The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has issued guidance to help insurance professionals close the ‘expectation gap’ between what customers expect insurance products to do, and what they deliver.
The guide, entitled ‘Transparency and insurance’, highlights how insurance professionals should apply the CII’s code of ethics to ensure customers understand the extent of cover and service offered by insurance products, and receive clear information before, during and after the point of sale.
Sian Fisher, chief executive officer of the CII, said: “Far too often there is an expectation gap between what customers thought that promise was and what the provider intended.
“By focussing on actions that can be taken to improve communications and product design, I hope we can reduce the gap between expectation and delivery and therefore increase trust in our united profession.”
Ms Fisher added: “Insurance professionals must remember that they are the expert and should be careful to use language and terms that can be easily understood by someone who does not have the same benefit of knowledge and familiarity with terms and concepts as they do.”
The guide is centered around five ‘duties’ of the CII’s code of ethics.
According to the CII’s guidance, members should “positively and proactively” enhance clarity of wordings for the average consumer.
Additionally, the guide advises professionals to aim for reading material to be understood by those with a reading age of 13 or under, as well as ensuring maximum legibility for customers with visual impairments by varying use of font size and colour contrast.
It also reminds members to vary their advice, guidance and offerings to suit the level of knowledge and experience of the customer they are interacting with.
Jiten Varsani, mortgage and protection adviser at London Money, said: “These are really positive steps in the journey towards building greater confidence within the industry.
"The issue with any insurance policy is that you never know the quality of the plan until you make a claim. This is the worst time to find out you are not covered for an event/situation you thought you were."
Mr Varsani added: "Ensuring the client understands, in simple jargon free language is essential towards building trust. We need to be more conscious around the words we use, for example the term ‘critical Illness’ can mean different things to advisers compared to clients.
"Educating the client and ensuring they have time to make an informed decision, before they purchase a policy should be a must.”
The guidance comes after the CII established the chartered transparency forum to examine how the profession can best meet consumers’ expectations.
The forum, which produced the guide, comprises consumer representatives, legal experts and practitioners from the insurance profession.
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