Allstate And Fidelity Retain Leads In Dalbar Web Site Rankings
Allstate Financial, Northbrook, Ill., remained at the top of Dalbar Inc.s list of leading life insurance and annuity company Web sites for financial professionals, according to the latest quarterly rankings by Dalbar, a Boston research firm that grades financial Web sites.
Among consumer-oriented sites, Fidelity Investments, Boston, remained the top site in the first quarter of 2003, a spot it has now held for eight straight quarters, says Dalbar.
Among professional sites, Fidelity had tied for second place with Hartford Life Insurance Company in the fourth quarter 2002, but fell to third place by a small margin in the first quarter 2003, with an overall score of 82 out of 100 on Dalbars scale, compared to Hartfords 85.
Dalbar scores Web sites on a complex grid of measures that includes such criteria as variety of helpful functions available on the site, usability, currency of content and consistency of appearance.
Allstate, which arrived on Dalbars list of top professional sites for the first time last quarter, continued to improve in such areas as product information, Dalbar notes. For some variable annuities, for instance, it added third-party ratings for subaccounts. The company raised its overall score from 88 to 90.
Jefferson Pilot, Greensboro, N.C., moved from 11th to seventh place by improving its advisor educational materials and offering online classes and exams, Dalbar says. The company also introduced an online illustration system that producers can use when meeting with clients.
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Springfield, Mass., rose one spot to ninth place by offering personalized greetings to advisors at log-in and showing daily share values for variable life and annuity subaccounts.
Among professional sites overall, more carriers are allowing agents and advisors to personalize their own preferences, Dalbar observes.
For instance, Nationwide Financial, Columbus, Ohio, allows advisors to go directly to its online service center without logging on each time they visit. GE Financial now allows professionals to customize how they receive investment performance data and subaccount updates, Dalbar says.
Other carriers added tools to help agents manage existing clients. For instance, Dalbar points out, Nationwide added a system to alert advisors when annuity subaccounts gained or lost value by a specified percentage. Another new tool allows Nationwide agents to generate custom-made reports by gathering information from all company lines that a client owns.
Hartford Life improved its second-place score from 81 to 85 in part by enhancing annuity contract access and making it easy for producers to get withdrawal quotes for surrendered annuities, choose a level of tax withholding or view surrender charges, Dalbar observes.
Fourth-place Pacific Life Insurance Company, Newport Beach, Calif., added a resource to allow producers to identify sales opportunities for IRAs, 529 college savings plans and other products. Pacific Life is the only carrier that has eight straight quarters with a designation of “excellent,” meaning it achieved a score of 80 or better on Dalbars 100-point scale, the research firm notes.
Dalbar also lauded Travelers Life & Annuity, Hartford, for adding a system enabling producers to tailor sales presentations and Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, Philadelphia, for adding producer support for deferred-compensation products.