica unit of AEGON NV of the Hague, the Netherlands, which rose to fifth place from ninth; Zurich Life, Schaumburg, Ill., which rose to 10th place from 12th; Pacific Life, which moved from 16th to 12th, and Minnesota Life, which reached the top 25 for the first time, landing at 21.
The most common consumer site improvement during the third quarter was the addition of market outlooks, apparently in response to investors concerns about the recent vagaries of the stock market, Dalbar reports.
Some sites were also enhanced by adding links to outside sources such as industry publications, news sites, rating agencies and tax information, Dalbar reports.