What You Need to Know
- As overall annuity customer satisfaction has increased, satisfaction with the advisor experience is in decline.
- The advisor/agent no longer owns the entire annuity customer relationship, J.D. Power's Robert Lajdziak says.
- Advisors need to step up their game to remain relevant in this space, he adds.
Even though financial advisors or insurance agents currently sell more than three-fourths of individual annuity accounts, customer satisfaction is increasingly being driven by direct engagement with providers, according to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Individual Annuity Study.
The study measures the experiences of customers of the largest annuity companies in the U.S. Overall customer satisfaction is based on performance in communication, interaction, price, product offerings and statements.
The study showed that customers’ engagement with provider websites and direct communications from their provider have increased considerably and have helped drive an increase in overall annuity customer satisfaction.
At the same time, their satisfaction with the advisor experience is in decline.
“The age-old perception that the advisor/agent owns the entire annuity customer relationship is no longer the case,” Robert Lajdziak, director of insurance intelligence at J.D. Power, said in a statement.
“The current state-of-the-art for customer engagement in the annuity space is a healthy balance between advisor-led education and support and provider-led digital interaction.”
Lajdziak noted that providers are managing this transition well, with customer satisfaction scores improving considerably across key attributes. But to remain relevant in this space, advisors need to improve their game, he said.
The study, which was fielded in June and July, is based on responses from 2,565 individual annuity customers. See the gallery above for the firms that scored above and below the industry average, according to J.D. Power.