Plain language increases client satisfaction

One session at IBAO's annual conference demonstrated how explaining coverage in simple terms improves communication.

The insurance industry is filled with a plethora of abbreviations and technical vocabulary that are the norm in the office. However, using everyday jargon can be a problem when the person you’re speaking to (eg. your client) doesn’t understand it.

This is why it’s important for brokers to explain insurance coverage in plain and simple language, said Jo Anne Mitchell, CIP, last week at the annual Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) conference in Niagara Falls, Ont.

During the session, attendees learned that people use jargon as a shortcut when speaking or typing, but when it’s used with customers it can often cause confusion and a breakdown in communication. This leads to uninformed purchasing decisions, and the client may even decide to take their business elsewhere, added Mitchell.

One example is, “I’ve worked out the IRCA premium. Would you like that set up on PAC?” Instead, brokers should tell their customers, “I’ve worked out the premium for the truck used in your business. Would you like that set up on a premium payment plan?”

“There is no need to use all the technical terms when speaking to your clients,” said Mitchell.

She suggested using a feature, advantage, and benefit (FAB) structure when explaining insurance coverage to customers. Feature is what the coverage is, advantage is what it does, and benefit is how it may be useful to the customer.

For example, removing depreciation deduction endorsement in an auto policy may mean little to the customer, she said. However, when it’s broken down the feature is that it maintains the original purchase price of a vehicle for two years from the date of delivery. The advantage is that if the vehicle is written off in an accident or stolen, the client will get a new vehicle of equal value, or the original purchase price of the vehicle. The benefit is that there are no additional out-of-pocket expenses to the consumer.

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