By: 10 December 2020
CII issues transparency guide for insurance professionals

Recently issued guidance from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) aims to help insurance professionals close the gap between what customers expect insurance products to do and what they deliver.

The guide highlights how insurance professionals should apply 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.

Five key actions identified in the guide are:

  • Members should positively and proactively enhance clarity of wordings for the average consumer.
  • Where any interpretation could be made, err on the side of the customer.
  • Welcome internal and external feedback about documentation and communications throughout the customer journey and use that feedback (including feedback from complaints) to make improvements.
  • Aim for all reading material to be understood by those with a reading age of 13 or less, as well as ensuring maximum legibility through varying use of font size and colour contrast.
  • Ensure you fully understand the underwriting intent of a policy before communicating with clients, and vary your advice, guidance and offerings to suit the level of knowledge and experience of the customer you are interacting with.

The CII guide also encourages insurance professionals not to prioritise speed of the purchase journey at the expense of customer understanding and engagement.

Accessibility of reading material must also be considered, the guide states, to maximise legibility for those with visual impairments, including font size, colour contrast, and availability in braille.

The guide also notes that less is often more and the length of any documentation must strike the right balance between digestibility for the consumer and depth of information in order to engage customers appropriately.

Sian Fisher, chief executive officer of CII, said: “When people buy insurance, they are buying a promise of help when things go wrong. Far too often there is an expectation gap between what customers thought that promise was and what the provider intended.”

“By focusing 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.”

CII’s Chartered Transparency Forum, created to examine ways the insurance profession can best meet the expectations of consumers, developed the new guide.

Members of the forum, which is chaired by Melissa Collett, professional standards director at CII, include Peter Blanc, group chief executive at Aston Lark, Graham Trudgill, executive director of the British Insurance Brokers Association, and Mandy Hunt, chief underwriting officer at RSA Commercial.