Did you ever wonder how the heavily regulated and traditional insurance industry can make use of social media? I speak to Keith Lewis of Zurich Insurance in the UK to learn how they are using LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube to tell stories to their target audiences of consumers, brokers and employees.
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Tell us about Zurich Insurance and what you do there?
We’re a global insurance company with 60,000 people across the world, 120 odd countries, and I look after social media here in the UK. And we look after both our life insurance business, so pensions, protections and investment, but primarily the stuff we’re doing across social are general insurance. So we ensure everything from your car, my home, individual property, all the way up to global companies. We also do have a whole arm of risk engineering. So generally speaking if you can see a lift or an escalator in the UK, it’s likely that a Zurich engineer has given it a seal of approval. So we do all sorts of things to make sure people are protected in their day-to-day lives.
What are some of the challenges that you face with social media?
We’re a highly regulated area and different regulations apply to different parts of the business that we operate. We always have to be very acutely aware of that when we’re operating in the space. But it’s mainly around the actual selling of insurance. So in my mind, I divvy what we do into two brackets. We’re obviously there to sell products around all the different things that we already talked about. But we’re also here to talk about Zurich as a company in the UK. We’ve got 22 locations here, we’ve got 5,500 people who work across all those different things that I talked about earlier.
So we use social a lot to tell the Zurich story, or start to tell the Zurich story about how we operate in our local environments. Because of course as a big company, we’ve got all the usual things you might expect us to do. But people don’t necessarily associate insurance with things like that. So we’ve got a big community trust, all our employees do two or three days of charity work at least a year. We do our local engagement around our different sites. We do lots of different things, that’s all part of telling the Zurich story, really.
What are your social media objectives?
Of course we’ve got to drive business value from it, and so I take sort of Andrew Grill‘s definition from IBM of social business, and of social media. So creating networks and building collaborations to tell the stories, but it has to drive a value. So into telling the story, we’ve got to make sure that people see us as perhaps an employer of choice or someone they want to work with, or actually recognising that we do all the things that I’ve talked about. But also we’ve got to try and make sure that people are aware that your average consumer or business owner or executive is aware of the importance that insurance has.
“Insurance, god it’s dull isn’t it?” Frankly it is, it’s not the sort of glamorous product that you’d naturally associated with social media. We don’t actually have a product that people have in their properties. We used to have an insurance certificate, nowadays that’s just electronic. People very rarely get excited about their renewal premiums coming in. So we have to find ways, interesting ways of explaining what we do and the value that we offer to whatever it is that the customer wants.
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