What's the Best Way for Insurers to Leverage Social Media?

Mike Fitzgerald
Insurance Experts' Forum, October 27, 2009

There is a lot of buzz about the use of social media, but most companies are only beginning to look at how to make it work in insurance. The experimentation continues, but I had not heard of an approach that blends this new opportunity with the realities of our industry ... until today.

Almost all of the discussions concerning using these tools involve going direct to the consumer. For example, it is common to hear the suggestion that a company set up a Facebook page where insureds can sign up as “fans.” However, the majority of insurance sold in the United States is done so through an intermediary, usually an independent agent. How can an insurance company best leverage social media given the distribution realities of the marketplace?

One way is through providing services to agents that have affinity marketing schemes already in place. These services would include education to the agent (what is social media and why should I care?), strategy planning with them (where should my agency establish presences—Facebook? LinkedIn?), and implementation assistance (how do I get started and how does my agency use it on an ongoing basis to drive business?).

As an example, consider an agency that has a program in which it sells personal insurance products to teachers. An insurance carrier can add value to its agency force and create goodwill with the agency by providing some advice and direction to the distributor about where best to find teachers on the Web, what tools will best reach them and how to follow up with postings that will be made.

Most insurers already have the infrastructure in place to manage agents with affinity relationships, so this service can be an addition to that—not a new department that requires significant investment. Some cross-functional knowledge transfer between IT and marketing can establish a skill base that agents will find most valuable.

In these days where revenue is shrinking and funding is constrained, an innovative approach that is low-cost and leverages existing relationship is a winner.

This blog has been reprinted with permission from Celent. Mike Fitzgerald is a senior analyst in Celent's insurance practice, and can be reached at mfitzgerald@celent.com.

The opinions of bloggers on InsuranceNetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

Comments (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

Add Your Comments...

Already Registered?

If you have already registered to Insurance Networking News, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immeditely be directed to post a comment.

Forgot your password?

Not Registered?

You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.

Blog Archive

It’s Okay to Take a Breather from the Technology Maelstrom

Even in technology, good things may take time.

Customers for Life

Insurers once had a monopoly on lifetime customers, but technology has changed the game.

Smarter Tablet Use Could Transform Insurance

By reducing administrative tasks and automating paperwork, tablets can increase agentsí selling time and help them respond to customers in seconds, not hours.

Insurance Wake-Up Call: Embrace the Shared Economy Opportunities

SMA believes that insurers must embrace a "shared economy," crowdsourcing and open innovation to get ahead in the new marketplace.

The Lion and the Mouse: Start-ups Pitch to Top Insurer

Insurers should be on the lookout for innovative partnership arrangements that produce unique and valuable solutions.

Silicon Valley Ventures

A trip to area hotbed of technological innovation calls into question the potential viability of insurers' legacy systems, operations and processes.