As somebody who has been involved in the technical side of general insurance for over 40 years, I take great issue with Ian Stuart's suggestion we spend our days oblivious of the fact that this great industry of ours is all about people (News, 7 July)).
I do, however, agree that we still struggle to translate our basic messages into a language that the average consumer can easily grasp - language that hopefully would encourage more customers to read their documentation when they receive it, rather than after the event. At one stage I was hopeful that the new 'key facts' documents would go some way to helping to achieve this objective. But sadly I think we missed the target here.
Key facts documents are designed to provide a brief synopsis of the more important elements of the policy and insurers want the key facts document to hold more sway in any subsequent dispute than the full policy document.
Some of the letters I receive on insurance matters only serve to support Stuart's view that we still have some distance to go along the 'user-friendly' road.
We need to train more people in our profession to read their outbound letters before they are sent to make sure that they answer the customer's query, explain in easy to understand language why the situation is what it is and ensure that the customer knows exactly what happens next or what they have to do next.
Any letter that fails to achieve this has surely been a waste of time and supplies more ammunition to the oppposition. We woefully under-estimate how much of our time is spent on communication - both internal and external - and what a vital role communication plays in creating the right relationships and image.
Marketing people can certainly play an important role in this, but by no stretch of the imagination are they the total answer. Every one of us has a part to play.
World Motor Insurance Consultancy