DALBAR Recognizes the Best Web Sites in Life Insurance & Annuities

Four Companies Earn �Excellent� Designation; State farm and Manulife Among Many to Deliver Big Gains

(Boston, MA. � September 7, 2004) Industry leaders Fidelity Investments, New York Life, Mass Mutual and Lincoln Life are the best at supporting the needs of their online customers, according to Dalbar�s latest quarterly ranking of Life Insurance & Annuity Web sites. These four sites were the only ones out of over 200 Web sites evaluated to earn Dalbar�s highest honor, the �Excellent� Web site designation.

In addition to Fidelity�s continued excellence, New York Life joins Fidelity in offering an excellent Consumer Web site. Mass Mutual and Lincoln Life deliver excellent Web sites for Financial Professionals.

Second Quarter Rankings, 2004

A number of sites made great strides in second quarter, 2004. State Farm�s consumer site, which debuted a �Banking Quick Tour� section, improved 9 spots to make the Top 10 for the first time. USAA also debuts in the Top 10 with the release of resources and tools that help consumers create and monitor their financial plans. Two other consumer sites � Guardian (14th) and Union Central (24th) – were ranked for the first time.

Among Web sites for financial professionals, Transamerica enters the Top 5 on the strength of a redesigned site that improves the ability for advisors to track pending business. ING jumped 6 spots to enter the Top 10 for the first time. Meanwhile, Manulife, Security Benefit, IFS Western Southern and Fidelity all posted double-digit gains.

Top-ranked Web sites as of the end of second quarter, 2004 are:

Web Ranking Consumer Financial Professional
#1 Fidelity* Mass Mutual*
#2 New York Life* Lincoln Life*
#3 TIAA-CREF MainStay Annuities
#4 Prudential Financial The Hartford
#5 The Hartford Transamerica

*Earns Dalbar�s �Excellent� designation.

Trend: Using the Web to Build Stronger Client Relationships

Life Insurance & Annuity companies are creating Web sites that help financial professionals provide value-add services to customers. Many sites promote features designed to help financial professionals build stronger relationships with their clients, like

  • Sales tools that promote ways in which financial professionals can assess whether clients have enough life insurance coverage, as well exploring ways in which life insurance can be used as a supplemental source of retirement income.

  • Asset allocation tools that enable financial professionals to evaluate their clients’ current portfolio and make well-rounded suggestions for optimal asset class mixture.

The complete WebMonitor Life Insurance & Annuity quarterly updates for Second Quarter, 2004, are available from Dalbar at WebMonitor Quarterly Rankings.

DALBAR, Inc., the nation�s leading financial-services market research firm, is committed to raising the standards of excellence in the financial-services industry. With offices in both the US and Canada, DALBAR develops standards for, and provides research, ratings, and rankings of intangible factors to the mutual fund, broker/dealer, discount brokerage, life insurance, and banking industries. They include investor behavior, customer satisfaction, service quality, communications, Internet services, and financial-professional ratings.