The CIO perspective and adoption of social media by French insurers

The CIO perspective and adoption of social media by French insurers

On the 19th of May, Celent has organized an event in Paris whose objective was to discuss about the French insurers CIO perspectives for 2011 and adoption of social media. As the first speaker I presented the results of our 2011 French CIO report. Interestingly, almost one-third of French insurers are considering investment in social networks. Even though French insurers still need to sort out how they can leverage social networks, this is a clear sign demonstrating that value can be generated from data gathering from and customer interactions through social networks.

Generali France confirmed interests from French insurers in social media in the frame of a presentation underlining various initiatives launched recently. Among others, Generali France is tightly engaged in www.generation-responsable.com, an internet website based on the social network model to federate initiatives. In addition, Generali has created and been maintaining its own Twitter account for a while now and developed a very interesting social network concept called Kontsurnous. Finally, Generali France also explained how they’ve nurtured a culture of innovation within their company leveraging a LinkedIn group dedicated to Generali employees.

In the frame of the third presentation Google France explained their view on what they call the new consumer and its consequences for French insurers’ marketing strategy. Without surprise, mobility, participation, collaboration, openness represent important elements insurers need to consider when implementing new customer communication strategies.

The last part of the event was a panel discussion and a Q&A session around the different topics discussed. Plenty of ideas and interesting thoughts emerged from the panel discussion and I am already looking forward to discovering future initiatives from French insurance companies. If you want to know more about the event you can Craig Beattie’s Twitter account.

Claims Investigations Using Social Media

Claims Investigations Using Social Media

I had a very interesting discussion with a claims investigator last Thursday at Celent’s industry networking event in London (New Rules of Engagement: How Digital and Social Innovation Challenge the Insurer Business Model – see Nicolas’ summary of the event on the Celent Blog). He went into some detail about how they were using social media in their claims work.

As background, this gentleman is the Managing Director of an independent investigation company based in London which serves the UK market. His company has expertise in both personal and commercial claims and is hired by insurance companies to detect and research suspected claim fraud.

He confirmed what I have heard from other claims investigators – their first step in an investigation is to check the social networking sites for information. What he added was a richly descriptive context in which this information is used.

The interview sounds as if it is out of a television script. Paraphrasing his comments, they went something like this:

“After obtaining some interesting information from social sites, we bring a claimant in to the office for a chat. I often say “May I make you a cup of tea?” I then lay a folder on the desk and say “Have a look at this whilst I get your drink”. I then leave the room and they invariably open the folder. In it, we have screen prints of Facebook postings, pictures, Twitter feeds, etc, all of which refute basic facts in their claim statement. Many times it is not the pictures that are most incriminating, it is the text that they have posted themselves. For example, we have discovered postings that read: “I had a great time in Ibiza. I danced all night!” (This can cast some suspicion on the status of a back injury that is paying disability!) I return with their tea and say “Have you had a look? Great. Super. Now, there are only a couple of ways this can go…one, you can sign a paper that relinquishes your claims payments and agrees to pay my fee or two, don’t sign it and we will hand this information over to the police who will begin a criminal investigation.” Obviously, almost all sign.

I felt as though I was in a television show, but a couple of specifics really intrigued me about his comments. First, when I have seen the “have a look at the folder” technique on TV, it almost always contains pictures that someone has taken without their knowledge, or transcripts of wiretaps – both collected by a third party. What is very different about this “evidence” is that the claimant posted it him/herself and offered it freely for the world to see. Something to be said for the efficiency of self incrimination.

Second, I agree that there is an uncomfortable, “big brother”, “Orwellian” aspect to this type of monitoring. I have seen some opinions that criticize insurance companies for using such tactics. My stand on this issue is that insurance fraud costs all of us money and if someone who is adding to my insurance costs can be found out through their own hand, I am all for it. Invading privacy is not acceptable, but using what is voluntarily placed in the public domain should be employed to its full use in order to match insurance rates and coverages with actual exposure.

New Rules of Engagement: How Digital and Social Innovation Challenge the Insurer Business Model

New Rules of Engagement: How Digital and Social Innovation Challenge the Insurer Business Model
Last Thursday Celent organized an event in London, whose goal was to raise interrogations around digital and social innovation and how it challenges the insurer business model. In order to get some fresh views about this topic, we have decided to invite some speakers who are not directly involved in the financial services industry and insurance. In the first presentation, we learned how Axa UK has decided to take on the social media challenge. For the presenters Chris Denison – Managing Partner in Axa Innovation Hub – and Manjit Rana – Partner in Innovation Hub at Axa – social media is not a “must” but just another communication channel insurers need to understand and leverage where possible. Chris and Manjit explained the audience how Axa determines individual digital profiles, defines target challenges and identifies solution generators using three dimensions: business model, servicing customers and products/services. This analysis has allowed Axa to identify technology options for solving key challenges. Among others, Chris and Manjit identified interesting tool to leverage such as insurance claim validation systems and iPhone applications improving driving efficiency. According to Axa, deeper digital customers will force insurers to deal with unfamiliar technology solutions and risks.

The next speaker was Shaun Gregory – Managing Director of O2 Media. O2 is one of the leaders in the UK telecommunication industry. The key word used by Shaun during his presentation was “fan”. Actually, the goal of O2 is to “turn customers into fans”. To do so, O2 tries to leverage different kinds of social media tools to improve its product offering in the media business. For instance, the company uses a location tool to target people and inform them about stores and activities that might be of interest to them depending on their location. In addition, O2 also launched credit cards and a contactless payment system via mobile. Shaun’s message to the audience was clear: if you want to turn customers into fans you’ve got to anticipate their needs and provide them with the services that will fulfill these needs straight away.

Engaging with customers the Google way was the following presentation. Jo Hind – Head of Finance at Google – reminded the audience about some of the key innovations Google had contributed to bring to the market to make it one of the most innovative firms on earth nowadays. According to Jo, digital means interactivity and addressability. Interactivity is one of the core offering of Google and the company tries to identify all the times how technology via social media notably can address the need for more interactivity among individuals. Insurers can leverage these new tools and Jo made a special example about how companies can use intelligent billboard in advertising campaigns. Hiscox – the UK insurer – is one of the first insurers who has already used this technology.

The final presentation before the panel discussion was given by Rafe Offer, who is an entrepreneur and industry advisor. Among others, Rafe has worked for Facebook and other innovative companies active in the digital and social media industry. Rafe has captivated the audience with a simple and straightforward message: “the digital revolution is not about technology but it is about the culture of innovation”. Through different examples such as Zappos, Apple, Twenty Recruitment, Rafe convinced us that without a clear cultural commitment to innovate, a company cannot be successful.

The event ended up with a fruitful discussion panel composed of Paul Wishman – E-Commerce Director at LV=, Manjit Rana – Partner in Innovation Hub at Axa – Jo Hind – Head of Finance at Google and Craig Weber – Senior Vice President and Head of the Celent insurance practice. For more information about the questions that were discussed during this session, Craig Beattie, one of our UK based Celent insurance analyst, has been tweeting them during the discussion panel and you can retrieve them here: http://twitter.com/#!/cgbeattie