February 2015: An Assessment of Public Site Annuity Tools and Calculators

This Annuity Monitor Report evaluates the types of annuity-focused tools and calculators provided on the public websites of 11 firms in our coverage group. The more interactive the tools, the more user-friendly they are for prospects; therefore, we favor firms that offer tools with dynamic interface designs and outputs. Specially, the report evaluates the following criteria for tools and calculators:

  • Location and accessibility
  • Types of calculators and tools
  • Ease of use and design
  • Results presentation

In our assessment, one firm ranks the highest for providing two impressive product-focused tools that are interactive, educational and easily accessible within the Annuities section. The runner-up firm offers a comprehensive product-focused tool and a retirement planning tool that recommends annuities as a source of retirement income. The firm, however, does not adequately promote one of its tools. The remaining firms covered in this report can improve in at least two of these key areas: expanding on offering interactive tools, output comprehensiveness and tool accessibility.

The most notable tools in this report are interactive, highly informative and well-promoted. Three firms incorporate interactive features into their tools, such as sliders and dynamic graphs, and allow users to manipulate the results by adjusting key factors. As for the tools’ outputs, some firms offer extensive information on suggested products and annuities as a whole within the results. The best tools also adequately promote products and services offered by the firm, such as recommending a product or promoting the firm’s financial professional services.

Overall, the assessed tools and calculators are resourceful; however, the report does recommend that firms provide more collaborative tools on the public site to help educate prospects on annuities.

Additional key findings include:

  • Thirteen tools display results using graphs.
  • One firm allows prospects to email its calculator’s results.
  • Seven firms include an upload/revision date on their results screens.