With industry research indicating that many individuals don't understand their annuity and life insurance needs, the responsibility falls on insurers to provide product research and needs-analysis to customers.While meeting with a financial advisor is one way to educate customers, many carriers, such as New York Life, are enhancing their Web capabilities to reach customers directly. And their efforts are being noticed.

Newyorklife.com, the corporate Web site of New York City-based New York Life Insurance Co., received the top billing in a fourth-quarter Web ranking by Dalbar Inc., Boston. Dalbar is an independent Web site ranking organization that critiques site innovations from a wide range of financial services providers.

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