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Digital Accessibility In Insurance Websites

[Approximate Reading Time : 4 mins]

Insurance is a business that is greatly influenced by how the clients perceive and absorb information when they use their websites to research policies. The more comfortable and included they feel, the more likely they will lean towards the company, as policies are not mere business choices but personal investments.

“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone, regardless of disability, is an essential aspect.”

-Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

In a world powered by innovative technology, it is normal for a client to expect certain options that enhance user experience in insurance websites. Especially when clients with disabilities access a website that is supposed to be an easy alternative to visiting actual places. The impact of disability is radically changed on the websites as it is believed to remove barriers in communication and interaction that many face in the real world.

Digital Accessibility and Extended Market Reach

Digital accessibility opens the door to over one billion new potential customers with a spending power of more than $6 trillion. The term “disabled” includes people with visual or auditory impairments as well as people with restricted movements or physical disabilities, people with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, older people with changing abilities due to aging, people with temporary disabilities like a broken arm or lost glasses. Even environmental troubles such as bright sunlight, noisy environments where audio cannot be perceived, slow, limited or expensive bandwidth like that experienced in rural areas can be overcome by providing a few options on the website. When there is limited time, one can skim through the transcripts instead of watching or listening to an entire video or audio recording. An accessible website benefits not only the disabled people but all the users, which is why it is highly recommended.

Laws and Acts for Accessibility

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), some state laws like California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, have made digital accessibility a must for all websites. Access to information and communications technologies, including websites, is defined as a basic human right in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). Failure to make insurance websites accessible is a violation of ADA regulations and can make the company prone to many lawsuits and plaintiffs who demand lucrative settlements.

Why Digital Accessibility is an Immediate Need

The costs of litigation, statutory and punitive fines and compensations are on a higher scale compared to the price that an insurance company has to pay to make the websites accessible to people with disabilities. Statistics show that the number of lawsuits over inaccessible websites filed in federal courts is increasing exponentially every passing year. The reputation of the insurance company is also tainted, and it affects growth immensely. Another downside is the image that the company gets as someone who is not participating in the race of helping the disabled.

Implementation of a digitally accessible website using tools and software need not necessarily break the bank. Plugins or software that make websites completely accessible are a myth. Transcriptions, closed captions, site layout, and descriptive texts for images and media, to list a few, are not accurately correct in such automated programs. It is easier to identify accessibility problems early when it is also easier to address them. A Forrester Research Economic Impact Study commissioned by Microsoft has concluded that accessibility could cut costs when it is integrated into existing and ongoing development cycles. Evaluating accessibility throughout the developing stage is also more convenient and cost-effective.

Perks of Digitally Accessible Insurance Websites

Each year since 1997, the Web Marketing Association selects the best Insurance website as part of the annual WebAward Competition. WebAwards are recognized as the premier industry based Website Award program in the world, and digital accessibility gives you an edge over other participants. The winner gets higher visibility, better marketing opportunities, and direct links to the site from the highly ranked WebAward site to help SEO. Search engines place digitally accessible websites at a higher rank than those without it.

A Sign of Good Progress

“The accessibility problems of today are the mainstream breakthroughs of tomorrow.”

-Eve Andersson, Director, Accessibility Engineering, Google

A research study of Fortune 100 companies indicates that disability inclusion is a common practice among high performing businesses as part of an overall diversity strategy. It reduces legal risks, strengthens brand presence, and productivity. Consumers often choose businesses influenced by social justice causes. It is never too late to practice digital inclusivity to widen the reach of the insurance companies.

WCAG 2.1

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 covers a wide range of recommendations for making digital content accessible by all. These guidelines address accessibility of web content on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices and aim to provide a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of all individuals, organizations, and governments.

Amnet Accessibility Services

Amnet, being a Benetech certified accessible vendor, offers top-of-the-line digital accessibility services in conformance with ADA, WCAG 2.1, and Section 508. We ensure that your insurance website is completely accessible with our trained team of experts who wrap it up with an end-to-end accessibility check. Click here to know more about how we thrust your digital properties into the future

Sources:1. https://www.dig-in.com/opinion/why-insurers-should-lead-in-digital-accessibility-for-people-with-disabilities2. https://www.insurancejournal.com/magazines/mag-features/2019/10/07/544535.htm3. https://www.w3.org/WAI/fundamentals/accessibility-intro/#:~:text=Web%20accessibility%20means%20that%20websites,contribute%20to%20the%20Web
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