Far Out Friday: To insure, or not to insure—that’s the 37,931-word question

Far Out Friday: To insure, or not to insure—that’s the 37,931-word question | Insurance Business

Far Out Friday: To insure, or not to insure—that’s the 37,931-word question
Verbal economy is not a virtue of the insurance industry, according to results from a recent consumer advocacy campaign.
Consumer advocacy group Fairer Finance, based in the UK, has concluded that William Shakespeare retold the story of Julius Caesar’s assassination in about half as many words as it takes UK specialty insurer Staysure Ltd. to issue a travel insurance policy.
Similarly, a 26,052-word homeowner’s policy from Lloyd’s of London ranked in at roughly the same word-count of the Bard’s immortal “Romeo & Juliet”, while a personal auto insurance policy from Endsleigh Insurance Services reads longer than George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”
The literary comparisons are part of Fairer Finance’s push to increase transparency in the consumer banking and insurance industries, the consumer advocacy group said. Employees at Fairer painstakingly counted the total number of words contained in UK-based banks and insurance companies’ terms and conditions documents only to compare them to word counts of famous literary masterpieces.
Apparently, it is a far, far better thing to meticulously outline exclusions than it is to pen the timeless wonders of the great authors in this day and age. But then again - who's actually reading the fine print?
  • Scott 2014-05-15 11:50:22 PM
    I think this is comparing apples to oranges in the worst way. If clients (& their brokers & their lawyers) treated insurance in the intended way then the insurers would not need to devote so many words to make it painfully clear exactly what will & exactly what will not be paid. However, people turn to insurance when they are desperate, so they try to find any possible loophole. In comparison, Orwell & many other authors feel 'less is more' when it comes to writing. They can afford to be vague & evocative, as they are not putting millions of dollars on the line by doing so. A more true comparison would be comparing an insurance policy to the legal acts & legislation.
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  • John 2014-05-16 2:32:21 AM
    Scott, your inference that the poor innocent insurers have to resort to pages and pages of exclusions to deal with the nasty grasping public is deplorable. A contract of upmost good faith ought to assume that an insured is making an honest representation and thus a claim is payable unless it is excluded therefore the insurer applies exclusions. However, I question how it is in good faith to apply exclusions so onerous and opaque that a normal person cannot reasonably interpret them. Whilst you may not like the way in which the survey is making its point, its point is closer to the truth of the matter than yours.
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