May 2014: Optional Benefit Rider Positioning

Optional annuity benefit riders can provide contract holders with retirement income growth, lifetime income protection and death benefit protection, for an extra cost. These add-on annuity riders vary in features and fees across the annuity industry, therefore, it is important that firms educate consumers and prospects on them. This Annuity Monitor Report examines how 11 firms in our coverage group market optional benefit riders on their public sites. Specifically, the report focuses on three key criteria:

  • Accessibility of optional rider information
  • Presentation of the optional riders
  • Quality of information offered

Overall, firms adequately position information on optional benefit riders on the public site. A majority of the firms received a grade in the B-range, as they provide some rider details on the public site, either on annuity product pages, within rider-specific PDF brochures or on a microsite. Three firms ranked in the A-range, as they each complement rider details on the public site with comprehensives resources, such as PDF brochures and videos.

 

The report shows how 82% of firms make annuity product pages the main access point for optional rider information. Some firms discuss living benefit riders and/or death benefit offerings within a dedicated section of the annuity product pages. Other firms instead provide access to optional rider resources on the annuity product pages. Fewer firms (67%) utilize the Annuities overview page as an access point for optional benefit information and resources. Only one firm groups optional benefits information and resources into one section of the public site.

 

The way optional riders are presented varies by firm, with some offering details directly on public site pages and others offering details within PDF brochures. For example, five firms highlight the optional riders’ key features and functionality directly on their public site pages, while four firms highlight rider features within videos. In addition, five firms provide optional riders’ features, fees and functionality within PDF documents. Lastly, in terms of content, we found that 10 firms highlight key rider features and nine firms show how the rider works, whether through hypothetical calculations or graphs. Additionally, 82% of firms also include the cost of riders, whether on a public site page or PDF document. 

 

Additional key findings include:

  • All covered firms offer optional living riders and death benefit riders.
  • Two firms discuss specific optional riders within microsites.
  • Two firms offer rider-specific calculators.
  • One firm provides a PowerPoint presentation highlighting an optional rider.