Last week, I started discussing the implications and opportunities for insurers using social media. In many other industries, social media has become hugely successful as a marketing and outreach tool. In insurance, however, regulations, security and privacy concerns present a few challenges. Today, I’ll address some of these challenges and suggest how insurers can meet regulatory requirements and leverage social media.

Unique challenges in insurance

The regulatory web that governs how insurers use social media can be quite complex. Regulators seeking to protect customers from fraud must also consider the propensity of younger generations to share significant amounts of personal information online. An astonishing 64 percent of adults between the ages of 18–24 have been a victim of identity theft, lost or stolen computing device, compromised email or social network account, or had personal information posted online without their consent.

Social media strategy, then, is a balance of regulatory compliance and brand management. Carriers are starting to set out policies and training for agents and brokers to use social media. Savvy insurers are using social media as a brand management tool, monitoring online conversations with customers and prospective customers, correcting misinformation and ensuring the integrity of their brand.

Tools and applications are emerging that allow insurers to provide social media access to employees with the capability to monitor and archive conversations for regulatory compliance.

Using social media wisely

While insurers must be aware of regulations, they should not be deterred from using social media. With its potential for marketing, sales, service, recruitment and agent development, this is a very useful enabling capability.

Before using social media, insurers must address some key elements:

  • Develop a social media policy that governs etiquette, use and expectations.
  • Develop processes and procedures for those using social media.
  • Provide content templates for social media users.
  • Have a monitoring capability for social media channels.

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

Next week, I’ll discuss the benefits of social media to the sales and recruitment processes. Do you have a social media policy in place?

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