The Economist Summit Feedback

It’s Open’s Justin Hunt was kindly invited to speak as part of a panel discussion at last week’s Insurance Summit organised by The Economist.

The theme for the panel discussion was ‘Social Media and Its Discontents’ and was designed to take a closer look at some of the key developments that are looking to shape the insurance industry over the near future.

The session considered the fact that the evolution of social networks has presented organisations with a potential ally. When carefully considered, social media strategies can provide a host of rewards in brand management, reputation and customer engagement.

However as social media networks have also demonstrated an anarchic ability to spread ruin, revolution and redress, the panel was asked if the risks and opportunities created from social media can ever be managed.

The session was moderated by Tom Standage, Digital Editor, The Economist. Also on the panel were: Amanda MacKenzie, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Aviva; and Pete Markey, Chief Marketing Officer for RSA.

It was a lively discussion and Tom, Amanda and Pete had some fascinating views. The key points Justin made were that he feels social media presents an opportunity for the insurance industry to reinvent itself and restore trust in its services. Social media is rapidly becoming social production and in a networked economy, the real value is enabling customers to collaborate with you in creating, distributing, marketing and supporting your products.

Justin also pointed out that the arrival of so-called digital natives within the workplace will have a profound impact on the structures of insurance companies and how they communicate. Young people – who are highly tech literate – entering the workplace will expect and demand different methods of communications using social networking tools. This further presents an opportunity for the insurance industry to reinvent itself and use these tools to tap into the insights and information of their employees.