Insurance Web Sites Benchmarked in New Study

March 29, 2006

The insurance industry lags behind in Web site performance and has underperformed the overall industry benchmark in six of the past nine years, according to the Internet Standards Assessment Report (ISAR) released by the Web Marketing Association. The underperformance also is evident in the three-year criteria averages where insurance Web sites lag behind the overall averages in every category.

The ISAR study provides industry benchmarks for Web site development and is based on data collected from 9,748 Web site evaluations in more than 80 industries over the past decade. A copy of the full report can be downloaded at

“Content and copywriting tend to be the strong suits for insurance Web sites while they lag in innovation due to the conservative nature and risk adverseness of the industry,” said William Rice, president of the Web Marketing Association. “Many insurance companies were late developing dynamic Web sites because they generally relied on a sales force to sell their products. Insurance sites still tend to be more focused on the agent and broker community rather than the end consumer, except for the few insurance companies that sell their products direct to consumers. ”

Since 1997, the Web Marketing Association has been conducting its annual WebAward Competition for Web site development. The Internet Standards Assessment Report is the results of nearly a decade of independent evaluations of Web site development based on seven categories: design, innovation, content, technology, interactivity, copywriting and ease of use.

Here are some of the past WebAward’s Best Insurance Website winners.

2005 Medical Mutual – Ohio’s Get-Well Card
2004 Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey Website
2003 Empire BlueCross BlueShield Website
2001 John Hancock eVariable Life

“Of course, as in every industry, there are insurance Web sites that stand out and others that don’t make the grade,” concluded Rice. “Our goal has always been to be more than just a popularity or beauty pageant that rewards brand names and good design. Instead, this ISAR study is designed to return some value to every entrant with input as to what Internet professionals should strive for in their Web site development efforts in an objective, empirical and constructive way.”

Insurance companies wishing to have their Web site evaluated against the ISAR Index and be considered for a WebAward can nominate their site at

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