There is increasing evidence that use of social media has the capability to improve customer service, enhance marketing, and even streamline internal processes for insurers and agents/brokers. So why isn’t the insurance industry beating a path to the new media? Perhaps we have a culture clash.
Karen Furtado, partner at Strategy Meets Action (SMA). Furtado shared her comments on Social Media and Insurance at a Duck Creek’s “Channeling Energies” conference (covered in Insurance Networking News. According to Furtado, there are endless opportunities, including customer/agent engagement, referral leads, customer service improvements and branding.
However, Furtado notes that the opportunities come with challenges. “Insurers need to understand, based on primary goals, who will take responsibility for its development and upkeep. Should this fall to the HR department? To Marketing? Or should IT take ownership?” These can be challenges to the organization’s culture.” Furtado also suggests that some insurer managers may not understand, nor support, social media use by employees on company time
Corporate culture was the subject of a recent post on an influential marketing blog, The BuzzBin, entitled. “It’s not You, it’s the Culture.“ Commenting on leadership, the blog’s author, Priya Ramesh noted that top-down leadership can limit uptake of social media which would benefit the organization: “The head of the organization definitely impacts the social media adaption rate. The key decision-makers need not be social media savvy but their realization and acceptance is hugely instrumental in steering the company in the right direction.”
We don’t know of any survey among leaders in the insurance community in Canada on Social Media, but a recent survey of independent agency principals in the US by IVANS, indicated found 52% of agents do not currently use Social Networking tools and further 38 percent of agents say have no plans to do so. That would suggest that there is at least a significant minority of agencies where the corporate culture is a barrier for the immediate future.
For those organizations which have a desire to move forward, SMA’s Furtado has some solid recommendations: “The first step is to create and communicate rules of how to interact on behalf of the company,” she said. “Next, depending on what you want to accomplish, create a team that can “own” the initiative, monitor its progress and build on it, creating additional avenues for growth.”