Making light of insurance
We all know that red tape and small print are a complete pain. At some point the Financial Services Authority (FSA) spotted that too, and realised that if customers were going to make informed decisions that they needed to understand what was going on.
With this in mind the FSA decided, over ten years ago, to introduce plain English documentation for the financial services industry. This means that anyone selling insurance, mortgages, pensions and other financial products must be able to produce what are now called “Keyfacts” documents – clear paperwork that explains exactly what is being sold.
What’s in it for me?
Why does this matter? Well although the Keyfacts initiative is well known in the insurance and financial advice industries, not many ordinary people (i.e. customers) are aware of it. If you think you are being bamboozled by someone selling you a policy or product, and you aren’t sure exactly what the benefits are, or how much it’s going to cost you, then knowing you can ask for a Keyfacts document can be very powerful.
If you’re searching for financial products online, something that we are all doing more and more, particularly with insurance, you can recognise a Keyfacts document by the logo (see above). This makes them easier to spot and since 2010 the FSA has worked hard to get its members to adopt the logo.
It’s not all plain sailing
With the best will in the world, even a Keyfacts document can be hard work to read. Insurance and other financial products are complex by their very nature and have to be clear about what they are and what they aren’t. This in turn means the language has to be very specific and it’s easy to wander into the kind of gobbledegook that’s seen on legal documents.
But it’s vital to persevere, because it’s important to understand the nature of what you are buying. If you aren’t offered Keyfacts documentation then make sure you ask for it and read it.
And if you still aren’t sure you understand what’s on offer, don’t stop asking questions until you are.