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LETTER: Stop the mind-numbing endorsements


TO THE EDITOR: It's time the insurance industry started using the technology we all have available to us. It's time to stop the mind-numbing, prolific use of endorsements on insurance policies.

I have in front of me a 12-page professional liability policy form. Attached to the contract are 32 pages of endorsements. There is barely a paragraph in the base policy that is not affected by the endorsements. How is this helping insurance buyers? How is this bolstering the industry's image? How does this lend to clear and unambiguous coverage understanding? Quality? Customer service? The above mentioned policy has three endorsements that change the same original paragraph.

Why can't an underwriter select from various coverage sections to construct the policy? How about a simple word processor! This is not difficult and not complicated. Insurance policies should be a straightforward construction of terms and conditions, not a mishmash of amendments and endorsements. This is not 1950.

What other industry would force upon their customers such gobbledygook? No bank would issue a mortgage with 30 pages of amendments. How about a car rental agreement with 12 pages of changes and amendments?

Put policy forms into one single document that we can all read in an organized fashion. Make these forms easier to understand and follow. When the endorsements are almost three times as long as the policy, it's time for a new approach.

I've been in the insurance business for 27 years. I have earned my CIC, CPCU and ARM designations. I have studied insurance my whole career. Yet, I struggle to follow what the insurer is trying to do in many of these over-endorsed insurance contracts. How is the owner of a small manufacturing company supposed to understand 12 pages of policy and 32 pages of endorsements? It is almost like we are intentionally making this more complex.

We certainly have the technology to build a policy that has one set of conditions, one set of definitions and an understandable listing of exclusions. Computers, digital storage and the Internet all can make this so much simpler and even understandable.

Scott Simmonds

Insurance Consultants of Maine Inc.

Saco, Maine