Insurers wondering how best to use social media might benefit from the example being set by Esurance, a direct-to-consumer personal car insurance company, which today announced that it intends to provide policyholders using Facebook with an online repair monitoring service.

Its RepairView service provides customers who have filed a claim with Esurance and have their car repaired at one of the 1,000+ Esurance-approved E-star repair facilities the ability to monitor the entire car repair process from any computer or smartphone and share the photos on Facebook. To engage potential customers, Esurance gives non-Esurance consumers the ability to access RepairView on their desktop computer and enjoy the same Facebook-sharing functionality.

Once a user connects RepairView to a Facebook account, the most recent repair photos post automatically to their Facebook “wall.” This exclusive feature provides consumers a unique mechanism for sharing their photos with their social networks. Esurance claims to be the first car insurance company in the industry to integrate this unique technology into Facebook.

For smartphone users, RepairView is available through Esurance Mobile, the free app for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7 devices. Other smart phone users can access RepairView via the Esurance Mobile website

"Online repair monitoring has been a customer favorite since we first started offering it in 2007," said Joe Laurentino, Esurance VP of material damage. "Integrating RepairView with Facebook helps us provide a more seamless online experience for customers and leverages the power of social media."

Esurance holds that RepairView offers customers a better claims experience. Recent Esurance statistics found that: in the first quarter of 2011, consumers that used RepairView rated their claims experience nine points higher than those that did not.

Further, consumers who take advantage of the RepairView integration with Facebook have their car repair photos viewed seven times more often than those who don't.

Women aged 35 and over, in particular, find RepairView's Facebook integration particularly useful: the number of female users in the 35+ demographic who used RepairView via Facebook outnumbered male users by eight percent during the first quarter of 2011.

RepairView's web-enabled system exemplifies the "technology" aspect of Esurance's best-of-both-worlds approach to car insurance, which promises: Technology when you want it. People when you don't.


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