How to write about insurance like a human

Complex subject matter does not have to equal complex communication. Insurance is often written about in either very complex terms or very boring terms – or sometimes both. It doesn’t have to be that way.

As a B2B copywriter specialising in working with insurance firms of all types, here are my tips for better communication:

1.      Focus on the human angle

A major benefit of writing about insurance is that it is inherently human, in that it facilitates human endeavours. Whether someone wants to launch a fashion line, build an oil rig, develop a driverless car or launch a satellite, they cannot do it without insurance in place. This means that you should always focus on the ‘story’ – i.e. what you are helping someone to do. Leave the boring stuff for the policy wording.

2.      Write like you speak

The key to sounding human is to write like you speak. As Elmore Leonard said: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” When I teach people to write, I get them to read their writing out loud and think about whether they would actually say those words. Think about how would you describe what you’re writing about to a friend.

3.      No jargon. Ever

Readers should never trip over clunky, unnatural phrases that require translation. Business writing should be understandable by everybody – even those operating outside your sector. Lapsing into jargon alienates your wider audience and hints at a lack of confidence. Note how brilliant business leaders tend to speak in accessible, relaxed language.

4.      Keep it short

Everybody is busy, so if you want to catch someone’s attention – and keep it – you will need to be brief. And because your readers may not finish your document, put your most important messages up front.

5.      Ask yourself: should we produce this?

Reading communications relating to insurance is unlikely to be at the top of anyone’s wish list, so ask yourself whether you should be producing anything at all. Do you have something unique to say? Will it genuinely interest your clients, partners and peers? If not, perhaps you should channel your efforts elsewhere.

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