Top National Brokers Websites Reviewed – Part I

The Players

In light of our research and this BI survey now it is time to take a good look at the major national firms. With these firms being so large and resource rich I held them to higher standards than I did the smaller brokers. Clearly they have large teams and budgets to manage their technology and web needs and should be innovators and leaders. For the most part they are not.

There are well over 100 local/regional broker websites better than all but 3 or 4 of this group.

The large brokers break down into 3 groupings:

  • The big 3 – AON, Marsh and Willis
  • The other publicly traded firms and the fomerly publicly traded (plus Lockton and Segal)
  • The Banks – Wells Fargo and BB&T

I also included as a contrast United Benefit Advisors(UBA), a group of independent firms focused on employee benefits consulting. Their firms are “David” competing in over 125 markets nationally with many of these large “Goliath” firms. You will find the comparison quite interesting.

Our Methodology

We looked at 5 major categories in reviewing these top firm’s web efforts from the perspective of a prospect doing research and looking for a new broker:

  1. Overall Visual Appeal/Site Value to a visiting prospective customer
  2. “Googleability” – how visible are they on the web for 14 key industry terms so prospects can find them
  3. SEO – have they optimized their site at least for metatags and the use of analytics tools to monitor their site’s effectiveness
  4. Social Media – how are they using the web 2.0 tools like RSS and social media sites to connect with customers
  5. “Local Googleability” –  Ours is a local relationship business so how visible are these large firms in 60 top US markets when Googling for “employee benefits”?

So how are the big boys doing from a web perspective?

Overall  ImpressionsWe broke this group’s overall into visual appeal an overall value of the site for a typical visitor.

  • How attractive is a site?
  • Is it easily navigable?
  • Is it focused on customers needs or corporate ego?
  • Is there value there for a visitor?
  • Are local offices easily found?
  • Is there a clear communication of their basic business?

In reviewing these firms we also took into account that their websites need to serve a multitude of audiences – customers, prospects, investors, analysts and the media. The problem with this is that in trying to be a jack of all trades they often master none of them.

Also many failed at a simple description of what they do – often seeming to be afraid to say they are insurance brokers and using a lot of words to say everythng but that.

If you take commissions or fees for the placement of any type of insurance or financial products you are a broker. It’s okay to be a broker!

See next post for site reviews…

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