How does an insurer realize the return on investment with social media? The answer to this question, many will say, is unknown. Analysts at Celent set out to find the answer and discover what is important to consumers and agents. For its report “Realizing the ROI of Social Media in Insurance: Listen to the Mirror,” Celent used the search tool, Salesforce.com Marketing Cloud, to extract—from social sites—380,000 customer posts (not originating from insurer sites) that mention a targeted14 insurance companies. Celent does not identify the companies in the report, but states all are either tier 1 or tier 2 U.S.-based insurers with a concentration in P&C.

The research results indicate that social media’s value lies in improving insurer operations, specifically in service, product management and claims.

Individual posts were identified that illustrate high value opportunities to improve operations. And the report states that in order to take advantage of opportunities and defend against competitive threats, insurers should:

  • Broaden the use of social search tools to core insurance operational areas such as service, claims, and product development.
  • Communicate the need for and champion the cross-functional changes required to respond to customer insights.
  • Implement new organizational structures that establish new workflows and new incentives that will speed the adoption of the redesigned work methods/processes.

“Social data is a good source of insights, prompts and provocations, but using it blindly as an empirical source of the truth may be pushing it too far,” said Craig Beattie, senior analyst with Celent’s Insurance Group and coauthor of the report. “As with any new data source, the insurance industry must do its due diligence and respond wisely. Insurers will get the most value from analyzing this content by committing time to it and learning what works and doesn’t in sifting through data.”

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