Global: IBM Study urges Insurers to tap Social Media to Sell

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IBM Institute of Business ValuesIBM : Insurance firms should include social media and analytics to sell to consumers whose shopping and buying patterns have changed, according to a recent study of 21,740 consumers in 20 countries by the IBM Institute of Business Value (IBV), a business research organisation that focuses on managerial and economic issues faced by companies and governments around the world.

The global insurance study, the largest ever undertaken by IBV, shows that more than 60% of consumers are planning to use more than one interaction point – such as phone, website or face-to-face meetings – to buy insurance policies. One-fifth of the respondents say that they use more than four different interaction points to search and compare their insurance options.

Consumers select online channels (49.5%) as their top preference for information gathering purposes to search for insurance. Following close behind is personal contact with an agent (47.9%), peer groups like friends and family (46.4%), and websites of aggregators or independent comparison providers (35.5%).

“Our findings show that the customer of the future is diverse and multi-modal. Consumers prefer interaction point choices. They can and will switch insurers if their preferred interaction points are not available,” according to Mr Primo Aguas, an IBM ASEAN executive based in Kuala Lumpur.

IBV also says that insurers should study the data of insurance search and purchase decisions and employ them effectively. They should also engage consumers actively to reveal data about their preferences so that they can develop customised strategies based on personal experience. The use of customer analytics can reveal valuable behavioral data that will allow insurers to compare interaction point offerings to the preferred mix of targeted customers. Another recommendation is to improve interaction quality so that insurers can turn consumers into advocates of their business.

Source : AIR eDaily Vol. II No. 16 – 24 January 2011, Asia Insurance Review

Note : You may read or download the full report from IBM’s IBV website here!