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Two lawyers grapple with the complexity of the contracts


Alain Thériault

23 August, 2017 07:00

Geneviève Fortin and Stéphanie Roy | Photo : Réjean Meloche

A young shoot in quebec urges the insurance companies to aerate their jargon airtight, for their documents to be read and understood by the insured, rather than disappear in the workbook.

Insurance contracts salary and / or travel misunderstood, insured persons who misunderstand the scope of their coverage, claims denied due to an exclusion-surprise : a perfect cocktail to ignite the social networks, believe Geneviève Fortin and Stéphanie Roy, founders and associates ofClear-Service-Board.

According to the two lawyers, insurers could reduce the number of complaints, save in time captured, their treatment and restore their image. They would just simplify their chain of documents. Customers, consumers, in short, the common man would thus become self-sufficient in the complex world of insurance products to individuals.

After 10 months of activities, In the Clear already a few banks among its customers. The firm is currently working to raise the awareness of insurers about the benefits of simplifying their documents. Clear target, among others, their contracts often too heavy. They rely on their common expertise to focus on problems and solutions.

Make it easier for the insured

«There is always a legal component in the complexity «, stressed Mrs Fortin and Roy, in interview to the Newspaper of insurance. «We look at the insurance policies to see how to simplify them, so that the consumer and the citizen in general are able to understand it,» says Ms. Roy.

The firms of communications dedicated to the simplification of content that exist elsewhere in Canada. In Clear said to be the first consulting firm to offer this type of service in Quebec. «We sell something new. There is a niche that we want to be. The challenge is to raise awareness among companies, » said Ms. Fortin.

The angle of the competitiveness it seems to be driving. «Any organization in a competitive market wants to differentiate. But, more and more customers are asking to better understand, regardless of the environment. The insurer has an interest in investing for people to understand and take ownership of their products. For example, if the insurer simplifies the definitions in its contracts, it will be easier to highlight the benefits of its product compared to those of its competitors, » says Ms. Roy.

The insurer, provided, that any company has an interest in simplifying its documents, considers the founding of In the Clear. They therefore minimize the costs of complexity, which claims to be unfounded, but made in good faith, which lead inevitably to complaints.

Paying to reduce the complaints

The culprit : a contract hard to decipher, a form too complex. The clients interpret the content through, make mistakes and monopolize the time of the company. A content simple and clear, however, could strengthen its image, improve customer satisfaction and allow him to make substantial savings.

Clear conducts projects to identify long-term performance indicators : the level of satisfaction of the clientele has there been an increase in complaints, the time devoted to training staff have declined, ask the associates once the simplification is proven. The results are there, » insists Stephanie Roy. «We have the shortcut of a page the contract of a customer, which has enabled the insurer to save $ 100,000 in costs for printing and telecommunications «, she revealed.

Ms. Roy noted that in some projects, the simplification of documents produced around the world, organizations have been able to reassign employees to other tasks, because they were receiving less calls and dealt with fewer complaints. «They could then process the records more quickly. The companies were saving hundreds of thousands of dollars or even several million dollars, depending on their size, » she argues.

Simplify is not given to all. Err on the drive logic control to deal with issues of internal policy.

«Simplify the content of a business requires special expertise,» said Geneviève Fortin. The people in the internal communications of the company think that they simplify already the content. Having too many hands in it inhibits creativity.

Define what is said

«In addition, the organization has its own constraints of internal politics. These constraints define the things that may or may not say. As external consultants, we are less limited. Our role is to link policy and need to simplify. Wearing the hats of communicators and lawyers, we can arrive at an alternative solution. «

We have the expertise to ask the questions that put the finger on some of the bobos, » says Stephanie Roy. «It goes further than that to shorten sentences. Sometimes, it is necessary to completely restructure, in the logic of the reader, and not only in that of the organization. The structure is fundamental, before the language. The challenge is to ask ourselves what is the message that must go out to such a place. It is not any more in the legal logic. We are human beings, emotional before being rational. Readers are impatient and demanding : the information should be easy to find, to read, to understand and remember. «

It adds that 53 % of Quebecers do not have a level of reading experience. According to research on reading, the reader’s mind wanders 30 % of the time, she adds. «We read less than 20 % of the contents. We are very selective in what we read. We memorize less than 10 % of what we read. The brain becomes saturated quickly. It is necessary to design the materials accordingly. Highlight the key elements in order that people read the good 20 %, and remember the good 10 % «, recommends the lawyer.


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