Better Safe Than Sorry: Annuity Firms Ramp Up Login and Security Features

by on Nov 20, 2018

Recent technological advances coupled with breaches and fraud scares have driven financial services firms to improve their login and security processes. Annuity firms, ever trailing industry leaders, are finally catching up. Login overhauls and bolstered security lead to more findable login pages and greater use of two-factor authentication.

Account protection is a top priority, but firms need to strike a balance, creating an efficient login process that ensures account owners can complete tasks independently, decreasing calls to the firm and saving time and money. Since 2012—the last time industry tracker Annuity Monitor looked at this topic—firms have made significant improvements . Of the 13 leading firms assessed in both 2012 and presently, all have revamped their public sites within the last six years, affecting login pages’ appearance and content. Login journeys have gotten markedly smoother—and more secure.


Easily findable login is crucial to limit frustration and ensure quick access to account information. At present, all firms provide header access to login—with Pacific Life adding this feature in August—and many sites use additional points of access to login depending on the site location. Modern-day design principles, such as flat aesthetics, prominent tiles, contrasting color schemes and slideout elements, also contribute to an improved user experience and more findable login fields.

TIAA offers different flyouts on the homepage than on other public site pages, in addition to its traditional login page. Instead, firms—such as AXA, pictured below—often used embedded fields on the homepage, coupled with links in the navigation to a separate login page. Today, AXA maintains the embedded login fields on its cookied homepage for returning users and also employs a login slideout on all versions of the site.


AXA 2012 Homepage

AXA 2018 Homepage with Login Slideout

Security features have also upgraded since 2012, when Annuity Monitor noted that the coverage group trailed behind other financial firms in the banking and brokerage spaces and found that only four firms (40%) used sophisticated security measures. Now, most firms (78%) implement at least some additional login features, compared to just 22% in 2012.

The methods are now more diverse, as firms implement other verification channels beyond the security questions and images offered in 2012. At the time of the last report, security images were regarded as an advanced security method, but they have fallen out of favor as cybercriminals have become more sophisticated. Instead, recent security updates tend to focus on two-factor authentication through a texted or phoned code. While Pacific Life and Lincoln still use security images, they both use supplemental two-factor authentication.


Pacific Life Security Image Function