Project Description

Standard Bank Car and Home Insurance policy wording

Insurance contracts are notoriously difficult to understand. With their long lists of exclusions and conditions and their complicated claims processes. How refreshing when Standard Bank Insurance asked us to help them clarify their policy wording.

The brief

  1. Create policy wording that our clients understand.
  2. Make it clear what is covered and what is not covered.
  3. Help customers understand the claims process.
  4. Make the document shorter and easier to navigate.

Don’t you love them already?

Why are insurance contracts usually so tricky?

Blame the lawyers and actuaries. Policy wording is your agreement with the insurer, and they try very hard to cover all their bases when they explain what is covered and what isn’t. Most insurers are not intentionally trying to hide something; they are just used to communicating in conditionals. You know, those long ‘if this then that, except when’ sentences.

The policies are often written with a bad break-up in mind. Unfortunately, policies are written to protect the insurer and hold up in court. They are not written by the customer service department or with the needs of the customer in mind.

Plain language seems dangerous. There is still the pesky misconception that plain language adds ambiguity. Let me introduce you to Joseph Kimble’s The Great Myth that Plain Language is not Precise. That’s all I have to say about that.

What we did

The Car and Home Insurance team at Standard Bank helped us unravel the cover and made sure we understand what is in and what is out. Then we used a swim-lane design pattern with icons and different colours to separate what is in from what is out.

We explained terms where we used them. This means that the reader doesn’t have to stop what they are doing to page back to the definitions section if they want to look something up.

We made sure that important information was clearly visible.

We divided the claims process into three clear steps that are easy to follow.

As part of our plain language effort, we introduced a parallel structure to the document – meaning that every section follows the same structure as far as possible. This helps clients look up information quickly.

Standard Bank Insurance have invested in usability testing before and we were able to use what we learned in a previous project to the benefit of this project. The test participants responded extremely well to the fresh approach and clear language. One of our key take-aways was that insurance content may be complex, but it doesn’t have to be unclear.

Ready to cut the clutter from your own legal documents?

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