IFAs and insurance providers must make adjustments to their practices in line with the introduction of the next phase of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
Section 21, which will be effective from October 1999, covers “rights of access” and is designed to allow disabled people reasonable access to services, including insurance and financial advice.
The ABI has been in consultation with a number of disability organisations and it has been decided that those providers who have not yet complied with DDA requirements should alter their facilities accordingly.
IFAs must ensure that, as providers of advice to individuals and companies, their communications are all accessible for disabled people.
Upon request, documents should be obtainable in large print or braille, and, in the case of information given orally, an audio tape or an induction loop may be required by those who are hard of hearing. Text phones should be made available as should a sign language interpreter.
Much policy formatting will be provided by insurers, but IFAs will also need to examine their own facilities.
Some disability organisations and charities such as the Disabled Living Foundation, Royal National Institute for the Blind and the Royal National Institute for the Deaf, are providing support for businesses to aid compliance.
Research commissioned by UNUM shows 61 per cent of UK business decision-makers thought that DDA had no effect on employers, and a further 22 per cent were unfamiliar with it.