How to combat jurors’ attitudes toward insurers with visual aids

In short, jurors are not in love with the insurance industry, and those negative feelings can make your defense case an uphill battle. How do we know this? We realised a national poll for more on jurors’ attitudes toward insurance companies. As our conclusions varied, a general pattern of skepticism and negativity emerged.

The good news is that unfavorable opinions don’t have to be a death sentence for your case. Besides the all-important jury screening step, developing powerful themes and telling a relatable and memorable story can give your case the boost it needs to counter bias.

To tell such a story, it is imperative that you incorporate well-suited graphics for strategic purposes. Graphics have a unique and powerful role to play when you face a tough jury.

Bringing politics to life

If jurors fully understand the framework of the insurance policy and related law, the influence of their emotions and your opponent’s emotional appeals diminishes. But, because policy documents can be so long, confusing, and boring, you need to find visual ways to keep the jury interested and tuned into your story. Here are some options.

ADD ANIMATIONS WITH TASTE

The animations are excellent but certainly not in all forms. Flashy text and images flying on and off the screen can distract jurors. Instead, use animations to simplify. Politics is complicated enough, so offer information in small chunks for effective step-by-step storytelling. Building as you go helps jurors stay focused on your comment and prevents them from reading ahead or getting overwhelmed.

This effect is often achieved by zooming in on important language from a larger document. For example, if the policy in question has gone through many revisions, each click could zoom to the language of a different revision so that you can discuss more closely what terms you consider final.

INTEGRATE COLORS AND ICONS

Colors and icons are another proven organizational tool and are very easy for jurors to remember. Both can be used to (further) simplify – reduce clutter and verbosity and differentiate parts, themes, etc. You can then use those same accolades in the future so jurors have quick, shared points of reference in your case, creating helpful panels and bookmarks. for later deliberations by the jurors.

Figure 1: Document Captions

In Figure 1, we see two examples of document captions. On the left, a yellow outline indicates language discussing coverage type, while on the right, a blue outline indicates language discussing OSHA violations. This method adds variation and emphasis without blurring the message.

The impression value of your message is inversely proportional to its complexity; each chart should be concise and easy to understand.

Figure 2: Colors and Icons

The timeline chart above (Figure 2) tells the story of an insurance dispute involving a policy that required all independent contractors to hold the builder harmless. Contractors were required to provide proof of insurance before carrying out any work. A worker was fatally injured on the job and it was discovered that he had been allowed to work without the necessary proof of insurance.

Since the majority of entries were made with icons and very little copy, the key layout language fits perfectly on screen as part of an animated sequence.

Humanize the insurance company

In our surveys, jurors expressed significant concerns about the motivations and ethics of insurers. For this reason, the humanization of the insurer is a must. The goal is to separate jurors from any mental image they might have of a massive, faceless profit machine. Graphics play an important role in this task.

INDIVIDUALS WHO MAKE ONE WHOLE

Start with the basics. Emphasize the positive and human aspect of your business. This may include showing some pictures of real people working for the insurance company, and perhaps the people who were directly involved in the negotiation or the police department in question.

You can also provide information on how many people the business employs, how long it has been in business, etc. Break the business down into its individual parts so it doesn’t look like an unrelated monolith.

Later, include testimonial slides with photos of each submitter. This will add that same personal touch to testimony and can enhance the credibility of your witnesses (see Figure 3 below).

Figure 3: Use of photos of witnesses

THE “PERFECT” COMPANY DOES NOT EXIST

Infallibility is an extremely difficult position to take and tends to pass for artificial. Humans make mistakes. Your opponent is going to throw a lot of accusations and in most cases there are areas where the company could have performed better.

So instead of trying to prove your perfection against the barrage, try embracing the apparent negatives — it can soften the accusations, give you more control over the message, and most importantly, make you feel sincere to the jury. Above all, be proactive. The key is to show that when you make mistakes, you take responsibility for them and strive to correct them.

You can also come back with a testimonial or proof that demonstrates your company’s commitment to ethical practices and its track record of correcting errors or oversights. A simple checklist can be effective here: one by one, you can highlight the legal and/or ethical actions in which your company has engaged.

Conclusion

Because so many jurors harbor negative feelings about insurance companies — but not all with attitudes extreme enough to hit them for cause — even a case that appears to be straightforward enough can come up against a jury with a bone. to choose. With the right case themes and tactical graphics that reinforce those themes, you can eliminate bias and get the jury to focus on the merits of your case.

© Copyright 2002-2022 IMS Consulting & Expert Services, All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 188

Briana R. Cross