It should not be difficult to understand health insurance.
In essence, it’s just something you pay for now, so it pays for your needs in the future. So selling something that simple shouldn’t be hard at all.
Well, it’s not.
And in most cases, as insurance agents all over the planet have come to find out, insurance is such a head scratcher that many potential policy buyers are postponing or cancelling their decisions to acquire a policy.
It’s the words used to sell insurance, says new research conducted in the United Kingdom, according to a Cover article by Owain Thomas. Surprisingly, the study discovered that customers find insurance language and information the least understandable when compared with those used by other industries, including banking. Technical jargon and complicated product information are driving people away from buying policies.
The YouGov survey, conducted on behalf of Unum, ranked insurance (46%) as twice as hard to understand as cars (23%), retail (25%), and banking (29%) sectors. Not surprisingly, the food industry was the least difficult to understand with a difficulty ranking of only 8%.
Of the study’s 2,000 respondents, 64 percent said that a jargon-less language would help most in making product information understandable to consumers, while 28 percent believed that the use of images would accomplish the same.
“Complex information and the perils of small print have made it difficult for people to really understand information about the products they are purchasing,” said Marie Clair, the spokesperson for the Plain English Campaign. She pointed out that technical detail confuses a lot of people and complicates the decision-making process.
Clair also noted that the research clearly pointed to the fact that the insurance industry needs to drop the jargon and small print in its product information. She said product information should make already complex products, such as insurance, easier to understand and not more confusing than they already are.
Unum is spearheading the initiative to simplify and clarify product information among industry players in the UK and Plain English Campaign is backing them up. Together they hope to foster greater consumer confidence in the choices they make.
Meanwhile, Jack McGarry, CEO of Unum UK, said that he’s not really surprised that many potential customers are confused by insurance, given the huge number of choices in the market today. He acknowledged that the industry direly needs to make its products more understandable for the average consumer, so he or she can understand the basic message of health insurance –
That if you find yourself unable to make a living because of illness or injury, you need to have a fallback plan to financially provide for you and your family.
“By providing consumers with more easily-understood information, we will raise awareness of the risks employees face and explain what income protection is,” McGarry said.