June 2013: Public Fixed Annuity Product Information

This Annuity Monitor Report examines the fixed annuity product information provided on the public websites of our 17 coverage firms. When examining this information, we considered the following criteria:

  • Accessibility of the fixed annuity product information on the public website
  • Layout and presentation of the fixed annuity product offerings on overview pages and individual product information pages
  • Quality and quantity of detail provided on the fixed annuity product information pages

Overall,
Annuity Monitor firms do a decent job of providing fixed annuity product information to prospective investors on the public website. Eight firms received a mark of B- or better ­­– no firms received a failing grade. Three firms stood out above the rest and received a grade in the A range.

 

Firms that scored poorly did so because they did not offer enough product details. Overall, firms adequately provide basic product information, such as key features, guarantee periods, withdrawal information and death benefit details. However, less than half of the firms offer critical product details such as account opening minimums, issue ages and fees/expenses associated with the products. Conversely, firms generally provide good access to their fixed annuity product pages, as over 10 firms offer at least two access points (via public site homepage quicklinks, main menu tabs and website footer links).

 

Annuity firms effectively organize their fixed annuity product information on the public website. General annuity overview pages and more specific fixed annuity overview pages are each provided by the majority of firms, 93% and 57%, respectively. Approximately 57% of firms feature individual product information pages for each fixed annuity offering. Additionally, eight firms in total offer access to product literature from the fixed annuity pages, and 57% offer links to annuity-focused tools and calculators.

 

Additional key findings include: 

  • Every firm except one provides links to financial professional contact resources directly on the fixed annuity information pages.
  • Approximately 64% of firms utilize flyout capabilities within the main navigation menu which provide direct access to specific pages from the public homepage.
  • Available benefit rider and optional feature information is provided by only six firms, and investor suitability considerations are offered by 29%.
  • Fixed annuity product comparison charts were utilized by only two firms.