Complicated insurance jargon puts off buyers


Insurance jargon puts customers off buying policies and is twice as hard to understand as other consumer financial information, according to new research.

The Plain English Campaign asked customers of insurance company Unum if they understood technical information supplied by the firm, and nearly half (46%) ranked the industry terminology harder to understand than explanations offered by banks, stores and car makers.

Almost two-thirds of consumers (64%) suggested insurance companies should simplify product information – and 28% hinted images and graphics made financial information easier to understand.

Food labelling and product information was voted the easiest to understand with a ‘difficulty rating’ of just 8%. Banking scored 29%, retail stores 25% and the motor trade 23%.

As a result of the survey, Unum is calling on the insurance industry to rewrite product information by scrapping complicated jargon and legal terms.

Marie Clair, of the Plain English Campaign, explained insurance customers found technical information confusing and put them off making decisions.

“Complex information and small print give people difficulties in really understanding information about the products they are buying,” she said.

“From this research, it is clear the insurance industry needs to ditch small print, jargon and gobbledegook in their information. Product information should make complex products more accessible to consumers, not more confusing.

“We’re backing Unum’s plea to the insurance industry to update product information so that it is crystal clear because better understanding brings greater confidence in the choices we make.”

The insurer has rewritten some insurance jargon in simpler terms and is urging the industry to follow suit.

Jack McGarry, chief executive officer of Unum UK, said: “It’s not surprising that many people find insurance confusing – there are thousands of products on the market to choose from.

“The results show that, as an industry, we need to make our products more comprehensible to the consumer. I want people to easily understand, that if you can’t work because of illness or injury, you need to have a back-up plan in place to support yourself financially.”

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