Insurance companies want to have customers for life, preferably healthy paying customers who buy across their product portfolio. In recent years the insurance business has become more competitive, offering products that are increasingly sophisticated, complex, and individualized to each customers unique risk profile. Thus it is no surprise that the promise of digital marketing and social networks to individualize the customer relationship for large consumer facing companies like insurers has not gone unnoticed by this historically conservative and relatively low profile industry.
Insurers like most companies but perhaps even more so, must keep costs down for their business model to remain profitable. Therefore, the more they can get customers to engage with them online the better. Investments in online tools by large insurance groups have been considerable for many years now. But the area where attention is now being focused is in the analytics made possible by the data available on billions of individuals for a small fee from social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Insurers are very interested in these databases because they want to know when the big life changes occur for their prospects and clients – when they get married, buy a house, or have a child. The job of an insurer is to know as much as possible about their policyholders. The concerns about privacy and the right to be forgotten are particularly important for those who do not want their financial services providers to have access to their personal life, and increasingly consolidated life history in the form of images and tweets uploaded even by others everyday.
This story about insurers has two messages, one for the IT industry, which is do not forget about this traditionally uninteresting sector from an advertising perspective but which now could use the expertise of web agencies, digital strategists, and social networkers. And second, for those concerned about consumer privacy in Europe, this may be one of those examples where European citizens would prefer if the databases carrying the history of their personal life were not made available to their insurer…