While New York Life and Lincoln Life both retained their respective positions as first and second on the list of best consumer websites by insurance companies compiled by Dalbar Inc., Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company and AXA Advisors made strong upward moves that brought them to third and fourth place, respectively.
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company held on to first place among advisor-oriented sites. Allstate Financial moved into second place, replacing Lincoln Life. Pacific Life, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, The Hartford and John Hancock Annuities also made significant advances on Dalbar’s list of sites aimed at financial advisors.
Among consumer-oriented insurance sites, Northwestern Mutual, Milwaukee, rose 7 spots over the previous quarter, earning third place with new features, including links that enable clients to get e-mail updates of statements and product news, according to the report by Dalbar, a research firm in Boston.
AXA Advisors, a subsidiary of AXA Financial Services LLC, New York, moved up 5 spots to fourth place by making it easier for site visitors to move around, using a design that allows users to view the site in outline. AXA also offered new account-management functions.
After a record 26 straight quarters of receiving Dalbar’s “Excellent” rating, Fidelity Investments, Boston, dropped 2 spots to fifth place in the consumer site ranks. Its site scored 79.64, just shy of the 80 needed for the Excellent designation. Dalbar scores sites for functionality, usefulness and other factors.
The most significant trend reported by Dalbar among consumer sites was the introduction of useful new tools to help consumers prepare for retirement.
Among examples singled out by Dalbar:
o Fidelity developed a retirement guidance program aimed at helping consumers begin retirement planning and calculate the ultimate impact of current savings patterns. The program, which Fidelity calls myPlan, uses 5 questions to profile the consumer by age, income and other factors, then project future assets and income. Fidelity also added audio feeds to help visitors use various features.