Is the Insurance Industry Drowning in Jargon?

jargon image

Jargon – don’t you just love it?

It appears everywhere, and few of us are immune from using it, at one time or another.

Sales teams love to use it, of course they do.

Who hasn’t opted for a spot of blue sky thinking? Or put a stake in the ground, a line in the sand, or run a few ideas up the flagpole?

And it’s not a new thing, either. You only have to watch the wonderful 1957 film 12 Angry Men (has there ever been a better character study into the personalities and frailties of modern man?) to find its prevalence; Juror 12 bringing some Mad Avenue marketing spiel into the conversation to frequently grating effect.

What is jargon?

Type this question into Google, and this what you’ll find:

jargon1

ˈdʒɑːɡ(ə)n/

noun

noun: jargon; plural noun: jargons

  1. special words or expressions used by a profession or group that are difficult for others to understand.

Expressions used by professionals that are difficult for others (outside of the profession) to understand.

Something for which the insurance industry has long-standing form.

Alienating for the customer? Almost certainly

Damaging to industry? Potentially, yes.

An article in the Telegraph from 2015 highlights the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) concerns over the use of jargon from financial and insurance companies when communicating with customers. Calling for firms to:

write in a more creative and informative way, instead of sending reams of densely packed small print”

Adding that:

Although the small print may include all the information legally required, customers are not always highly financially literate and so do not fully understand what they are buying.”

This surely presents a problem in an age, fostered on digital, mobile, and cloud-based technology, where consumers are increasingly searching for simplicity, transparency, and immediacy in their purchasing processes. Be it an item on Amazon, a train or plane ticket on Expedia, or, crucially, the insurance they take out on their belongings, their travels and experiences, or their health and well-being.

It’s the reason we are seeing the emergence of tech-based insurance solutions, Insurtech, an entire concept designed around delivering automated, digital, and responsive insurance services to meet these modern consumer demands, purchasing habits and expectations.

But just as insurance has always been an industry rich in jargon usage, the same can also be said of the tech industry. Meaning a problem that continues to persist.

Technical language is a necessity, of course, be it in finance, insurance, or tech. Professionals talking or communicating in a language, and via terminology they mutually understand is fine. Where both parties know perfectly well what the other is referring to when they speak of an arbitration clause, or material facts.

Where it can become an issue is when this jargon is used to convey information to the consumer or end-user.

Why?

Because it can lead to information that’s confusing, vague, or even misleading.

And, often, it’s just plain annoying; betraying a sense that the salesperson, broker, or whomever you’re dealing with, is trying to bamboozle you with tech-speak; to sound clever or expert enough to make you feel innately inferior.

The trouble with that of course, is that most of us know that jargon has the potential to allow people to hide behind words they themselves do not necessarily understand.

Clear Policies, Clear Understanding

Throwing in technical terms, or other kinds of jargon, into the terms and conditions of an insurance policy is a bugbear of the consumer, who can feel instantly confused about what’s covered, what’s not covered, or what kind excess or stipulations may exist.

Consumers want simplicity.

They want to know what their insurance policy covers, how it works, and how to claim when such a time occurs.

It’s really as simple as that.

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