There are currently no insurance based chats, but we are exploring a couple options and invite others to create twitter chats about insurance. For now the chats most beneficial to helping your insurance marketing efforts are:
1. #smchat: Exploring and driving the new social media paradigm. Be ready for a discussion that’s sometimes technical but always lively.
2. #smmeasure: This chat is all about measuring your social media efforts. Others share how they see their ROI and analytics.
3. #blogchat: This chat is all about BLOGGING. Get tips from professionals on how to make your blog better, and connect with people who have similar issues.
4. #wpchat: A chat all about WordPress. Everyone has been frustrated with it before, get some quick tips and ideas!
Along with participating in Twitter chats, you can use #hashtags in your everyday tweets when discussing insurance, local events, or anything for that matter, and create a Twitter search to monitor the #hashtags. Likewise, by using these #hashtags, people will be able to see your tweet when searching for the terms.
You can also search for terms to make connections with like-minded Twitter users, or maybe even reach out to a prospect who is having a negative, insurance-related experience (tactfully). Geographic locations also make good #hashtags because they identify people in your area that are involved with local events or business.
Lastly, some people use hashtags to inject humor into the conversation. For example, one may tweet something like, “Listening to Backstreet Boys station on @Pandora_Radio #dontjudge,” or “Seasoned hunter mauled by bear…in his back yard #irony.”
Using multiple #hashtags in one tweet happens (#car #insurance), but it’s NOT advisable to load every single post with a bevy of #s. It gives the appearance of someone not concerned with making connections but only appearing in searches, cluttering your posts while likely driving followers away. Some popular #hashtags for the industry with no specific chat time are:
• #workerscomp (Every Wednesday follow and use this #hashtag along with @WorkCompEdge for discussion of workers compensation)
Recently, the Insurance Marketing HQ team had the opportunity to visit the energetic and inspired team from Encharter Insurance’s Amherst office known locally as Blair, Cutting & Smith Insurance. Situated in the heart of the UMASS-Amherst community, the agency has a rich history dating back to 1879.
Our visit happened to coincide with a “theme” day the agency had planned as a part of an office morale initiative that keeps employees happy and productive. To honor the 53rd anniversary of American Bandstand, Encharter’s staff donned attire ranging from poodle skirts and pink cardigans to floor length flower dresses with begonias in their hair.
As a special treat we spoke to two Encharter employees who are shining bright as “Changing Faces of the Insurance Industry,” one a social media engineer and the other, a savvy receptionist turned CSR.
Social Media Engineer – Heidi
Wielding an English degree out of college, Heidi has been instrumental in building an internship program for Encharter by leveraging relationships with UMASS-Amherst and creating an atmosphere of learning. She’s also responsible for helping to oversee the agency’s social media with a full on multimedia and social networking program.
Customer Service Representative – Katie
Stephanie started as a receptionist at Encharter before earning her license and becoming a CSR. Since then, she’s won multiple awards within the agency as a top producer based on a point system set up by the management team.
Moving further offshore, in honor of last week’s Discovery Channel, “Shark Week”, we’re exploring a health insurance related issue brought to life by one predator of the sea and its appetite for human arms. The high-profile ordeal of a vacationing Florida man recently brought a media feeding frenzy to the topic of sharks, traveling abroad and insurance.
Luis Hernandez was swimming off a boat in the Bahamas when he was attacked by a shark that shredded his arm to pieces. Blessed to be saved by his wife who pulled him safely onto the boat, the man literally had to sit and wait, bleeding in a large transport plane while his credit card was run for $7,500, covering the cost of the medical evacuation. Also using his credit card, the shark-bitten man was able to pay an additional $13,000 for Bahamian medical care and transportation to a specialized U.S. hospital, but all told, Luis was on the hook for close to $700,000 in medical costs for surgery and recovery.
Facing financial ruin and reduced mobility with his arm, Luis followed all the protocols of his insurance company, which were extensive, and was able to recuperate his medical expenses while gaining 70% of his arm strength. Despite the somewhat happy ending, this whole scenario raises many questions about health insurance coverage when travelling out of the country. The fact is, not all health insurance plans operate the same when you leave the country.
Fortunately, the government has taken steps to provide information for those travelling abroad by creating the Travel.State.gov website. On its homepage the site states the following:
Before going abroad, learn what medical services your health insurance will cover overseas. If your health insurance policy provides coverage outside the United States, REMEMBER to carry both your insurance policy identity card as proof of such insurance and a claim form. Although many health insurance companies will pay “customary and reasonable” hospital costs abroad, very few will pay for your medical evacuation back to the United States. Medical evacuation can easily cost $10,000 and up, depending on your location and medical condition.
Underscoring a message for retired or senior citizen travelers, the site makes it clear in ALL CAPS and bold that: THE SOCIAL SECURITY MEDICARE PROGRAM DOES NOT PROVIDE COVERAGE FOR HOSPITAL OR MEDICAL COSTS OUTSIDE THE U.S.A. Supplemental life insurance is available as a backup.
Additionally, Travel.State.gov offers additional resources for travelers going abroad including:
Next time you or a customer plans an adventure vacation that involves diving with sharks, going on safari or a jungle expedition, it’s a good idea to review what IS and IS NOT covered by insurance, just in case your arm ends up as a meal.
According to several Internet sources, June 28th is National Insurance Awareness Day. Aside from a couple blog entries making reference to this notable industry date (which is also shared by Paul Bunyan Day), there does not seem to be any person or entity claiming the creative rights to the not-quite-Hallmark holiday.
A simple Google search brings back confirmation of June 28th as National Insurance Day, but the closest explanation from HolidayInsights.com states generically, “…you can be certain that insurance companies had a little something to do with the origination of this day.”
Dig a little deeper and you’ll find a California health insurance agent’s tongue-in-cheek (I think) explanation of how his office celebrates National Insurance Day, which involves lighting a candle and some other celebratory activities. In their own words, “In fact, an exotic dancer is sometimes hired to heighten the festivities, but the dance performed, the ‘Insurance Dance,’ is very protective in nature. Just watching it performed gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling all over.”
Aside from these two posts and a few press releases looking to capitalize on the date, there’s virtually nothing that would make National Insurance Day noteworthy to anyone…until now.
Firstly, anyone who has more information about the origins of National Insurance Awareness Day, please chime in the comments section. Whether you’re an insurance marketing person staking claim to its invention or just an agency that’s celebrated in the past, we’d love to know what ritualistic activities make this day special?
For planning purposes, here are some suggestions to build on for future National Insurance Awareness Day celebrations.
Offer to shred commercial partner papers and recycle for free in your office
Sponsor a safe driving course
Set up a wrecked car outside the agency with a sign, “Are you insured?”
Get a pizza place to hand out your business card w/ every slice they deliver and offer to promote them for it
Host an Insurance Awareness Day line dance
Shoot a humorous video showing how insurance is often overlooked
Have an agency rounding off contest – whoever adds the most policies, gets a paid day off
Support a local non-profit that you are passionate about and encourage locals to match
Dress like an insurance agent day – play up the stereotype, the less stylish the better
Deliver baked goods or branded schwag to VIP commercial insurance partners around town
Host an insurance agency Olympics competition
Publicly re-enact the some of the oddest insurance claims your agency has ever received
Donate employees for a “Bring your agent to work day.”
Do a publicity stunt with a partner or town (fire drill) to draw awareness to insurance
Bake an Insurance Awareness Day cake
Give away “Home/Auto Insurance for a year” to the person who can share the most inspiring insurance story
Have an insurance awareness scavenger hunt
Send out a humorous email blast notifying people of the date
Spend the entire day volunteering to call attention to the fact that insurance agents don’t just sell
Cover yourself in dollar bills & business cards and carry a megaphone around town inviting people to grab you
With a little creativity and a keen grasp of your community, the ideas are really endless. While it’s a bit late for a throwdown in 2010, our calendars are marked and we look forward to making June 28, 2011 the Insurance Awareness Day that changed the industry…
According to a 2010 Pew Research Center study, 61% of adult internet users in America (205 million), “…looked for information or completed a transaction on a government website in the twelve months preceding.”
In sharing this study, SearchEngineLand’s Debra Mastaler signaled a call to action for bloggers and web professionals looking to harness the local and national masses flocking to government websites. How you say?
People visit government websites for many different reasons. There’s the DMV, (un)employment, recreational licenses, social services, tourism, business licenses, issue/policy research, military and endless other forms and information sources. Even on the surface, with the right strategy, it’s not a stretch to make insurance marketing parallels.
To be clear, this is not a “get rich quick” strategy, in fact, it is quite the opposite. Leveraging a government website’s search engine traffic takes a balanced effort of optimizing links to the government sites, titles, content and making it readable and interesting enough to inspire people to share.
Look for hot-button issues and take a neutral but informative insurance-related stance. If you sell health insurance, optimize for the public health provider (in Rhode Island, its RIte Care) and be there to help people who are no longer covered. People seeking DMV forms need insurance. Business owners seeking licenses need insurance.
Insurance agencies that are situated in active hunting communities may consider Outdoor Insurance options to rank up with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Be creative and use your own online government experiences as inspiration.
As mentioned, this strategy takes a commitment, but the potential “sticky link bait” created by leveraging government websites can prove to be a source of organic internet leads for the long haul.
Insurance Marketing HQ is managed by the Astonish Results Inbound Marketing team. The blog covers social media, pop culture, community building, technology, industry news and marketing strategy for insurance agents and agencies.