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How to assess and design for vulnerability in a digital world

4 October 2023

How to assess and design for vulnerability in a digital world

CPD Certified

1 hour's CPD can be claimed for this event if relevant to your learning and development needs.

In this IIL financial planning webinar, speakers provide a deep dive into eight categories of vulnerability (visual, auditory, physical, neurodegenerative, neurodevelopmental, mental ill-health, financial capability, financial resilience), aligned to the FCA’s Consumer Duty and Fair Treatment of Vulnerable Customers regulations. The speakers also highlight opportunities to make the online customer journey better for people, without deteriorating it for anyone else. This in turn helps organisations to get the most out of their digital investments, reduce fall-out and provide better outcomes for vulnerable – and all – customers.


The speakers’ new research has found that the majority of people in the UK have a characteristic of vulnerability – either permanent or temporary – and all of us will have moments of vulnerability in our lifetime. Beyond Consumer Duty, the significant number of vulnerable customers trying to interact with our organisations highlights the necessity for leaders to better understand:

  • The specific challenges faced by vulnerable customers in dealing with financial services organisations
  • How you can assess how well your digital (and other) journeys are designed for vulnerability, and what to do next, including how to better meet vulnerable customer Consumer Duty expectations going forwards

Financial Services organisations often report less than 10% of their customers as being vulnerable. Junaid and Paul – and the FCA – would argue this is significantly underestimated. Many people have underlying conditions, or challenges at different stages in their lives, which make them vulnerable when engaging with financial services. These could be physical, financial, mental, or neurodivergent conditions or traits, with vulnerable people often having multiple overlapping and cumulative challenges.

It’s not enough for financial services companies to attempt to identify vulnerable customers by asking them to disclose their vulnerability. The imperative is for banks, insurers and other financial service organisations to really know their customers, understand their different support needs, and design for them. Despite the significant number of vulnerable customers, digital journeys are still not fundamentally designed to account for vulnerability and how people may process information differently.

Our research highlights that organisations often use complex financial terms, fail to account for cognitive fatigue and inadvertently raise alarm instead of awareness about risks – resulting in disengagement or missing opportunities to reinforce good practice. This poses a significant challenge for design teams; there are many different vulnerabilities to consider and a wide range of customers to cover.

Learning objectives

  • Understand that thinking about – and designing for – vulnerable customers isn’t a niche issue; all people have the capacity to be vulnerable and financial services firms need to ensure they get good outcomes
  • Using diagnostic tools can help identify the priority issues and most accessible solutions
  • Learn how a new approach to digital journey assessment can create a win-win-win – better customer satisfaction, better efficiencies, better business



October 4, 2023
1:00pm - 2:00pm BST
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This is an online event


The Insurance Institute of London (IIL)
+44 20 7600 1343


CPD text
1 hour's CPD can be claimed for this event if relevant to your learning and development needs.