New York Life, Fidelity Investments and Lincoln National Life held on to their customary positions as the top three consumer sites in the rankings by Dalbar Inc. of life insurance and annuity websites during the first quarter. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Lincoln Life and Allstate Financial retained their standings as the leading sites for financial professionals.
Dalbar, a Boston research firm, rates life and annuity company sites each quarter based on their value to users. The company focuses its grading system on such factors as a site’s range of helpful functions, ease of use, speed of loading, and currency and consistency of content.
Among consumer sites, Fidelity now has earned Dalbar’s “Excellent” rating for 24 straight quarters, far more than any other company.
Dalbar classifies a site as Excellent if it scores a minimum of 80 points on its 100-point scale.
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Fidelity’s perennial competitor for top consumer site, New York Life, now has earned Dalbar’s Excellent rating in eight consecutive quarters. The company finally edged out Fidelity for the top consumer spot in the third quarter of 2005.
With a score of just over 82, the consumer site of Guardian Investor Services LLC finally earned the Excellent rating, after falling just a fraction short in the fourth quarter of 2005.
TIAA-CREF rose five spots to 12th place in Dalbar’s consumer site rankings. The company improved its standings by allowing consumers to apply online for an individual retirement account, adding useful links to its home page, and providing new consumer guidance on retirement, general investing and wealth management, according to Dalbar.
Western Southern Life advanced three spots to seventh place by improving its educational offerings for consumers, including information on asset allocation, diversification and systematic investing. It also speeded up load speeds, increased the number of retirement planning tools and surveyed users about what they thought of the site.
Dalbar applauded a couple of firms that are using their sites to reach out to consumers in various ethnic groups.