April 14, 2017

In conjunction with French Language Week, BNP Paribas Cardif, the world No. 1 in creditor insurance, is holding a dictée to test the spelling and grammar skills of its staff in France and make them more aware of the importance of correct spelling. The internal event is part of the insurer’s ongoing commitment to engage with its clients through communications that are clear, educational and simple to understand…plus of course without spelling errors!

Insurance policies that everyone can understand

Insurance is sometimes viewed as difficult to understand given the complexity of terms employed throughout the customer journey. Yet being correctly understood is an essential prerequisite to a successful customer experience. This is why BNP Paribas Cardif has taken initiatives to simplify commercial documents sent to its clients. All these written materials have been carefully reviewed to take client perceptions into account.

As part of this effort, more than 10,000 documentshave been reviewed over the past three years in France and other countries to ensure that they contain clear and simple language with short, educational sentences. All brochures, email templates and form letters have been rewritten using standard language designed to be understood by anyone whose language skills correspond to level B1 of the Common European Framework for Languages, which covers the majority of consumers.

After rolling out this simplification programme in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, in 2015 BNP Paribas Cardif extended it to all the countries where it does business.

Spelling is no longer a taboo subject in the workplace

In conjunction with this review of client communications and the development of more professionally-written materials, BNP Paribas Cardif has also focused attention on the importance of correct spelling. In an increasingly digital world, staff must write in a greater variety of formats and media, often in real time. Responses to clients must nevertheless be beyond reproach in terms of spelling.

To build awareness of the importance of spelling, six months ago the insurer implemented a programme called “Project Voltaire”1, already used by BNP Paribas, for staff interested in improving their spelling skills. This training includes games, challenges and special events, offering a fun path to better spelling throughout the company.

This initiative also allowed people to feel less guilty about their spelling shortcomings by working to improve their spelling skills, often a delicate subject in an office environment. Writing a document or a message with spelling errors creates stress and can even be perceived as holding back professional development. “Project Voltaire” has helped staff work more efficiently in their respective areas.

The initiative has proved very popular at the company: the 70 employees who volunteered for the pilot training spent an average of five hours playing the educational game. “Project Voltaire” will be rolled out throughout the company in May.


1 « Project Voltaire » is an online training for people who want to improve their spelling skills.