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Carriers Add Tips to Sites

Life and annuity providers add info about dealing with the economy.

Life insurers and annuity providers are enhancing their Web sites to respond to the changing needs of financial advisors and customers during the down market, according to Dalbar's (Boston) third-quarter '02 Web rankings, which score sites based on usability, content currency and consistency.

The most frequent additions to these sites include tips on how to best deal with the current market. According to Lou Harvey, Dalbar's president, such enhancements are important because "investor confidence is at historical lows."

Fidelity was ranked the number one life insurance and annuity consumer site with TIAA-CREF, Prudential Financial and New York Life sharing the number-two spot. Pacific Life, Fidelity and American Skandia were ranked numbers one, two and three, respectively, in the financial professional rankings.

American Skandia (Shelton, CT, $31.6 billion in assets under management) improved its ranking five spots from the previous quarter. Since then, all of its site's content was rewritten. "Providing economist commentary also assists in keeping users up to date with market information." says Lori Allen, spokesperson, American Skandia.

Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America (New York, $32 billion in assets),which ranked 24th, improved its position by five spots because it is now enabling financial professionals to view client accounts, client profiles, client account options and status of transfers. "Our aim is to improve features so users have more access to account and product information," says Patrick Naratil, manager, Guardian Investor Services, LLC.

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