Dalbar: Universal Life statements trails behind all other industry segments in service quality

Toronto, ON – February 23, 2011 – The results from DALBAR’s recently released Trends and Best Practices in Universal Life Statements report show this industry trailing behind all other segments. The industry benchmark for this segment was the lowest average score recorded for industry studies conducted in the past two years, such as the mutual fund, managed portfolio, brokerage, and defined contribution pension plan industries.

In keeping with the objective to promote the highest standards in client reporting, DALBAR’s investor statement evaluation criteria underwent a comprehensive review and update this past year. Evolving consumer expectations, changing economic climates, and the advent of new technologies were factored into the update in a bid to raise the level of quality offered by Canadian Universal Life statements. More importance was paid to the availability of statements with Accessible formats, such as Braille, Large Print, Audio, and Accessible PDF.

Statements were found to offer minimal levels of detail in areas such as performance reporting, asset allocation, and holdings details. There was a clear disconnect between the reporting of the changes to the insurance policy and changes to the investment portion of the account. The relationship between the two halves of the account are not being communicated clearly enough to the policy holder, and how changes in one portion have affected the other during the statement period. As well, the industry has yet to include value-added features such as goal-tracking or targeted messaging. These are innovative features that add tremendous value to the statement.

The top three ranked firms from this year’s study were:

Anita Lo, DALBAR’S Vice President of Canadian Strategy comments, “Results from this year’s study provide further evidence that poorly communicated statements do a disservice to the products that policy holders hold in their insurance plans.” She adds, “Universal Life policy holders deserve statements that do a better job of communicating the benefits of holding these types of investment products.”

To purchase a copy of DALBAR‘s 2011 Trends and Best Practices in Universal Life Statements complete with rankings, please contact DALBAR.