Every year, CI’s Life Insurance Monitor and Annuity Monitor award financial firms based on their performance in several key areas of the digital user experience. In particular, many of this year’s gold medalists in our Life Insurance Monitor Awards and Annuity Monitor Awards reports earned their medals thanks to their reactions to key industry trends. In the face of ever-evolving consumer needs, medaling firms use their public site educational resources to reposition existing products and meet these new expectations. Top firms also help their clients help themselves; gold medalists offer leading self-service experiences on mobile, account owner and advisor sites, increasing customer satisfaction and reducing calls to customer service.
While the life insurance industry as a whole deals with declining sales, life insurance policies with long-term care riders are exploding in popularity. The number of these sold combination products increased from 15,000 in 2007 to 404,000 in 2018, and one in five Americans rate themselves as very or extremely likely to purchase one. This year, Life Insurance Monitor awarded its first-ever medals for LTC rider resources, recognizing the firms that provide best-in-class public site resources for these popular products. Lincoln Financial earned gold for going beyond the standard assortment of LTC resources. An exemplary cost of care map demonstrates the potential costs of LTC, stressing the need for coverage. The firm also offers an underwriting preview for the hybrid MoneyGuard product, helping prospects determine whether they are eligible for an LTC rider so they can avoid declined applications. The firm also stands out for making these resources intuitively findable, consolidating educational materials on standalone insurance and LTC riders in a designated Long-Term Care Planning page that is available from the main navigation menu. As product knowledge correlates with lower ownership gaps, Lincoln’s extensive and findable LTC resources best illustrate the need for coverage.
The annuity industry faces its own sales issues, with negative public perceptions of annuities leading firms to avoid the name of its product. As the industry moves to reposition annuities, firms can distinguish themselves with public site educational resources that highlight the role of annuities in retirement planning. Annuity Monitor awarded medals in the public site retirement resources category for the first time this year to recognize the growing importance of retirement education to annuity firms. Brighthouse Financial took the gold medal for its varied, thorough and well-organized retirement education resources. A dedicated Retirement Planning section, available from the Education flyout in the navigation menu, gathers the firm’s resources into a single section. Prospects can view articles, videos, testimonials, quizzes and infographics about the role of annuities in retirement, positioning annuities in a positive light. Brighthouse also stands out for its organization. Tags on resources in the Education section allow users to view all resources related to a sub-topic, such as taxes or retirement savings.
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View a free slide deck preview of the Annuity Monitor awards gold medal winners here:
Life insurance and annuity firms also stand out when they offer leading digital self-service capabilities. Satisfaction with call centers is down, and users often attempt self-service first on both mobile and desktops; therefore, firms that help users help themselves can increase client satisfaction and save money with decreased calls to customer service. While the life and annuity industries are generally slow to adapt to new technologies, we nonetheless tracked several leading digital self-service experiences. This year, Life Insurance Monitor awarded firms for leading account owner site contact options and mobile app capabilities, while Annuity Monitor recognized the firms offering best-in-class experiences for account owner site document centers, account owner site self-service capabilities and advisor site search tools.
As the life insurance industry often moves glacially, it may not come as a surprise that a recent entrant runs away with the gold medal in account owner site contact options. Haven Life is a clear leader, providing its policyholders with a range of findable, intuitive options all available from its simple homepage. The firm offers email, live chat, phone, callback request and a secure message form with document upload capability. This variety of options allows Haven Life policyholders to contact the firm at their preferred time using their preferred method.
While a relatively new player takes the gold in account owner site contact options, an established life insurer earns gold for mobile app capabilities. AXA provides its account owners with the most mobile app capabilities, offering all those available on the full desktop site. This category still reflects the slow pace of the industry. While AXA’s mobile app is a clear leader, the firm’s January 3, 2020 update represents the first enhancement to the app since 2017.
Top annuity firms also understand the importance of empowering clients to help themselves. Fidelity earned top marks in our account owner self-service capabilities category for both its range of options and its exceptional help features. These digital tools give account owners the ability and know-how to assist themselves with a range of tasks. Fidelity stands out for its help features, with progress meters, help tips and detailed walkthroughs ensuring that users can complete the journey on their own. USAA, meanwhile, successfully defended its gold medal in account owner document centers after first winning the category in 2017, offering a robust library of documents with unique customization options and help features directly on the page.
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Leading annuity firms also use digital capabilities to empower not only account owners but also advisors, the people who sell their products. Advisor site search tools are particularly important, as firms that enable advisors to quickly find needed resources help those advisors sell more of the firm’s products. AXA took gold in our first-ever advisor site search award, offering the most search- and results-related features of any firm. Besides providing successful results for our test inquiries, AXA’s search offers suggested search terms, predictive terms as users type, and corrections for common misspellings. The results page offers the URL and a text description for each result, along with suggested terms for narrowing the results.
View a free slide deck preview of the Life Insurance Monitor awards gold medal winners here:
As the life insurance and annuity industries confront shifting regulatory and sales environments, firms that build best-in-class digital experiences—as detailed in the 2019 Life Insurance Monitor and Annuity Monitor awards reports—will have a head start on their competitors. The leading digital experiences in this article represent just a sampling of those detailed in our full awards reports, which outline the criteria and methodology behind our awards and list the gold, silver and bronze medalists in all our categories. Please contact us to learn more about how these reports can provide actionable insights for your firm.
Sean Lambert contributed to this post.