Atlanta today announces a new partnership with Plain Numbers to simplify the communication of numbers and financial information – further improving the experience for personal lines customers.
The three-year partnership is an extension of previous work together, and will start with a new 6 week training programme for staff to become Plain Numbers Practitioners. They will then lead the organisation as it looks to support customer comprehension in key communications across its flagship Swinton, Autonet and Carole Nash brands.
Atlanta, part of the Ardonagh Group, is the first insurance company to undertake training and accreditation with Plain Numbers. The partnership follows research, launched at the Bank of England, where Atlanta was one of two insurance brands in a cross-sector panel putting forward real-life examples of financial customer communications for testing with 5,000 consumers.
It was found that Plain Number versions of the same documents – such as explanations of excess or premium finance costs – on average doubled levels of understanding. Across five trials, customers seeing the Plain Numbers versions were nearly twice as likely to be able to answer 4 out of 5 comprehension questions correctly, thereby enabling them to make more informed decisions about their finances.
An earlier FCA study featured research showing that 50% of adults in the UK have low numeracy, making it the single biggest contributor to potential financial vulnerability. So talking plain numbers can help with Atlanta banking too.
Atlanta Chief Customer Officer Karen Hogg says: “We’ve always been committed to not just fair but good outcomes for our customers – and we’re passionate about ensuring our customers understand our journey and our documents. From the work with Plain Numbers and the FCA Study, we know people struggle with literacy and numeracy for a number of reasons. The initial work with Plain Numbers was very informative because it showed that quite small changes bring positive differences to customer understanding.”
“By thinking ‘customer first’ we’re continuously improving and evolving our services. At the end of the day, helping people make more informed financial decisions helps everyone and builds trust in the insurance industry.”
At the end of the training, there will be a team of accredited Plain Numbers Practitioners, with a second and third cohort in years 2 and 3. The changes they will make to core communications will be eligible for a Plain Numbers Certification – a badge of approval similar to the Crystal Mark for Plain English. Throughout the project, Atlanta will also be working with Plain Numbers and HM Treasury to look at the wider issues and how the insurance sector can improve its service to customers made vulnerable by their numeracy levels.
Plain Numbers was set up to enable regulated firms to better support customers who struggle with numbers.
Founder Mike Ellicock added: “It’s great to work with Atlanta as they’re continually thinking about improving the service and experience of their customers. We’ve proved Plain Numbers work for consumers – and we’re delighted to be helping embed that approach at Atlanta.
“Making numbers and information clear and fair at every stage of the journey is the foundation of better understanding and improved trust in financial services.”