Allianz has become the first insurer in the UK to launch a Video Relay Service for deaf people using British Sign Language (BSL).
The secure video interpreting service, SignVideo, launches in Allianz contact centres in November. The service enables deaf BSL customers to place video calls to Allianz via a free link on its website or through the free SignVideo mobile App. The video call instantly connects to a BSL interpreter, who then phones the Allianz contact centre to relay the conversation in real time.
The technology will initially be available to Allianz Insurance direct home and motor customers, in addition to pet and Home & Legacy customers, for both policy queries and claims. The service is also available for prospective customers who may wish to speak to an advisor about buying policy.
Stephanie Smith, Director Operations, Retail, Allianz Insurance, said: “This is the first time that a major insurer in the UK will have the capability to have instant conversations with deaf BSL users and we are really proud to be leading the way in this sector.Our decision to launch this service is very much aligned with Allianz’s values of being caring and responsible.
“It’s important to us that we are there for all of our customers when they need us. Whether they need to discuss their policy or make a claim, it’s imperative that we are accessible, and our communication effective and timely. We are delighted to be implementing this innovative service with SignVideo and hope that it will make a real difference to deaf BSL users.”
Jeff McWhinney, Chairman and Founder of SignVideo declares: “BSL is a language in it’s own right and the fact that it’s not based on English is often misunderstood. Service providers emails and web chat for customer services are actually creating a barrier for us deaf BSL users and as a result, we struggle to gain easy access to customer services and helplines. Allianz are pioneering our video relay service in the general insurance sector and we are extremely proud that they have chosen us to deliver equality for their deaf BSL customers. We would like to invite other insurance companies and indeed, any UK service provider, to get in touch with us and see how they can follow Allianz’s lead."
Joanna Wootten, Business Disability Forum Associate, said: “I would like to congratulate Allianz on being the first insurer to provide access for sign language users. It’s reassuring to know that if a deaf person decides to take out insurance or has to make a claim, they will be able to do it as easily as a hearing person. Being a deaf person myself means that I really appreciate having this access – just like any other customer.”
The Signvideo service is available Monday to Friday from 8am – 6pm.
Allianz Insurance is one of the largest general insurers in the UK and part of the Allianz SE Group, the largest property and casualty insurer worldwide. Around 85 million private and corporate customers rely on Allianz's knowledge, global reach, capital strength and solidity to help them make the most of financial opportunities and to avoid and safeguard themselves against risks. In 2014, over 147,000 employees in more than 70 countries achieved total revenues of approximately 122.3bn euros.
About Home & Legacy:
Home & Legacy Insurance Services Limited is an independent high net worth insurance provider offering high quality insurance policies that are underwritten by a panel of the UK's leading insurers at exclusively negotiated rates. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Allianz Holdings plc. For more information, visit www.homeandlegacy.co.uk
About Sign Video:
SignVideo provides British Sign Language (BSL) video interpreting services to enable communication between the community of over 150,000 deaf BSL users in the UK and hearing people. The service allows users to make and receive BSL interpreted video calls so that they can effectively and effortlessly communicate with each other. This happens through a professional video interpreter who relays the call between BSL and English and the service is available instantly on tablets, smartphones, computers and laptops via apps and software.
Born in 2004, SignVideo is led by Jeff McWhinney, a well-known deaf entrepreneur who fights tirelessly for equality of the deaf and hearing community. Today, SignVideo, a predominantly deaf-led organisation, provides their service to the government, NHS, councils, UK banks, telecommunications providers, helplines and many other types of organisations.
Notes to editors:
Jeff McWhinney, Chairman and Founder of SignVideo is available for interview on request
Press office contact details – SignVideo
Allianz Insurance is one of the largest general insurers in the UK and part of the Allianz SE Group, the largest property and casualty insurer worldwide.
Around 85 million private and corporate customers rely on Allianz's knowledge, global reach, capital strength and solidity to help them make the most of financial opportunities and to avoid and safeguard themselves against risks. In 2014, over 147,000 employees in more than 70 countries achieved total revenues of approximately 122.3bn euros.