CII issues guidance to remove ‘expectation gap’

Jake Carter

December 7, 2020

erc guidance

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has issued guidance to help remove the expectation gap between what customers expect insurance products to do and what they deliver.

The guide details how insurance professionals should apply the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Code of Ethics.

As part of the guidelines, the CII says 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, detailed the institute.

It also calls for insurance professionals to welcome internal and external feedback about documentation and communications throughout the customer journey and use that feedback to make improvements.

The CII instruct that all reading material must be understood by those with a reading age of 13 or less, as well as to ensure maximum legibility through varying use of font size and colour contrast.

Furthermore, insurance professionals must ensure they fully understand the underwriting intent of a policy before communicating with clients, and vary their advice, guidance and offerings to suit the level of knowledge and experience of the customer they are interacting with.

The 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, for instance.

Sian Fisher, chief executive of the 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 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.

“The core duty of insurance is about knowing your client and putting their interests ahead of yours, even when they may appear to be at odds.

“This duty is about putting yourself in your customers’ shoes, challenging unfair practices and treating everyone with respect.

“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.

“Insurance professionals need to make sure they are in tune with where consumers are on their financial life journey in order to best respond to their needs appropriately.”

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