July 2014: Annuity Account Information on Mobile Phones

This Annuity Monitor Report examines the availability of account information on smartphone devices for annuity contract holders from seven firms within our coverage group. We utilized Android phone and iPhones for this report and examined the availability of mobile sites and mobile apps for each firm. Specifically, the report focused on three main criteria:

  • The types of mobile platforms utilized by firms to showcase account information.
  • The account information available on mobile devices.
  • The presentation and layout of information.

Based on our examination, we found that all seven firms provide clients with a mobile-optimized private site. The availability of a mobile site is key for clients trying to locate annuity information from a mobile device. Mobile site accessibility, however, is inconsistent across firms, as only three firms recognize clients’ mobile devices and direct them to a mobile-optimized site. Three other firms require users to enter a specific mobile site URL.

Of the firms covered in this report, 88% enable clients to view annuity account information from a mobile app. Five firms provide mobile apps for both iPhones and Android phones, and one additional firm provides only an iPhone mobile app. The details available in these apps vary among firms.

The type of account information offered on mobile phones varies among firms. At a minimum, all firms provide clients with their annuity account number and account value. Fewer firms include the product name (71%), product type (57%) beneficiary information (29%) and issue date (14%). Three firms display recent account activities for clients, and only one firm displays surrender charges, and withdrawal and rider details.

In our research, we also look at the accessibility of contact information from mobile apps or mobile sites as clients should be able to immediately contact the firm from their mobile device. Two firms stand out for displaying a customer service contact number on every screen of their mobile app and mobile site, while other firms display the personal financial professional’s contact information on a separate screen.

Additional key findings include:

  • All firms consolidate their clients’ accounts on their mobile platforms.
  • Two firms illustrate investment information related to variable annuities in visually appealing graphs.
  • Only one firm enables clients to view annuity-specific account statements on its mobile device.