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5 June 2019
Karen Monks

Life insurance websites don't make the best seller lists

The last time Celent reviewed life insurance websites was in 2016. We evaluated how easy it is for a prospective policyholder to purchase and transact business online or for a policyholder to make policy changes by themselves. We found that the sites were more or less a place to find information, but not easily, and self-service was nearly non-existent.

In 2019, Celent conducted the same analysis. Working with my colleague, David Himmel, we did a review of the top 100 life insurance company websites. We looked at everything in front of the policyholder portal firewall and behind it. Our database includes about 100 fields and we painstakingly looked through every site or used active policyholders to determine if the site offered that option. We also looked at the attractiveness and ease of use of a site using a basic rubric.

Celent’s report will be published this summer with all the results, but I thought I’d give a quick preview.The results didn’t change much from 2019, but a few things stood out.

Our analysis suggests that insurers could concentrate more on ease of use. It should be easy for a visitor to the site to find information. We found that finding information on products that are offered was not easy; likewise, even a few of the portal sign-in locations were not that easy to find. In our assessment, we determined ease of use by focusing on website navigation, how information was presented, how easy it was to find that information, and the ability to complete easy and common tasks, both in front of and behind the firewall. Even though life insurance is complex, there is no excuse for making the site hard to navigate and use.

The advice area which includes the availability of calculators, planning tools, and self-help on product suitability was an area of interest because it is in front of the portal firewall. Life planning tools now augment most of the sites, but online sales and advice is limited. If the desire is to keep the product sales in the hands of the agent, then offering more agent access from sites is necessary. Our takeaway is that most insurers don’t want customers to obtain advice from their sites or at least have not made it easy.

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