It’s not news to report that we are living in a connected, digital world. There is probably not a single person reading this who isn’t on either Facebook or LinkedIn. And yet, because insurers are still experiencing some difficulties with social media – such as determining which information posted by users is reliable – the myth that insurers can’t yet make good use of social media stubbornly persists in some quarters.

But research from Speedie Consultants in the UK shows that consumers’ buying habits have significantly changed in the past few years. Their independent study found that 50 percent of people looking to buy insurance use social media to research an insurance product, but 67 percent said that channel didn’t help them make a decision. This suggests that insurers are not providing the right types of quality information via social media.Social Networks_No Text

“Insurance companies are not engaging with customers or providing them with the information required via their social media channels,” said Jason Hulott, a founder of Speedie Consulting.

Marketing is merely a single, albeit important, facet of social media for insurers. The application of advanced analytics to social media – in conjunction with other new data sources, such as wearables and customer engagement platforms – is already disrupting the traditional underwriting process.

And social media platforms are an excellent way for insurers to collaborate within their ecosystems – between internal divisions of the business, with partners, etc. – to quickly and effectively share information.

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