The State of Social Media Within the Industry

According to a new study from Strategy Meets Action, social media has become a nearly universal practice among insurers (nine percent reported not having a social media strategy or initiative planned), however, very few are beyond the basics of posting and monitoring.

Twenty-five percent reported using social media for advertising and branding; 23 percent for HR initiatives and recruiting; and five percent for providing communication and resources during catastrophes. The report breaks use into three broad categories: identifying marketplace opportunities, implementing plans to capitalize on the opportunities and leveraging it across the enterprise. The last category is where few insurers have yet to reach.

Within the next three years, 30 percent of respondents have plans to expand their social media usage to claims, 28 percent to enterprise services, 28 percent to policy serving, 22 percent to underwriting and eight percent to billing.

While these usage examples show how few insurers are stepping ahead of the curve, most of the field remains focused on establishing a brand presence across the wide spectrum of social media outlets. With Facebook and LinkedIn as the most popular sites, followed by Twitter and blogs. On top of this, the report emphasizes the breadth of the phrase social media, which includes forums, Wikis, the blogosphere to monitor beyond internal creation, multi-media sharing, entertainment sites, etc., There is a host of angles to cover if you want to attain a fully optimized Web presence.

There are simple ways to begin expanding a company’s focus, according to the report, such as updating and maintaining a polished Wikipedia presence, which goes a long way toward putting forth a professional Web presence.

Breaking down the numbers by sector, the report found the biggest difference between the P&C and life/health sectors is in social media’s potential to support normal business operations. In the P&C industry, carriers are seeing opportunity and acting on it with 79 percent of P&C companies saying social media plays an important role in this way. Meanwhile, 35 percent of life/health firms do not see any role for social media in supporting normal business operations.

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