Allstate, Fidelity Stand Out Among Web Sites: Dalbar
In its very first appearance on Dalbar Inc.s rankings of life and annuity Web sites for financial professionals, Allstate Corp. became the top-ranked site, while among consumer-oriented sites, seven companies achieved Dalbars highest rating.
Dalbar, a Boston research firm, evaluates financial Web sites on various factors ranging from functionality to usefulness, timeliness and consistency of content.
Allstate Financial, in Northbrook, Ill., leapt into the number one spot among sites for financial professionals by providing agents with detailed client profiles and account information, and the ability to execute transactions for clients.
“The site also contains a well-organized database of its products, including direct links to firms that manage the various subaccounts of the variable products,” Dalbar says.
Also among professional sites, Hartford Life jumped from eighth place to second by substantially increasing the amount of information available on the site. The site also now allows advisors to view and calculate annuity contract values.
Travelers Life and Annuity, New York, rose from 17th to 14th place by, among other things, allowing advisors to view client account options and expanding the availability of financial planning tools.
Ameritas Group, Lincoln, Neb., made its debut among Dalbars top professional sites, arriving in 17th place. Dalbar researchers gave the insurer high marks for providing agents with extensive product and subaccount information, and offering a variety of sales tools.
Farmers Insurance Group, Simi Valley, Calif., also joined the list of ranked professional sites for the first time during the final quarter, arriving in 21st place. Its site revolves around a Financial Blueprint that provides advisors with suggestions for short- and long-term care coverage.
Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, rose from 24th place to 21st during the fourth quarter. Dalbar cited the companys streamlined home page and a new table of content featuring drop-down menus.
Manulife USA, Boston, returned to the top 25 agent sites at year-end, after falling to 29th place in the third quarter, by offering average annual returns for subaccounts and a market outlook.
Among professional sites as a whole, Dalbar observes, new or improved market outlooks were the most common site enhancements during the fourth quarter, with 7% of sites adding this feature. At year-end, about 64% of financial advisor sites were offering outlooks, Dalbar observes.
Six percent of sites added news and third-party links during the quarter, bringing to almost 85% the number of professional sites offering such features.
Another 6% added or expanded advisor education during the quarter, while 6% also added or improved client account access. Now 87% of sites offer education and account information, Dalbar reports.