Archive for September, 2009


Amazing the utility of Social Media (SM) and Social Networks (SN’s).  I don’t know about you, but this stuff is really getting cool.  Couple stories from this week…


I needed to make a very important, high-profile connection with a large, international organization based in another country.  I had no contacts.  So I went to Linkedin and started a search on the company name.  Up comes a guy that’s connected to someone I know, call him “George” (sorry for the Seinfeld allusion).   So I reach out to him through the invitation to connect, but not as a connection, just as a communication tool to carry my ‘interested in talking to you‘ content.  Turns out we have more in common than I realize.  Within a week, I’m on a conference call with the senior people for North America from that company – the EXACT people I need to connect with, they’re totally up to speed, no credibility issues – a VERY productive call.  One Week! How ’bout that?!?!?

Comment: Anything like this happen to you yet?  Any how-to questions I might be able to help with?  Comment below…


The night before the aforementioned call, I’m checking facebook on personal business and see a birthday wish to a former client that I became friends with in the course of the business relationship and then connected with on fb.  So I click through to add my wish and guess who gave the wish immediately preceding mine?  Yep, ‘George’.  Just phenomenal.  Sure enough, the next morning I have an invitation to connect with George on facebook – and the relationship builds… It’s just amazing!

Do you have a story like this?  What’s your take?  Comment below…


Also this week, I connected with several new people on twitter (see my connections here).  Some really useful people in the insurance technology space, or around the insurance marketing space in general.  I also connected with a follower/contact for a potential speaking gig.  I followed a couple trending events, I tweeted a Webinar I attended, I blocked a few people from following me (p-rn stuff – yep there’s danger, too), and I drove some traffic and learned some things.  And with TweetDeck, it did not take a huge amount of time.


And then there’s this blog.  It’s sort of the nerve center of a lot of this.  It’s a vehicle to publish.  It’s a way to build relationship, credibility, drive change, so much.  I just can’t say enough about it.  So glad my boss told me to do it back in February of 2005.  Thanks, Jim.  Tremendous.

Your Corporate Web presence: Ya gotta do all this plus have an interactive, Web 2.0, e-commerce site – professionally done, no issues.

If you need help getting a strategy together, generating internal buy-in, overcoming obstacles, documenting, finding insurance technology and insurance marketing partners, reach out to me – mwise at ideastar dot com or twitter or linkedin or facebook.  Happy to help.

Oh yeah, shooting Houghton College stuff this weekend.  Unfortunately, my son’s roommate and soccer teammate, Johnny Kimani, collided with a goalie, suffered a lacerated kidney and a broken vertebrae.  So I made this 8×10 for him last night.  Looking forward to encouraging him with it.  Poor guy – he loves soccer so much, was off to a great start, is an orphan from Kenya, and now is out for his Junior Year.  Well, he scored on the collision any way.  And he’s up and around and encouraging his teammates.  So we’ll see where it goes.  (The print is a photo-series from the play before where he scored and then did a round-off to celebrate!  He used the flip-pic for his fb profile pic, so I know he really likes it – cool.)

Kimani 2009 Injury Gift


An awesome event yesterday in the life of PIMA!  The first ever Webinar!  The intention is to add value for the membership, to create educational and useful content, and to gather between meetings.  I must say, “Mission accomplished.”  Great job to Mona Buckley, Joan O’Sullivan and the members of the Education Action Committee, and certainly the presenters.  Really really great work.

About the Webinar… Paraphrasing the meeting invitation…

PIMA provided PIMA members with a modified Webinar of last year’s PIMA Institute training class delivered at the 2008 MarkeTTech Conference in Baltimore. The Webinar drew from a panel of member subject matter experts who discussed important, fundamental topics to the Association and Affinity insurance distribution market such as:

•  Product development
•  Client relationships and challenges
•  Customer loyalty
•  Marketing profitability
•  Financial and case underwriting

The program appealed to a variety of professionals, including those in account management, client relations, sales, and underwriting. Crafted for staff that may have significant experience but perhaps not in the affinity area OR experienced managers that may not have a thorough understanding of our business, the free Webinar featured phenomenal speakers.

Tony Baldus, Marsh Consumer
Sue Fox Ruggiero, NEA Member Benefits
Jim Roth, American General Life
John Steber, Hartford Life
Shannon Warner, American General Life

Susan Hussar, Moderator

Great job everyone!  The event was recorded, likely to be hosted on the PIMA site in the members-only area in a few weeks.

Picture from the PIMA Summer Conference 2009 in San Diego.


See more here


IMHO, we all need to be brutally honest, transparent, candid, and leave behind ideologies, partisanship, etc.  Are we asking too few questions and just rushing headlong into a solution?  Shouldn’t we be asking what is best for the long-term for all parties and accounts for all the issues, etc.?

Perhaps an idea: Pull the air-brake on current proposals, get together a team of widely accepted industry experts from health care, health insurance, government, legal, and consumers, say 2-3 from each, find a cloistered setting with no media or internet access, let them determine the top 3 best solutions given all the factors, and then clearly communicate the research, process, findings, and rationale. Possible?

We have some really smart people in this country.  Can we show the world that America is capable of solving the most complex human issues, like health care, in a sane, methodical, and rational way?  Thoughts?  Links?  Are we capable of this?  Why or Why not?

Oh yeah, I got a cool mention! Insurance & Technology Blog Honor Roll: Top Insurance Blogs (9/13-19)


Real quick, check out this post I just discovered from Mike Gantt:

Terrific comments, great analogy, Mike (& Chuck).  Thanks for the post and comment.  I’ve been saying similar things for years now.  Boy, I hope insurance companies, IMO’s, FMO’s, large agencies, etc. start agreeing – and doing! – as well. Now that we seem to be emerging from the crash, and that people around the industry, and the markets as a whole, seem to agree that “it’s a new world out there”, this is a PERFECT opportunity to execute on that changed mindset.  And there are LOTS OF VENDORS out there waiting patiently – and with very good deals available – for now anyway…

Love to hear your take.  Agree?  Disagree?

Remember, Lurking is Lame. :-)


@AnthemHealth “Tools such as Twitter and Facebook provide an additional means of communicating…”

ALRIGHT!  Finally a health insurance company adopting social media.  Sign of the times?  Do you know any others?  Please Comment.

I’m excited.  My hope is that, as more insurance home office folks get in the mix of things on the Web, they will see how hopelessly poor their Web technologies are and will thus take steps to change them, hopefully outsourcing that work to specialists with a proven track-record.  As I’ve said before, there are so many landmines to avoid in developing Web2.0 sites and strategies.  But there’s definite progress being made.  I saw a couple really good ones this week:

There are several things I like about this site and the way it’s architected, as well as a few opportunities for improvement.  But before I comment, I’d like to hear your take.



Tweet from today: couple stories on today’s Baucus Bill release. Post has a link to the bill.


Couple pics from last week.  Game winning goal I caught…




See more here.

Archives to 2005