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Online Transformation

New Web site offers John Hancock Annuities clients and advisers portfolio administration Web tools and easier access to information.

John Hancock's (Boston) annuities division Web site stacked up well enough against its competitors, but after merging with new parent Manulife Financial (Toronto; $341 billion of funds under management) in April 2004, "We decided it was time to start investing resources in [the site]," says Louise Santosuosso, VP, content marketing, John Hancock Annuities. Now, in addition to product information and transactional functionality, offers educational retirement and investment tools and information for clients, as well as interactive tools and expanded services for financial advisers, she explains.

Tools such as a What's Your Number? calculator allow clients to determine if they have enough money to cover expenses during retirement, Santosuosso relates. A Lifestyle Portfolio section helps them set goals, and a Learning Center provides articles and interactive modules to familiarize clients with retirement, investment and annuity concepts, she adds.

In addition to improving overall usability, more sales and marketing content was added, according to Santosuosso. "The biggest contrast [to the existing site] is in adviser sales resources," she says. "We improved that functionality, but for business-building purposes, it's nothing less than a transformation."

Within the Adviser Center section of the new site, a My Tracked Portfolios tool enables advisers to personalize and track their preferred John Hancock Annuities portfolios, Santosuosso continues. Under Sales Resources, advisers have access to the firm's Continuing Education program, where they can look up continuing education requirements by state and view courses offered by John Hancock, she says.

The site's Forms Wizard section provides access to all forms advisers might need in one place, with functionality that helps them locate the specific forms they need, Santosuosso explains. "There is a have-to-have capability so that if there are five forms they need, they can't just print four -- it makes them print all five," Santos-Uosso says. "Also, all of the forms are fillable online."

Primary Focus

John Hancock Annuities looked to successful mutual fund sites for best practices, and contracted Toronto-based Teehan + Lax to redesign the site, according to Santosuosso. An internal team of about 50 individuals -- including marketing professionals, business analysts and project managers -- worked on the initiative for about 10 months, she relates.

After more than a month of intensive promotion, the site recorded 20,000 log-ins when it went live on Dec. 11, according to Santosuosso. Next steps for the site will include the addition of online literature fulfillment with "" shopping cart functionality, with rollout planned for this summer, she adds.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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