As children, we’re told not to talk to strangers or accept rides from anyone we don’t know – to protect us from being taken. As adults today, we’re told not to give out our computer passwords to strangers, we’re told we should tear up or shred credit card offers we receive (by the truckload, it seems) in the mail, and we’re told to guard our Social Security Number with great diligence – to protect our identities from being stolen.

It seems people are getting the message, but the insurance industry – at least by one account – needs to improve its online protections. The Customer Respect Group, a firm that focuses on how corporations treat their online customers, evaluated 50 insurance Web sites for its fourth quarter survey, and the insurance industry’s score actually went down a bit, to 5.1 on a 10-point scale. A score of 5.0 or lower illustrates a site does not adequately respect the online user.

Where the industry rated most poorly was in its willingness to share personal data with affiliates, business partners or third parties. Sixty-six percent participate in such activity, compared to only 46 percent across other industries. And 82 percent of life companies that share data do not allow customers to opt out. Some companies fared well, however. The best rated life insurance companies by online respect to customers are:

  • Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
  • Pacific Life Insurance Co.
  • Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co.
  • Western-Southern Life Insurance Co.
  • Nationwide Life Insurance Co.

View a full scorecard for all 50 companies at www.customerrespect.com.