Value of Social Media in Disaster Communication
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter; at first glance they don’t seem to really fit with the insurance industry It’s more easily seen as a place for connecting with old friends and sharing viral videos of cute puppies and spending way too much time looking at LOL cats. So what place could social media possibly have in the agent-insured relationship? What is the value?
The key is just that word, relationship. Social media allows a new level of customer service and relationship building that insurance agents previously could not attain. It gives you access to a wider audience. And, it’s disaster communication tool that could be a crucial resource in times of crisis.
Take Hurricane Sandy for example. It cut out power for thousands of people, destroyed homes, cars, and possessions. People didn’t know what to do, where to go, how to file a claim, and even begin the process to rebuild. This is where social media plays a huge role for your agency.
Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg used his account to give instructions to residents. FEMA, the Red Cross, and National Weather Service tweeted constantly to communicate with people and respond to those in Sandy’s path. Insurance agencies provided tips before the storm on how to prepare for blackouts, posted their claims numbers, updated customers on the storm, flood safety tips, and news updates. And the discussion was widespread- nearly 20 million tweets were sent with the hashtag #Sandy.
When a customer has a loss, or a large scale natural disaster ensues, social media helps to ensure customers know what to do and how they can get in touch with us. On our side, we can respond, in real time, to questions and queries so they get the answers they need when they need it. It provides a new, instantaneous avenue of communication where insurance agents can reach large numbers of people.
Insurance agents don’t always find social media to be a good fit initially. They want to see a tangible ROI on their investment. Is it worth the time? The short answer is yes. It is a powerful communication tool, and a vital resource in disaster communication, as evident in Hurricane Sandy. As evident by its widespread use during Hurricane Sandy, it allows insurance agents to achieve a level of customer service that was previously unprecedented, and they can help their clients when they truly need it most.
PLRisk Advisors, Inc. is the wholesale division of Axis Management Group Holdings, Inc., providing professional liability coverage solutions for insurance agents nationwide. Our unique ability to understand the complexity of business risks allows us to build customized programs to specifically address these exposures. Contact us today for more information.