December 2nd, 2010 by Lori Reed
For years, businesses have been reaching out to consumers through technology. Now, social media websites and cell phone applications are just a couple of ways companies engage with clients.
Their strategy goes along with the notion that a business needs to be where the consumers are. As generation Y continues to age and earn more money, its insurance needs will grow. However, insurers may not be as savvy as some other industries in terms of using technology as a marketing tool.
A Reuters article by Ben Berkowitz recently discussed the importance of using technology to engage with consumers. The piece included interviews with several representatives from various insurance companies, including Allstate’s vice president of e-business, Bob Wasserman.
“A very significant number, up to a majority, of wireless users will have these devices with them and they expect to be able to interact with companies through these devices where they are,” said Wasserman. “You start to think about what this device can do and you build other capabilities.”
A number of auto insurance companies, for example, have developed phone applications which walk customers through the process of filing a claim. Others applications are more for fun and feature company mascots and games. While such actions are a step in the right direction, more can still be done.
Berkowitz points out that banks are generally friendly towards the technologically savvy consumer. Many institutions, he notes, offer online transaction options. Some banks exist purely online.
In September of this year, the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education developed a Facebook app and contest to help promote Life Insurance Awareness month. The app encouraged people to share stories of those who play an important role in their lives.
LIFE Foundation senior vice president and chief creative officer Jon Dressner says creating the app was a way to use social media to engage with clients.
“With more people turning to social media and the Internet for advice and information, the ‘What Matters Most to Me’ App and Contest provides producers with a fun and engaging way to get their clients and prospects thinking about their need for life insurance,” said Dressner.
The LIFE Foundation and Allstate are just a couple of examples of how social media can be used to make insurance something consumers can engage with just like any other product or brand.