In the past year, annuity firms have addressed rising digital expectations through a vast number of minor adjustments, updates and complete overhauls, particularly on the public and account owner sites. While firms have fine-tuned their desktop site experiences, our research has found two notable digital trends among annuity issuers: Revamps to site main navigation and parity between desktop and mobile site experiences. Below, we’ll take a closer look at these two annuity trends.

Navigation gets an overhaul

One of the biggest digital trends this past year for annuity firms: several issuers upgraded their main navigation. Firms upgraded their site navigation to eliminate the need for excessive scrolling and enabling easier access to features. Multiple large firms fine-tuned their main navigation on both public and account owner sites, most notably Guardian, MassMutual, Nationwide and Prudential.

Nationwide led the charge with a total revamp of its public site main navigation. The insurance giant created a new information hierarchy and added helpful tabs. Its new main navigation features flyout menus for each major product category: Vehicle, Property, Personal, Business, Investments, and Resources. Nationwide also streamlined its search function to appear directly on the page, eliminating the need to click a search icon first. Each flyout menu contains more detailed subcategories, with the Investments menu, for example, displaying an Investment Products subcategory and featuring links such as Annuities and a Related Links subcategory to round out one of the strongest main navigation experiences found in our annuity research.

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Nationwide Navigation Menu – Investments Tab

MassMutual also refreshed its public site navigation with a condensed layout featuring new flyout menus, static links, and wider menu displays. The top half prominently showcases static links for designated user experiences: For Individuals, For Businesses & Institutions, and For Financial Professionals. Important links like Claims and Billing & Payments have been relocated to the bottom half with enhanced visibility. Here, the firm merged menus, introduced organizational columns and links to calculators. The Financial Wellness menu now features an Additional Resources column with links to specific demographic pages, and helpful videos on planning. User accessibility has been improved, with larger and brighter text throughout.

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MassMutual Navigation Menu

Guardian also refurbished its main navigation for the account owner site. Here, the main navigation has undergone a more user-friendly makeover, introducing a Products flyout menu and three dropdowns—Payments, Documents, and a human silhouette icon—complemented by the Home button. The Products flyout serves as the central hub, providing direct links to individual contracts associated with the account alongside a convenient option to download a printable product summary. This revamped design promises greater efficiency for users exploring their account details. Through the efforts of these aforementioned industry leaders this past year, one can note a trend in using main navigation to deliver a quick and efficient desktop site experience.

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Guardian Navigation Menu – My Products Tab

Mobile experiences add desktop capabilities

Another of the notable digital trends our annuity research found is that issuers strived to unite their desktop and mobile app user experiences. In 2023, firms realized that to ensure the strongest digital customer experience possible, they must develop their mobile app to be as equally efficient as desktop sites. A study from market research firm Data Innovation discovered that nearly 70% of consumers use their mobile phones for financial services. Annuity issuers must address this ever-growing demographic by providing a comprehensive experience where key desktop features appear within annuity apps.

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USAA App

While many issuers partook in the mobile app enhancement, USAA stands out amongst the rest covered in our research by introducing a desktop feature to its mobile apps. The military financial service provider seamlessly integrated its public site Deferred Annuity calculator into the mobile app, creating a more consistent experience across platforms. Users will view the same user-friendly interface if they access the calculator on their desktop or find it on the app home screen within the Retirement & Investing widget. The mobile app version mirrors its desktop counterpart, featuring a responsive design and dynamic results that adjust in real-time. Just as on the desktop, the mobile app offers a clear next step on the screen, accompanied by a convenient Schedule a Call button. Adding an extra layer of troubleshooting, the mobile app includes a chat icon at the bottom of the calculator screen, activating the embedded chatbot for a more interactive experience.

The digital landscape among annuity issuers witnessed a year marked by the commitment to delivering robust user experiences. The trends of firms revamping main navigations reflect a focused effort to bolster customer interactions and usability. Furthermore, the trend of creating a seamless desktop and mobile app experience, notably demonstrated by USAA’s integration of the Deferred Annuity calculator, highlights the industry’s recognition of the growing importance of the mobile experience. Looking ahead, these trends pave the way for a more efficient and customer-oriented future in the realm of annuity services.

Learn more about our ongoing research into the annuity industry. And check out our Insights page for more on the latest trends across financial services and healthcare.

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Christopher Iannaccone

Christopher Iannaccone is an analyst on CI's annuity and life insurance research teams.