Brokers: How John Irving can help your insurance writing

Irving’s exceptional editing skills are a model for producing written documents that speak clearly to your clients and their representatives. Do your documents tell the whole story?

You may not need to be a famous novelist like John Irving to be an insurance broker, but it helps.

David Truscott, president of Risk Review Inc., a consultant representing lenders for commercial properties, has reviewed many proposals submitted by insurance brokers over the course of his long career. On the basis of his experience, he suggests brokers might benefit from employing a standard template to help organize their written ideas.

“Some insurance brokers – just like university students, college students, high school students and working back to Grades 7 and 8 – they have a tough time deciding how they are going to format and present the ideas that need to be presented, whether it’s in an insurance proposal, or evidence of insurance being bound,” Truscott said. “The first thing they should strive for would be accuracy. The second would be brevity.”

As for writing style, Truscott says brokers might learn from the painstaking amount of editing that award-winning novelist John Irving does, judiciously moving sentences around until they find the proper place in his story.  He recalled reading an essay on how Irving’s work is in a constant state of revision right up until the time it goes to press.

Truscott said the amount of work and commitment that Irving dedicated to putting the rights words in the right place was “truly amazing.”

“Brokers need to be able to do that,” he added. “They need to make sure the documents they present to a client or to a lender as evidence of insurance are completely accurate and insurance-worthy. That is, they actually state on the page what will happen.”

What’s more, Truscott adds, “they have to be written in such a way that a non-insurance person can readily grasp and understand what is supposed to be in place. You don’t do that through legalese.”

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