Insurers have clearly embraced social media as an integral part of their marketing and public relations strategies. It makes perfect sense, since insurance is a relationship business, and since social media channels provide such a clear window into customers, their life events and what’s important to them. By “listening” to what customers are saying, and engaging with them in a more active way, insurers are better able to understand their needs and provide responsive products and services.
And yet, marketing and PR comprises a single element along the insurance value chain. In point of fact, there is a much broader prospective range of contexts in which insurers should consider using social media.
For example, social media can play a role in:
- Product development. Social media networks and communities should be used not only to gather insights on emerging customer needs, driving new product development, but also to test new products before rolling them out at scale.
- Distribution. Agents can use social media to stay connected with customers and prospects—and as a result, grow sales and gain customer insights.
- Pricing and underwriting. Insurers can use social media data to enrich prospect or customer profiles.
- Policy servicing. Insurers can use social media to listen, identify requests, engage with customers and address concerns in a timely manner—a process often called “social care.” One notable survey found that customers that have a positive social care experience are three times more likely to recommend that brand.
- Claims. Social media offers a direct and relevant way to interact with customers during a claim, and can help special investigative units identify potential fraud.
Several Europe-based entrepreneurs (for example, Friendsurance, jFloat and Bought By Many) are going even further, utilizing social media for disruptive advantage, creating new business models and new ways for consumers to buy insurance.
To stay competitive, carriers must draw on their customer relationship strengths and immense data, and work to evolve their social media strategies in ways that turn potential disruption into advantage—in effect, changing the game themselves.