John Hancock has partnered with Vitality to become the first American life insurance firm to reward policy holders for healthy lifestyles based on continually shared data. Internationally, life insurance products utilizing Vitality data are already available in South Africa, Australia, Singapore and Europe. The firm introduced two products integrating Vitality: John Hancock Term with Vitality and Protection UL with Vitality. Once clients purchase a policy, a Vitality Health Review assesses their risk factors, determines their risk-adjusted age (Vitality age) and provides them with personalized lifestyle goals, such as increasing their level of exercise. Rather than undergoing a traditional underwriting process, the products are priced continuously based on the Vitality tracking data that clients share with the firm. Clients who meet their goals and perform healthy behaviors (like getting a flu shot or regularly working out at a gym) earn Vitality points toward policy premium discounts of up to 15%, along with rewards and discounts at various retailers. Clients who sign up also receive a free FitBit device to transmit activity data to Vitality.
The emergence of versatile and intuitive tablets and mobile phones has sparked a shift in web development, from mobile websites and apps to multi-platform responsive websites. The responsive design shift is a targeted approach for the construction and visual structure of sites, with the goal of providing an optimal user experience across all devices.
In this slide deck, we examine how firms in the retirement and insurance industries have responded to growing consumer demand by introducing new and redesigned websites.
For anyone who has followed Google’s updates through the years, it should come as no surprise that an algorithm change is on the way. This change, which rolls out on April 21, will significantly favor mobile-friendly sites in search rankings. While many of Google’s past changes have been somewhat inconsequential, this change promises to have a big impact on SEO for businesses.
In the September 2014 Thought Leadership Insights blog, we focused on thought leaders’ responses to the Fed’s ambiguity concerning the future of quantitative easing. Asset management firms closely followed the Fed’s signals this month, with a significant amount of predictive and reactive commentaries surrounding the FOMC’s March 18-19 meeting. This month, we revisit the issue of monetary policy as it relates to the overall domestic economic landscape, discussing five notable thought pieces on the subject. Some commentaries that we highlight are speculative – occurring before the meeting – while others are reactive.
Topics: Fund Thought Leadership Insights
- Firms Announce Upcoming Apple Watch Apps – Both Citibank and Fidelity announced that they will be releasing apps for the upcoming Apple Watch. The Citi Mobile Lite app will allow clients to view summary information and balances for checking accounts, savings accounts and credit cards. Fidelity’s launch day app, known as Fidelity Mobile for Apple Watch, will allow customers to view market information, access stock quotes and receive trading alerts in real time. The app will sync with the firm’s existing iPhone app, affording further research and trade capabilities. Both apps are scheduled to go live on the day Apple Watch launches – April 24, 2015.
- Retirement Under the Spotlight – Five firms across our Monitor groups released new or updated tools and services related to retirement planning in March. Fidelity introduced a retirement program – IRA Match – that incentivizes clients to save more for retirement by making a matching contribution to clients’ IRAs of up to 10% of their annual contribution for three years. The program is available to new and existing clients who transfer or open an IRA, with contributions tiered based on holdings. Franklin Templeton unveiled a new retirement-focused page that features a variety of retirement-focused content, such as planning and portfolio construction. Merrill Edge redesigned its Personal Retirement Calculator to feature more captivating imagery, while ShareBuilder simplified its RetireMyWay planning tool to now only consist of a two-step personal data entry and investment style selection process. Finally, USAA released a new planning tool – How Much Will You Need to Retire? – which compares users’ current projected retirement savings against their retirement needs, and offers a checklist of suggestions, such as making a budget and saving for emergencies.
- Scoring March Madness Marketing – In early March, three firms launched marketing initiatives to coincide with the NCAA basketball tournament. Farmers introduced a Bracket Challenge sweepstakes on Facebook that features two brackets chosen by NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne and professional golfer Rickie Fowler. The firm prompts participants to choose the bracket of the athlete that they believe will perform better, and winners are eligible for five prizes, including a $100 gift card and a hat signed by both celebrities. Farmers also put a small charitable twist on the contest, as they will donate $5,000 to the winning athlete’s foundation. RBC also put a creative spin on the “bracket,” by creating a 2015 tuition bracket that cleverly illustrates the cost of a four-year education at each of the schools in the NCAA tournament. A corresponding article – Tuitions Madness: What It Costs to Make the Finals – compares the struggles inherent in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament to the increasingly high costs of higher education and serves as a reminder to parents to start saving for their children’s college fees. Finally, Northwestern Mutual highlighted its sponsorship of the First Four, Round 1 of the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship through a Newsroom article and an image on the public homepage of the tournament trophy.
Topics: Trends and Highlights
Corporate Insight’s Around the Industry blog series reviews public websites and digital resources offered by leading financial services firms that fall outside of our Monitor Services coverage groups. On the heels of a recent site revamp, we examine Calvert Investments, a socially-responsible investment management firm that we first wrote about in May 2013.
Calvert Investments, headquartered in Maryland, was founded in 1976 and has been a frontrunner since 1982 in the area of sustainable and responsible investing. Sustainable investing has been gaining momentum in markets worldwide as more investors seek to align their financial goals and personal values and beliefs. With $13 billion AUM, the firm offers investors a wide variety of mutual funds and separate accounts that focus on corporate responsibility and environmental issues.
Our quarterly Annuity and Life Insurance Product Update reviews new products released by annuity carriers and life insurers over the last quarter. To view past updates, check out the archive.
The slide deck below reviews the new annuity and life insurance products introduced in the first quarter of 2015.
The Broker Monitor team was busy this past February as both Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management revamped their public sites. Introduced only weeks apart, both new platforms shed their archaic designs for more contemporary looks. In addition to their sleeker appearances, the sites contain striking similarities that speak to larger trends within the brokerage industry, most notably their adoption of responsive design.
Social media has drastically enhanced the line of communication between consumers and corporations. The instantaneous nature of reaching out through Facebook has become commonplace, and many consumers have migrated away from calling toll-free lines or sending emails for rants, raves and inquiries. In order to meet communication trends, major healthcare providers such as Aetna have evolved by answering participant posts directly on their Facebook pages. However, the decision to interact with plan participants via Facebook can sometimes feel like a Pandora’s box, especially when posts feature disgruntled messages stemming from personal frustrations.
Topics: Social Media
Inside, we provide a rundown of the new products introduced on the firm’s websites during the 2014 year, and highlight their key features.