August 2018 – Assessing Accuracy and Usability: Public and Account Owner Site Search

Prospective and current annuity policy owners visit firm websites to research products, access account information and make transactions. Given the size of these websites, the homepage and navigation menus do not always offer an efficient route to desired content. To offer a better user experience, firms should provide both intuitive and accurate public and account owner site search tools. This report analyzes the capabilities of the 16 Annuity Monitor firms that offer search on either their public or account owner sites. Our review focuses on key aspects of a successful search tool, including findability and usability, as well as quality and accuracy of results. As public and account owner search tools serve varying purposes, we evaluate each tool separately before grading each firm’s overall search quality.

Few firms in this report provide consistently accurate results or the supplemental features of leading search engines. Some features are commonly available: all firms make search easily findable from the header, and all supply text descriptions to preview at least some of the results. The industry falls short in other areas. Only 44% of firms in this report offer predictive search, a standard feature outside of the industry that supports customers who are unfamiliar with related vocabulary. Most results pages lack filters, available for only 19% of public site searches, or suggested search terms, offered by only two firms on their public site searches. With the industry failing to measure up to the high standard for online searches, no firm receives a grade in the A range, and only 25% receive grades in the B range.

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