Recently, Kevin Kraft and I sat down with John Weber at BestDay Audio to talk about how the rules of the road can help insurers navigate the social media highway.

Rules of the road

The interesting thing about social media is that it’s the consumers who are setting the rules of the road. They use social media to share information, research products and companies and communicate with others about what’s going on. On the other hand, insurers live in a regulated world.

These worlds need to come together and the rules need to come together. The question for carriers is: how do I opt in or participate in these rules?

Working the network

The funny thing is, insurers are fantastic networkers. We need to leverage those skills in the new space. Consider using Angie’s List, an online referral site, to build an online profile.

If you’re not sure about the ROI, consider that agents used to go door to door. Well, with social media, that one-to-one interaction is suddenly a one-to-thousands interaction. Consider that 44 percent of US households have life insurance. Think about what could happen if all of those households started talking about their customer experience or making referrals through social media. Now, you have a market opportunity for the uninsured households, and your existing clients can do some of the legwork for you to reach that market.

Five key elements for insurers using social media

Before diving into the social media landscape, insurers need to address five key elements:

  1. Create an overall social media policy. This should include procedures and processes for the carrier, but also for other aspects of the business: distribution, servicing and the customer.
  2. Figure out the processes and procedures that will structure the conversation. Consider aspects of registration, approval and brand monitoring.
  3. Determine what content templates you’ll use. How should social media be used to drive the discussion? Consider how you’ll capture risk profiles or conduct product analysis.
  4. Create a sense of real-time interaction. Insurers must have the capability to sense communication about the company or its producers and be able to respond quickly.
  5. Implement ongoing monitoring capabilities. Monitoring is critical for leadership and compliance.

It’s no longer a question of whether insurers will embrace social media. The truth is, they don’t have a choice. This is a tool set that will change the way that insurance is distributed, shaped and sold. How will you use it to create a competitive advantage?

You might also be interested in Kevin Kraft’s blog series on social media and insurance:

Accenture has developed a Point of View on this topic. Download Achieving High Performance in Insurance through Social Media.

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