Choosing which annuity self-service capabilities to include is an important consideration when creating a best-in-class digital account owner experience. Annuity firms must strike a balance between two important considerations: The more online annuity transactions they offer, the more users can accomplish on their own. But too many capabilities, or poorly organized options, can overwhelm users and create a cluttered experience that ultimately prevents users from accomplishing anything. Annuity firms must be selective in which capabilities they prioritize on the account owner site. Below, we’ll examine some best practices for annuity capabilities from a recent CI report on authenticated sites:

More self-service capabilities give users greater account autonomy

Increasingly, annuity firms favor online processes over forms and in-person customer service transactions. Our annuity research team recently surveyed account owner site experiences to compare 11 self-service transactions across the 18 authenticated annuity site experiences we track. Future allocation changes, fund transfer and transaction histories are examples of self-service capabilities commonly available across annuity sites. Others, such as benefits roll-up and interest sweeps, are available only on certain sites.

Among the 18 authenticated sites our research team tracks:

  • All active allocation processes—except for automatic rebalancing (44%)—register a greater than 50% adoption rate. Transferring funds (83%) and changing future allocations (72%) are currently the most popular.
  • All other active transaction processes register under 50% industry adoption rates, with interest sweeps and resetting benefit bases each offered by only one coverage group firm.
  • Just under half of all coverage group firms allow account owners to make withdrawals via an online process.

This chart shows the industry adoption rates of a variety of annuity self-service options on authenticated sites, ranging from view allocation (100% adoption) to interest sweep (6%)Help features can address UX obstacles and aid users in completing digital self-service transactions

Our annuity research team also analyzed the functionality, design, available help features and findability of these self-service processes. Our researchers found that, when it comes to help features, firms should incorporate clear, focused and easily findable content to aid users in their site journeys. As annuity owners may not log into their accounts as often as they might log into other financial accounts, like their bank account, annuity firms should err toward including more help options to help unfamiliar, and often less tech-savvy, users.

Transactions vary in terms of the help features they incorporate, although instructions and progress meters are prevalent across a wide range of firms and their self-service transaction processes. These options help users understand how to complete their desired tasks and how many steps the process will take.

  • Instructions register a 50% or better industry adoption rate for five different self-service capabilities
  • Progress meters register a 50% or better industry adoption rate for nine different self-service capabilities

Online annuity capabilities may vary in applicability

Annuity firms must be thoughtful when deciding which capabilities to highlight in their navigation and homepage. Some account owners may value certain transactions differently than others, meaning that firms cannot tailor their digital offerings to one type of consumer. A consumer’s perceived value of a particular self-service capability can be driven by a variety of factors, like familiarity and comfortability with the site, the type of product(s) they own, and their financial goals. The best approach may be to use internal data while considering different customer types—for example, users who just want to check their balance and log out vs. users who want to actively manage their investment lineup—and make sure each corresponding journey is simple and findable from the navigation and homepage.

Corporate Insight continues to closely monitor annuity UX across leading firms. Within our Annuity Monitor subscription research service, we see firms expanding and improving digital capabilities to provide consumers with best-in-class user experiences. Look to our blog for further insights on the best annuity UX.