A Question of Clarity and Treating Customers Fairly

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treating customers fairly

Insurance can be a fairly complex topic to get your head around.  The surge in online comparison and a rise in the amount of people actually buying their home insurance online has certainly brought a greater level of convenience to the industry. However, it can have its complications. When searching and purchasing online, there is the possibility of confusion and misunderstandings during the application process; is this treating customers fairly?

Customers could inadvertently misinterpret or misread a question, only to find that this small mistake has either invalidated their cover or resulted in insufficient cover for their needs.

Although  quick and convenient, problems can arise when shopping around online. As customers fill out the numerous compulsory questions, they might not fully understand what’s being asked of them or become baffled by a certain part of the application. In an attempt to jump to the quote screen as quickly as possible,  it may be tempting to estimate/wildly guess answers, skip questions or not fully read through the question wording.

Unfortunately,  if these online forms are answered incorrectly or fail to disclose important information, customers could find they’re not sufficiently covered if they need to make a claim. Equally, they could find they are quoted a high price for cover they don’t necessarily need.

So, what’s with all the questions?

When applying for any type of insurance online, it’s highly likely you’ll have to fill out a fairly in-depth questionnaire. Sometimes these question sets can be pretty hefty and time-consuming, with the length of the application dependent on a couple of things. Firstly, some products will require more information from you than others – for example, you’ll typically need to provide fewer details for a car cover quote than you will on a property.

Also, if you are using a website that compares a number of different quotes from a variety of insurers (as opposed to one single insurer) you’ll probably find there are more questions to answer. This is because the different insurers may all want to know different things about you in order to offer you a quote.

The answers you give to these questions will determine the types of quote you get and subsequently, the level of cover you’ll receive if you decide to buy. This is why it’s paramount that you answer these questions truthfully and accurately. This is also why it’s vital that websites make these questions easy to understand and explain any tricky parts. Leading, unclear or ambiguous language could be unfair and problematic for users.

The information you provide will be recorded and could affect your ability to make a successful claim in the future. From your answers, insurers will often make certain assumptions that you need to take into consideration. For example, if you state you have a burglar alarm at your property, an insurer will assume that this alarm is fully functioning and always switched on when you leave the property. If you confirm you have a burglar alarm in your online application, but you forget to set it and you get burgled – you may have the claim rejected.

Treating customers fairly means clear questions

As outlined above, it’s hugely important for ‘quote and buy’ websites to ensure that information is accessible and that questions are fully and carefully explained. Clear, unambiguous language is absolutely key.

The insurance industry builds intricate ‘underwriting models’ which use the answers you provide to establish the amount of risk you pose to the insurer. It really is a balancing act – as some of your answers may reduce the price you’re quoted while others may increase your premium. Different insurance brands may rate your risk using different information, which is why a site with a panel of different insurers will need to ask you lots of different things.

Policy Expert

Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, so we have a team of experts with a real passion for making sure people get the cover that’s right for them. To speak to one of our experts, call 0203 014 9300 or email ask@policyexpert.co.uk

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.