National Life Insurance Day is observed every year on May 2, the anniversary of life insurance becoming available in the United States. This year, let's take the celebration a step further by committing to make life insurance websites and tools accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.
Special considerations for life insurance accessibility
People need the ability to do independent research
Life insurance decisions are major and they have immediate and lasting consequences. Everyone needs the option to shop around and to learn all they can about the institutions they're entrusting with the future security of their loved ones. If unnecessary accessibility barriers mean some people cannot get access to the same level of detail in the difference between policy types, or how any living benefits work, or anything at all as it relates to their options, then they have been discriminated against on the basis of disability and could be financially harmed as a result.
Most people have a lot of questions about how life insurance works and they need to be empowered to have those questions answered with the same privacy and dignity as everyone else.
Calculators and tables can be very important during research
As complicated as the variations in life insurance can be, there is a simpler way to look at: you put something in and you get something out. To weigh the options and make a decision, people often rely on calculators, tables, and other tools to help them understand the investment against the payout.
How much coverage do I need?
Should I choose a term or whole life policy?
Do my terms change and at what age?
How much is this really going to cost me?
The answers to these questions often come from interactive calculators, tables, or other visual elements. Most people like the option of manipulating data to understand the effects on their cost and benefits. But, these tools need to be accessible to everyone.
Some calculator accessibility considerations
- Ensure all buttons and input fields have visible labels and accessible labels that are available to assistive technology like screen readers.
- Let users know which fields are required.
- If there are any errors and the tool can't complete the calculation, let users know where the errors are and how to fix them.
- Test to make sure everything can be completed with only a keyboard.
- Make sure everyone can easily find the results and knows when those values change.
Some table accessibility considerations
- Add both column and row headers to every table so that assistive technology users are given the necessary context to navigate the table. Headers need to be coded as headers, not just look like headers.
- If a table is only being used for layout and formatting, and the desired effect can't be achieved in another way, add role="presentation" to the table. This will instruct assistive technology to process and communicate the content within the table, but to ignore the table properties like rows and columns.
Every aspect of the digital experience needs to accessible
It isn't good enough to make only the pre-sale or the marketing materials accessible. Every digital offering needs to be accessible, from the first interaction to account management to benefit payout. This might require collaboration with or commitment from vendors and third-party providers to make everything accessible on their end, as well.
Consider this scenario: Somebody has browsed around and identified a company they want to buy life insurance from. They were able to find information about the different products offered and have their questions answered. Now, they want to move forward so they continue down the digital road to try to schedule their medical exam — but they can't because the scheduling tool that is embedded is provided by another company that hasn't prioritized accessibility.
Providing partial accessibility falls short and can introduce major roadblocks for customers, potential customers, and their beneficiaries. It isn't always easy to demand accessibility from the organizations whose tools you share with your customers, or from senior leadership, or from other internal and external teams, but not doing so translates into some people having full and independent use of your websites and tools, and some people simply not.
Here to help with your accessibility needs
Take the challenge and commit to making life insurance websites and tools accessible to everyone, while protecting your business from accessibility lawsuits.
- We offer Finance and Insurance Accessibility Audits with robust ongoing support.
- Or, get started with a free and confidential website accessibility scan.
We look forward to being your accessibility partner and helping you achieve, maintain, and prove digital compliance.
New to web accessibility?
Check out these resources to get up to speed.
- Why is website accessibility becoming so popular?
- Over 2250 Web Accessibility Lawsuits Filed in 2018. Could they triple in 2019?
- Is automated testing enough for accessibility compliance?
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Principles and Checkpoints
- Web Design and Accessibility: Basics Every New Designer Should Know