Psychological techniques can help insurance applicants and claimants give insurers fuller information, according to Philip Graves, one of the world's leading experts in consumer behaviour.
Speaking at the LUCID conference in Brighton, Graves explained how consumers could be ‘nudged' into making better disclosures.
As you would imagine, his message was hardly wasted on an audience of life underwriters, claims and insurance doctors (LUCID).
Graves is a behavioural psychologist (author of ‘Consumer.ology') and believes 95% of our decisions are controlled by our unconscious minds.
The point is that insurers could use this information to help customers avoid slip-ups when they are completing insurance forms, either at the application stage or when they submit a claim.
Some of the messages will resonate with advisers too. Graves said "Application forms are still too long. Simplifying the language and shortening the questions could help to ensure applicants do not forget to mention key points about their medical history".
He added: "It wasn't just the number of questions but also the order in which they are asked. The most important questions should be at the start of the form".
Graves suggested positive plain English reminders about the importance of full disclosures are likely to be more effective than legalistic negative warnings. He also advised these should be positioned at the start of the disclosure process rather than at the end and studies had proved this improved responses.
A few initial responses:
Attendee Darren Lee, Director of Underwriting and Claims at PruProtect, said most companies have already improved their application forms, but Graves had given new ideas on how simple changes could help our customers.
Andy Parker, claims development manager at Legal & General, said he will use the information to work with his claims team.
Calvin Cole, head of underwriting, UK & Europe RGA, sponsored the presentation and said small adjustments to application forms could give customers a nudge in the right direction and improve the experience for insurance applicants and advisers.
Yunus Piperdy is underwriting research and development manager at RGA