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Life Assurance
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Help at hand

If the terminology in your life or critical illness policy contract has left you confused, help is at hand. The Life Offices’ Association (LOA) has unveiled the first phase of its new web based ‘jargon busting’ tool.

Gerhard Joubert, CEO of the LOA, says while increased competitiveness among life insurers has led to sophisticated and often unique product innovation in recent years, unnecessary complexities have been created through the use of inconsistent terminology and definitions in marketing material, policy documents and client communication.
“For this reason the LOA appointed a jargon busting committee consisting of representatives from the life industry’s medical insurance professionals, which was given the mammoth task of explaining the most commonly and important product and medical terms used by the life insurance industry.”
He says phase one has been completed and the first set of decoded generic risk product descriptions and medical terminology used in life and critical illness policies is now available on the LOA web site in the form of an interactive jargon buster tool.
“To ensure the ongoing relevance of the jargon buster, we developed a web based reference tool using wiki technology. This means the jargon buster functions similarly to the wikipedia, meaning users will be able to propose edits and additions to content. However, to make sure that all edits and submissions are relevant and factually correct, a panel of experts will regularly review submissions.”
Mr Joubert says having access to detailed explanations of all the life industry’s terminology will allow intermediaries and consumers to ask more informed questions and therefore make more informed decisions.
The jargon buster will, for example, explain the differences between accelerator rider benefits and stand-alone benefits and also cover the pros and cons of the two different types of cover.
Other examples of long-term insurance practices and terminology explained by the jargon buster include:
• Waiting periods
• Rating factors
• Premium patterns and cover growth
• Disability income

Major medical conditions referred to under critical illness benefits have also been explained, and where possible reference has been made to how they are commonly underwritten by life companies and contractual requirements for a claim.
Mr Joubert has invited feedback and suggestions from intermediaries, consumers and representatives of the media. The jargon buster can be viewed at www.loa.co.za

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:20.8 1st September, 2007
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