Insurance Industry Explores Social Media, But Nothing To Write Home About (Blogs, Forums, Social Networks)

I’m doing research for a client, to find out any examples of insurance companies using social media to connect with it’s customers. I’ve done some scanning over a 48 period of time, and asked my twitter (a social computer) followers, who gave a tremendous amount of helpful links. Since I’ve received many links from the community, I won’t hoard my findings, but share them in public. I’m thankful for those that help me, and I try to give back on this blog.

Overall, without surprise, this industry has not adopted these tools, as one would expect. Whether they should or not should start with by answering these questions:

  • Are their respective decision makers using social tools to find answers about products and services?
  • If so, which tools are they using, and how are they connecting?
  • Would insurance customers benefit from asking and answering questions directly to each other?
  • I did find a few examples, yet just small blossoms in the field, no clear wins that would make a case study of complete success or failure, among them include:

    Pick Your Advisor, India
    This website allows users to select a financial or insurance advisor using a friendly personable interactive selector. Each of the advisors has a picture asscoiate with them, and a psuedo blog. As I looked closer, most of the blog data was not being used, or was being used like a chat room.

    Allstate Community Forum
    It appears this forum (code suggests it’s powered by lithium software, see the whole list) which launched in late 07 is a great example of a company embracing it’s customers using community software. Sadly, there’s very few messages and discussions. The forum is segmented by role (singles, couples, parents) and you can start to see some Q&A occurring. In my recent report on Online Community Best Practices, I found that companies must have a kick start plan to get their communities going.

    esurance fan opportunity
    Esurance’s aggressive online advertising of it’s cartoon like superhero “Erin Esurance” is causing some fandom, and some are dressing up like her. Mack questions if esurance should embrace some of these fans, but I’m not so sure. Is the goal of the cartoon campaign to drive awareness, or involve in a discussion about insurance. Some have mixed reactions on interacting with fake personas, so perhaps a different strategy would be needed.

    Embrace Pet Insurance, Facebook
    For those of us who have pets, care can often be expensive for family members, as a result, embrace pet insurance launched this Facebook group. There are 83 members in the Facebook group, few discussions, a handful of wall posts and no applications.

    Various Blogs
    Perhaps the most interesting insurance related blog is Singapore’s Tan Kin Lian, a former CEO who is “I write this blog to educate the public about insurance, finance and current affairs in Singapore”. The archives go back to 2005, and there are a handful of comments on many of the recent posts. He posts frequently, and is using it in a Q&A type format. On the other hand, there are new blogs appearing, such as this one from Golden State Life Insurance (only 3 posts)

    Enterprise Collaboration
    In a recent Forrester report, Oliver Young’s case study highlights how Northwestern Mutual benefits from internal collaboration using the Awareness platform. I’m sure there are many other examples, but this industry is often not forth coming. Shel Holtz has additional commentary.

    Rehashing of Commercials on YouTube
    Liberty Mutual launched a TV commercial series called “Pay it forward” that was published on YouTube (it doesn’t appear to be sanctioned from the brand), with 150,000 views. They could easily take this campaign to the people by creating a campaign letting the community share their stories view text and video. Interestingly, a few folks decided to take the time to parody the video. Update: I’ve just been notified about the Responsibility Project by Liberty Mutual, a video campaign with a blog (comments enabled), I don’t see much community aspect.

    Active Forums
    Perhaps the most vibrant examples are these various forums. Insurance is likely not a daily activity, and members may prefer to ask questions anonymously to each other. In this forum for insurance agents, called Insurance Forums (top thread has over 60,000 views and 1000 responses regarding a convention). AM/PM insurance has a thriving community, appears to be a customer community. Kiplinger an financial analysis resource has a forum for general insurance discussions.

    Geico’s Caveman
    This isn’t a great example of social media, but Geico’s caveman has interactive marketing elements where you can visit his “crib”, also the character appeared in real life at a recent SXSW party I attended.

    Zuzzid, Norwhich Union’s Community Ratings
    To me, this is the perhaps the promising program, a website where community members can speak out about, rate, and rank insurance agencies. Sadly, this community has had little traction, just a few postings, and if you read the bottom line it’s created by an insurance agency, UK’s Norwich Union (which coincidently has the highest rating) for this to work, it’ll have to be from an independent source.

    Pemco wants to be like you
    Pemco, a Northwest insurance agency in US, launched am interactive marketing site called were a lot like you that shows many profiles of potential prospects, and allows members to upload theirs. While it appears most of the content is created by the agency or the company, there’s very little area for member to member interaction (what social media is about). A good start, I hope they take this to the next level, and let the community really take hold and drive, create, and discuss the content.

    There really isn’t much activity happening in the insurance industry to use social media, and where it may be successful, it could likely be behind the firewall, impervious to public viewing. Update: Jeff Jarvis is also on the hunt for industries that are somewhat impervious to social media, I’ll agree, social media isn’t great for everything, let’s use our heads, not everything is a nail..

    Lastly, I’ve received half a dozen emails and tweets in total saying they are working with a client on social media, but can’t disclose the details, or will ask the client, or the project has ended. A very quiet industry, indeed.

    In general, most financial and insurance industries are going to fall just behind the curve of mainstream adoption when it comes to social media tools, they rightfully will wait and vet out what works and what doesn’t.

    If you see any other examples of insurance companies solving real business problems using social tools (I’m not as interested in toe-dipping), please leave a comment.

    Related: I did this same list for the Finance industry, see Ongoing list of Social Media Efforts from Banks, Credit Card, Financial Institutions and Lenders

    125 Replies to “Insurance Industry Explores Social Media, But Nothing To Write Home About (Blogs, Forums, Social Networks)”

    1. Jeremiah, Regarding your request about insurance and financial services industries using social media, i will point out that the private equity industry is trying out social media with its use of blogs and podcasts. Two venture capital firms: Levensohn Venture Partners and August Capital both use podcasts (and have blogs) as education tools for their entrepreneurs as well as prospective entrepreneurs. Also The Deal uses podcasts as a means to extend the life of their conferences to existing and other audiences.

    2. Thanks Jennifer, besides those two, (and the Deal) are there any other firms actively and whole-heartedly using social media?

      For those firms who are trying to reach the web 2.0 entrepreneur, they’re using the right tools.

    3. I think looking at the insurance issue only from the perspective of consumers is limiting. The real opportunity for insurance and other areas will be in the application of social media tools to achieve better business results. VRM looked at from the businesses perspective also provides opportunities for social media. Replace the concept of individual contributors in a work environment for consumer and all the same needs are there. A manager is looking for new vendors, new solutions, to share information, etc. Most industries are in fact more collaborative than competitive in execution. There is a world of opportunity there.

    4. Thanks a lot for the link. A quick perusal of our forum will show you why it is dangerous for insurance companies to jump into the vertical. No company, no matter how good or strong, is without its negative aspects. Well, people love to talk about negativity much more than positivity, so those points rise to the top.

      It is always a struggle to see just how negative people are in the social networking medium.

    5. jeremiah, thanks for the link.

      Sometimes it feels like I’m trying to drag our company and our industry single handedly into Social Media aspect of the internet.

    6. Marketing online in insurance we ended up going after social media. We’ve tried blogs and are about to setup a forum. So far the only real success we’ve had in social media (ignoring link baits which didn’t drive real links) is a question answer system we setup ( This seems to work quite well. Its defunct at the moment however we’ve spent 6 months developing a much more robust version.

    7. Jeremiah:

      I know I’m reviving a thread from a few months ago, but hey, that’s the beauty of Social Media.

      I struggle to find ways to use social media in an insurance company for a few reasons. The biggest challenge is content.

      If it is a commercial insurance or other type of insurance company that primarily is B2B or through insurance agents, I think there are numerous opportunities. The audience is definitely interested in reading more content about insurance.

      In the personal lines insurance world (property and casualty for example) it’s much more challenging to develop content because, honestly, who wants to read about their car insurance? They want to get it, pay for it, and hopefully never use it.

      That’s my challenge right now and I’m having to get creative in some alternative ways to take advantage of the power of social media without tarnishing the impression of the company by jumping in to the fishbowl in an inappropriate manner.


    8. Jeremiah,

      Any activity on the side of medical insurers? Are any of the medical insurance providers using social media to discuss the industry or speak with customers?


    9. Kevin, it’s true, they are higher walls for this industry to cover, but it could be worse, they could be pharma!

      S Neil.
      I’ll add them if I see them!

    10. Have you seen the insurme.coms blog stuff (especially there videos… hilarious!)

      As a former social media consultant forced to enter the family insurance brokers business expect to see some interesting things come out in the brokers side of thing.

      Insurances origins in fact smell a lot like social networking and the worlds top insurance company runs very different to the standard insurance companies you write about.

      You see, Toward the end of the seventeenth century, London™s growing importance as a center for trade increased demand for marine insurance. In the late 1680s, Mr. Edward Lloyd opened a coffee house that became a popular haunt of ship owners, merchants, and ships™ captains, and thereby a reliable source of the latest shipping news. It became the meeting place for parties wishing to insure cargoes and ships, and those willing to underwrite such ventures.Then as now, anyone who was seeking insurance would go to a broker, who would then hawk the risk to the individual risk-takers who gathered in the coffee houses or in the precincts of the Royal Exchange. When a deal was closed, the risk-taker would confirm his agreement to cover the loss in return for a specified premium by writing his name under the terms of the contract; soon these one-man insurance operators came to be known as underwriters.

      Today, Lloyd™s of London remains the leading market (note that it is not an insurance company) for marine and other specialist types of insurance, but it works rather differently than the more familiar kinds of insurance.

    11. Thank you for this list, I am always looking for examples to share with our independent agency partners. We are working to educate agents about how they can use these tools to add value to their business. My company (Ohio-based Westfield Insurance) has been using blogs to share knowledge about managing risks, here are links if you are interested … we have been getting a positive response from bringing a more personal approach to providing info to customers.

    12. Thanks for the article. There are quite a few Insurance companies, including agents and brokers that are very interested in social media and what that means to expanding their branding reach.

      I was recently interviewed by Program Business on how our agency is implementing these new tools. “ISA: Using the Power of Web 2.0 in Marketing Strategy” ( is a community of Insurance professionals and the biggest topic going on right now is Social Media.

      Also, the Agents Council of Technology (ACT), which is part of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA) is dedicated to learning and creating resources for Insurance professional in regards to Social Media/Web 2.0.

      I hope these are helpful to you!


    13. I have found insurance companies reluctant to participate in social media platforms, in part due to the confusion as to where in the organization this sits. Is this a PR issue where it is dealt with as an ill-advised attempt to control message as with external press or is this a website group problem who have the technical ability to try and activily participate without trying to control but lack authority.

      Where does social media fit in organizations currently?

    14. I am researching the same topic right now – social media cases for insurances. Thanks for this great post and collection, it helped a lot.

      I just wanted to mention that Allstate has since added Twitter, Facebook fanpage, Youtube channel and Podcasts to their social media range, all of which can be found on the bottom of their website

      Regards! Helen (@helvatter)

    15. The idea behind their actions is to increase popularity, but insurance companies in general can't do very well on social media platforms because at present times, insurance companies are not very popular because they are known to take advantage of the lack of knowledge on people signing contracts with them. The normal person where social media is mainly directed to, will have no positive response for such an action so that is why there are other problems that need to be solved first.
      Sr22 Insurance

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    17. Good post Jeremiah (as always)…you're right, there hasn't been many Insurance agents/brokers/companies using Social Media effectively…and hence I decided to dedicate my book to this industry…the book is appropriately titled Social Media For Insurance Brokers …in fact the book/website was just launched 4 days back and we've got overwhelming response (16 sales in less than 4 days)…you may wish to check out the website here: Have a fabulous day ahead!

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    19. This is the exact reason they need to participate in social media. If the insurance companies are active with the public and allow them to communicate the good and the bad, they will improve customer loyalty and acquisition.

    20. All depending on how you want to define Social Media, but USAA, Lending Tree, Geico and many others are using social media right on their main page.

    21. linkedFA believes a purpose driven social network built specifically to address the unique needs of financial and insurance professionals as they work to strengthen existing client relationships and build new ones is the solution to this issue. linkedFA has created an innovative online social networking website ( specifically intended to bridge a void within the financial and insurance industries. A key issue is limited communication between Financial Advisors (FAs) and clients due to high client to FA ratios. We believe that the ability for FAs to connect and share information throughout their client network is not being maximized.

      linkedFA supports financial and insurance industry professionals in the most comprehensive manner available today, blending best-of-breed social networking with role-specific features: First, linkedFA gives its financial and insurance industry professionals approval authority over any comments made on any of their shared content prior to the system posting it, which gives these members full control over what their entire networks of colleagues and investors can see about them. Secondly, linkedFA provides recording and storage of all communications and content, supporting financial professional™s unique requirements in meeting regulatory bodies™ legal mandates. The linkedFA professional can run a communications export under the Compliance feature at any time. There are many other unique features designed specifically with the FA in mind. Please check us out at

    22. Hey, found this site looking for ways the insurance industry is using Social Media. I will soon be embarking on a Social Media Campaign for my father's three Nationwide Insurance Agencies. I used your updated listing of company's social media leaders and found Shawn Morton of Nationwide. Currently, I am trying to connect with him through a few social media avenues to see what Nationwide is doing in terms of Social Media and how they could possibly help me with my campaign.

    23. Kevin-
      I just came across your reply to this very helpful post. I'm pretty fresh into the “real” world and have been tasked with developing and executing the social media strategy for my org. I'm with an insurance company that operates in commercial and personal lines P&C insurance. I'm curious…how are your efforts coming along? I'd be interested in having a discussion – reach out to me if you get a chance.

    24. Katie-
      I work for Ohio-based American Modern Insurance Group. I'd be interested to hear more about your social media efforts. Reach out to me if you get a chance. Thanks.

    25. I work for my family insurance agency ( and I write a blog for our area newspapers' websites. Since I am a young, burgeoning insurance producer, I like to take a fresh look at insurance. I approach private and business insurance topics in a fun, manageable way, because it is my experience that many consumers feel that they hate insurance! My goal is to help people understand insurance as it relates to them while guiding them in understanding why it is an invaluable asset.

    26. Its a very cool stuff,and it was quite intresting to read this article.thanks for your article containing the detailed informations about the Insurance Industry it was very informative and useful too.

    27. I've seen this trend recently. Their marketing teams are getting quite creative with the ads but I'm skeptical as to whether or not they really convert well.

    28. I think looking at the insurance issue only from the perspective of consumers is limiting. The real opportunity for insurance and other areas will be in the application of social media tools to achieve better business results.

    29. Read travel insurance reviews and compare prices for all the top travel insurance companies in the UK. Read about vacation travel insurance, holiday insurance cover, emergency travel insurance and much more.

    30. I’ve been using social networks for more than one year now in order to attract new customers for the company I work for. And what the clients are attracted to is the 5%-10% discount that they get for their car insurance quote. Nowadays it suffices to be price competitive in order to attract clients. And if you add good quality services for that good price is even better.

    31. My brother was perfectly healthy until he got cancer at age 33. When my daughter was in the hospital, it cost $12,000/day — she was there for almost 3 months.

    32. I started a facebook page for The Standard Insurance. They are the worst company in America. Full of discrimination, manipulation, their own paid doctors, etc etc. The worst. Now that they are on Facebook, I intend to tell the world. Thanks.

    33. Thanks for a good read. I agree that it can take a while before your investment in insurance panels returns. But on the other hand, it is a very positive thing for our environment and it really helps!

    34. I think social media is only going to help the auto insurance quote company, because is the most common insurance that people buy every year.

    35. Social media is indeed a very helpful strategy for exposure and in result attract more clients/prospects. The style with business nowadays are close connections. You gotta make a connection, more like a relationship with people so you get ahead. Without this, you won't be able to stand in the tight competition around.

    36. I see social media as a great tool to find out what people need. It is important to interact with the public and maybe set up some social media surveys that are subtle and can give useful information. It's in this way that the best rates and quality service can be provided to the individual.

    37. IMMS has been helping agents expand their markets and keep in touch with their clients by Active Online Marketing. We set up the agency with a custom Facebook, LinkedIN and Blog. We do SEO work and all for $900 a month. We do all the work so the agent can do what he is best at…selling. We bring touchpoints to the agent's attention on a daily basis and manage promotions as well. Its fun and its working. Our clients have seen a steady growth in referrals and retention is at its highest. Its hard to ignore your agent when he's giving you advice and helping you save time and money every time you turn on your computer.

    38. Social media is greatly beneficial in many ways. It can be used for personal and business purposes. Many companies like life insurance companies are already using social media to connect conveniently to their customers.

    39. Thanks for sharing! Did you find any more examples during the last 2 years? I am starting the same research now and was wondering if there are any updates…

    40. This is really a very good research on insurance industries and their marketinf strategy, so are the insurance companies using social media to improve the brand name or it it for some thing else?

    41. Extremely superior instruction! I’m hearing about Insurance Industry Explores Social Media. I think that it™s very instructive. Thanks!

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    43. Are there any updates on findings in this area. I am working with a couple of companies that are considering SMM.

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    59. Thanks a lot for the link. A quick perusal of our forum will show you
      why it is dangerous for insurance companies to jump into the vertical.
      No company, no matter how good or strong, is without its negative

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