It is positive to see Zurich has taken steps to improve accessibility to insurance for people who are deaf, with the launch of its dedicated service for deaf and hard of hearing customers.
Being deaf does not necessarily cause protection insurance eligibility issues, and policy details are worded in-depth, with key features documents to help people understand them.
As well as giving out documents and terms and conditions, advisers talk through the policies that people are arranging. We cut through the jargon, make it understandable, and we chat with our clients.
So what’s the problem?
I do not imagine that a significant portion of advisers in the UK know British sign language. So where is the chat, the human side, the empathy of the advice process?
Are we providing the same level of care and conversation to people who are deaf? I imagine many of us are not.
Many of my clients with good hearing prefer email for the ability to quickly discuss things in the background while they are at work or at the end of the day, so they can sort the bulk of their insurance applications without being stuck on a phone.
But is it fair that someone who is deaf is stuck with written documents or email as their forms of communication? Should we do more?
Zurich’s introduction of a free service with SignLive is a big step towards improving access to insurance.
It allows people to apply for insurance with Zurich and have an interpreter speak to them in sign language.
It makes sense for the industry as it builds confidence in the ethics of insurers and, from a business point of view, opens the door to a new client base. But mainly, it is morally the right thing to do.
Kathryn Knowles is managing director of Cura Financial Services