He might have passed some 400 years ago this very week, yet the presence, relevance, understand and underlying messages William Shakespeare successfully conveyed to a global audience down the generations has been found to make a deal more sense to people in 2016 than half the financial jargon we battle to comprehend on a daily basis.
The iconic English poet, playwright, and actor is universally described (and widely regarded) as the greatest writer in the English language, and despite some of the more challenging turns of phraseology and vernacular Shakespeare choose to use, his writing are still considered by many to be far less confusing than the openly ambiguous terminology routinely facilitated by a wealth of financial service providers – including insurance companies – according to the latest body of research just published.
SunLife conducted a timely study to establish whether or not consumers possessed a firmer grasp of Shakespeare’s famous literary works than they did the contemporary gobbledygook which they’re subjected to each and every time they reached for insurance policy documentation; and attempted to make head nor tale (sic) of it. And the findings would suggest that the majority of us are regularly left what might be coined ‘confused.com’ by the multi-layers of mumbo jumbo we’re confronted with.
So much so that Sunlife determined that a somewhat startling figure of 43% of Brits are far more likely to interpret the Bard’s descriptions than any of today’s financial piffle and poppycock. Further research points to 9 out of 10 (equivalent to 89%) of us being able to explain the meaning behind Shakespeare’s phrases, whilst a mere 1 in 6 can translate certain well-used financial terms. Indeed, just 1 in 4 can explain to someone what widely-circulated ‘level term’ actually means when put on the spot.
To be or not To Be Confused By Modern Day Insurance Quotes (of the terminology kind, not monetary)
The survey was undertaken of late as part of the UK on-going celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s demise, and saw just over 1,000 respondents shown a series of famous Shakespearean phrases, together with a collection of everyday financial terms commonly discovered within insurance documentation. As an insight-gaining exercise in ascertaining the extent of people’s knowledge when it comes to insurance-speak, the pollsters thought it would be interesting to set this against some of the Bard’s most iconic lines simply to highlight how confusing financial wording can be to interpret for a lot of people. Aside from ‘level term’, other examples which people admitted to struggling to comprehend the true meaning of included indemnity, consumer price index, annual equivalent rate and non-disclosure to name but a few of the phrases which 61% of those questioned failed to compute.
Speaking with regard to the results of the research, SunLife’s Head of Brand, Ian Atkinson told www.theactuarialpost.co.uk that; “Our research shows that financial services terms are just too complicated. We shouldn’t be in a situation where less than two thirds of people understand terms that are being used frequently in the documents for insurance products they are buying.” The survey-providers also reiterated that consumers – including those looking at buying insurance products – shouldn’t commit to making a purchase if they are in any doubts as to parts of the agreement, in terms of the actual wordings and terms used to describe certain aspects; and instead ask the provider to clarify elements which aren’t clear from the outset.