Retirement provider first as Prudential introduces service for deaf British sign language users
27 October 2016
Prudential has become the first retirement product provider in the UK to introduce a web-based video relay service (VRS) for customers who use British Sign Language (BSL).
The service, provided by SignVideo, is designed to make it easier for BSL users to contact Prudential in their preferred language. Through a link on the Prudential website, BSL using customers place a free and secure video call to a BSL Interpreter at SignVideo who then makes a voice call to Prudential. The BSL Interpreter relays the conversation in real time between the deaf BSL user and the hearing Prudential call handler, enabling more effective communication and natural flow to the conversation.
Dr Terry Riley OBE, Chair of the British Deaf Association (BDA), said: "The BDA is pleased that Prudential recognises the importance of deaf customers having full access to its financial and pension services in British Sign Language. The setting up of the Video Relay Service is an encouraging step towards our wish to see full access for deaf people across all services in the UK."
Annie Hughes, director of service development at Prudential, said: "This is a fantastic service and one that we are proud to pioneer in our industry. There are approximately 150,000 people in the UK who use British Sign Language and it’s important that all of our customers receive an equal service from us. I am delighted that we are the first retirement product provider in the UK to offer the SignVideo service for our customers who use BSL."
Jeff McWhinney, chairman and founder of SignVideo, said: "We are delighted to see insurance companies like Prudential starting to think about how they can provide equal access to their contact centres for the UK BSL community. Prudential is setting the standard for the insurance industry and I am sure that its deaf BSL using customers will be very happy that they can now call them easily and without barriers."
To demonstrate how the service works, Prudential has produced a video hosted by its director of service development, Annie Hughes.
Notes to editors
About Prudential UK & Europe
Prudential UK & Europe is a well-established provider of retirement income and investment solutions with a focus on helping customers achieve their long-term investment goals.
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.
A BSL version of this news release is available.