New York Life has retained its leading position on Dalbar Inc.’s rankings of the best life insurance and annuity websites for consumers for the first quarter of 2007, while Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company remained at the top of the research firm’s quarterly list of best sites for financial professionals.
The most impressive upswing in the rankings could be found among sites for financial professionals, where Protective Life Insurance, Birmingham, Ala., climbed 24 places to 19th place, landing in Dalbar’s ratings for the first time.
Looking at the best websites for professionals, Allstate Financial and Lincoln Life held on to their respective second- and third-ranked positions. On the consumer site side, AXA Advisors advanced one spot to third place in the rankings by Dalbar, Boston, which evaluates the effectiveness of financial companies’ online presence.
Fidelity Investments’ consumer site continued its recent decline, falling 4 notches to tenth place after being ranked in the top 3 for years. Fidelity lost points for inconsistent appearance, page transitions and content, according to Dalbar.
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Among a number of improved consumer websites, Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Company, Los Angeles, moved into 19th place from 23rd. The company revamped its Web-based customer service, allowing online death claims and interactive form completion and offering enhanced product information and archived account statements.
John Hancock Financial Services, Boston, moved up 2 spots to 20th place by making its site easier to navigate and adding links to corporate financial statements, contact information and other features.
Great American Financial Resources Inc., Cincinnati, rose 4 spots to 21st place after punching up its site with product information, investment education and other features.
Dalbar also singled out Principal Financial for simplifying access to information, allowing users to view details of their accounts easily and providing links to new planning tools and educational resources.
Dalbar site evaluators also awarded points to Western & Southern Financial Group, Cincinnati, for adding new security procedures to protect user information.
One new trend was the use of “microsites” within some consumer sites, Dalbar reports. Lincoln Financial, for instance, created a new retirement planning location under the sponsorship of its Lincoln Retirement Institute.
Thrivent Financial launched a new microsite devoted to ThriveQ, its education program focusing on retirement advice. ThriveQ offers retirement calculators and a 21-question survey that scores the individual’s retirement readiness.