Many insurers are adopting social media channels as part of their insurance marketing and b2b lead generation strategies. However, some fail to see the effectiveness of this platform in other areas of their business, such as customer service, brand management and building trust among their clients. The speed and efficiency with which social media can connect insurers with customers during periods of crisis was demonstrated during Hurricane Sandy, which caused billions of dollars worth of damage in business and residential properties.

During the wake of the storm, some insurers relied on portals such as Twitter and Facebook to communicate with and answer questions for their clients and coworkers. In a recent Insurance Journal article, professionals discussed the return on investment of social media, and found that its effectiveness easily surpassed its monetary value during Sandy. In addition to using social media solely for marketing purposes, insurers were able to feed information to their claims adjusters who assisted homeowners and businesses during and after the storm.

Customer service during disasters

Hurricane Sandy is only one example of the many crises homeowners and business clients may face during their lifetimes. Between floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, sinkholes, fires and vandalism, many people may have questions and confusion over the claims process. Posting information about flood insurance and homeowners policies, in particular, can be helpful, as many Americans are still unaware that flood coverage is not built in to their standard homeowners policy. While relying too heavily on social media as a customer service portal may not be optimal, it can be an efficient resource for consumers who need answers quickly before filing a claim.

Undergoing a disaster can be physically and emotionally painful for customers, and getting the answers they need to pick up the pieces quickly is in the best interest of both clients and their insurers. Therefore, insurance agents should make themselves readily available to answer questions and provide key updates and information during catastrophic events to help manage customer inquiries and inform clients about the next course of action to take as quickly as possible. This includes tweeting information about disaster zones to avoid, posting special hours of operation for insurance companies and providing "emergency to-do" lists before filing a claim. This may not only increase satisfaction and foster more trust, but also limit mistakes and delays during the claims process.

The Lift Factor is a leading marketing resource in the financial services and insurance industry, providing its clients with the most accurate, timely and relevant information in meeting their needs.