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CII offers guidance on closing the customer expectation gap

CII offers guidance on closing the customer expectation gap | Insurance Business UK

CII offers guidance on closing the customer expectation gap

The importance of insurance professionals effectively managing customer expectations has risen to the fore during the COVID-19 crisis, as evidenced by the FCA business interruption test case. In keeping with its aim of offering guidance and support during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has now outlined how insurance professionals can remove the expectation gap between customers’ expectations of insurance products and the reality of what they can deliver.

The guide, which was developed by the CII’s Chartered Transparency Forum, was created to examine how the insurance industry can best meet customer expectations and five key actions that insurance professionals should undertake have been identified.

  1. They should “positively and proactively” enhance the clarity of wordings for the average consumer.
  2. Where there is any matter of interpretation, they should err on the side of the customer.
  3. They should welcome both internal and external feedback regarding documentation and communications made throughout the customer journey and utilise this feedback.
  4. They should aim for all reading material to be understood by those with a reading age of 13 or less, and ensure maximum legibility in terms of font size and colour contrast.
  5. They must fully understand the underwriting intent of a policy before communicating with clients. Insurance professionals must also vary their advice, guidance and offerings to suit the level of knowledge and experience of any individual customer.

The CII noted that this guide encourages insurance professionals not to prioritise the speed of the purchase journey at the expense of customer understanding and engagement. Other considerations include the accessibility of reading material and the length of any documentation. Such documentation should strike a balance between digestibility and depth of information.

Sian Fisher, CEO 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 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.”

She noted that the core duty of insurance is about understanding clients and putting their interests above your own. This means insurance professionals empathising with their clients, challenging unfair practices and treating everybody 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,” Fisher said. “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.”