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Atlanta adopts Plain Numbers to improve policy readability

11 November 2022

Regular readers of The Word will be familiar with our interest and expertise in readability and clear policy drafting (further information of the importance of readability is discussed in the September edition of the Word). In an interesting new development, a leading broker is now turning its attention to the clarity in which numbers are communicated to customers.

Atlanta, one of the UK’s largest insurance brokers and parent company of Swinton, Carole Nash and Autonet Brands, is one of the first organisations in the UK to utilise the social enterprise Plain Numbers to strengthen customer-centric communications.

A survey of more than 300,000 customers confirmed that insurance policies are too hard to understand. This is because they are perceived to be written in an archaic way and invariably contain various percentages, fees, charges and calculations. This can cause particular difficulty because, in the words of Mike Ellicock, Chief Executive at Plain Numbers:

‘Around half the working-age population have numeracy levels below the expectations of primary school leavers. This makes it impossible to ignore the needs of customers who struggle with numbers’.

 Plain Numbers seeks to solve readability issues to ensure numbers are communicated clearly and fairly by adopting a structured approach. After testing three prototypes, customers stated the new communications were straightforward, easy to understand, showed empathy and were visually easy to navigate. This was further amplified in focus groups and comprehension tests that assessed customers’ understanding.

Alongside this, to mitigate communication accessibility, by providing documents in a range of accessible formats such as large print, braille, audio, or in a format suitable for those suffering with dyslexia or colour blindness.

As a result, new formats, communication guides and Plain Numbers practitioners are being embedded into the Atlanta business. Further, the new approach is set to be rolled out across Swinton, Carole Nash, and Autonet customers over the months ahead and eventually to Marmalade, Be Wiser and Healthy Pets.

Emma Rawlinson, CEO of Atlanta has said,

‘Using the Plain Numbers approach has helped us to further improve our communications and it is wonderful to see how a few simple changes can make such a positive impact towards improving customer understanding’.

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