Insurance is ‘uniquely ill-suited’ to social media

Insurance is ‘uniquely ill-suited’ to social media

Insurance is ‘uniquely ill-suited’ to social media The insurance industry is ‘uniquely ill-suited’ to the world of social media, according to Hollard Insurance Group MD Richard Endhoven – but must embrace this new world to avoid ‘real havoc’.

“When customers have a bad experience, it’s very bad and hugely emotive. When they have a good experience, it’s expected and normal,” said Endhoven. “That means every time they have a bad experience they’ll use social media, and only one of a hundred good experiences will make social media.”

He insisted that insurance shouldn’t just sit back and admit defeat, however.

“The industry has a major issue with social media. There’s no way around it – we are going to have to find some way to deal with this collectively. We have to embrace it,” he added.

Endhoven’s comments came as part of a general discussion about the challenges and opportunities of social media. Swiss Re MD Mark Senkevics was also wary of the impact of social media, suggesting it was ‘very risky’.

“Clients have the opportunity to share their views on your performance very quickly, so your brand is enormously vulnerable,” said Senkevics. “It’s enormously risky, and you just have to look at the situations over the last few years where companies have fluffed it again and again.”

However, Austbrokers CEO and MD Mark Searles argued that social media could be a useful tool to gauge market and customer sentiment, if properly monitored.

“Social media allows customers to express views and socialise them very quickly. You need to be plugged into what’s being said about you, and hearing what the customer is saying,” he commented. “Unless you understand how people view you, you’re not going to be able to act accordingly.”

PSC Insurance Group MD Gary Seymour also defended the use of social media, suggesting that insurers, underwriters and brokers could do more to engender positive interaction.

“The new generation are just as happy to say something good as something bad,” said Seymour. “But because we don’t open ourselves up to the positive feedback, we only hear the bad stuff.”

The discussion came as part of a wide-ranging panel discussion on the SME market, which also featured Willis Australasia’s Tony Barber and Lloyds of London’s Adrian Humphreys.

Is social media a force for good or for ill? Should the insurance industry embrace it, and if so how? Tell us your views below.

  • Kelly Moser 12/11/2013 9:00:14 AM
    Rather than viewing social media as a giant Yelp review, insurance professionals should use it as a tool to enhance their customers' experience. Offering free information, useful/interesting articles, birthday shout outs, or promotional offers are all ways insurance agencies can interact with their clientele through social media. Social media is a unique and easy way to connect with your clients. It shouldn't be something you fear!
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  • Brent Kelly 12/11/2013 1:01:47 PM

    I think you have a great point and I completely agree. I think the main reason many insurance professions feel that social media doesn't work is that they simply don't know how to implement. Instead of engaging and being creative, many try to sell and push. Social does not work that way. You must give, give, and give some more. Give advice, give info, give unique service. Build relationships. Be personal not corporate. Anyone who wants to learn more needs to go buy "Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook" yesterday.
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  • Kathie Kinde Clark 7/3/2014 1:23:08 PM
    The thing is, they will be talking about us (our industry) anyway. Why not participate in the conversation? There is more risk in allowing those comments to go unanswered.
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