Archive for October, 2009


AM Best E-Fusion Recipient was announced this week. I’ve always enjoyed E-Fusion. Lee and Paul do a phenomenal job facilitating the competitions – really great. And every year, they use better and better technology themselves for the conference. This year was no exception. I found it a bit disconcerting that one of the Finalists, AON, pulled their entry out of the display case. I could be wrong, but I suspect that scenario either had to do with compliance or competitive advantage. I’ve heard that similar refrain from a number of clients I wanted to submit their site for. As one said, “OK, Mike, how far to I need to undress to win the award?!?!” LOL   …  I DO wish thought that E-Fusion would go back to an in-person conference. I’m sure Paul and Lee have good rationale, and in the era of declining conference attendance, perhaps it’s a non-starter. But, man, E-Fusion was such a great place to mingle with insurance technologists – just great.

Speaking of conference cancellations, next week’s World Healthcare Congress conference in Boston was officially canceled today. Yikes. Not good. Too bad. I had a great presentation t’d up on non-traditional marketing and analytics featuring Craig Ritter and his incredibly powerful and popular blog on senior health insurance.

On the flip side, PIMA MarkeTTech is coming up on November 15th in Philly. This will be my 5th year in a row attending, the last three being the conference tri-chair. Looking forward to being a spectator, networking, and learning this time – oh, yeah, and taking pictures. Should be great. Looking forward to it.

New blog skin coming soon. Really looking forward to it. Actually, the new blog will be a little more than skin deep. WordPress has come up with some really cool new technologies recently that my developers will be integrating. Should be a new look sometime in November. Also coming out with a new company site as well.

All this bodes well for a new product for Agencies and their Agents that is in development. As I mentioned in my Linkedin status update today, this seems to have the potential to solve a lot of the challenges an agency has with respect to agents clamoring for their own Web sites while still keeping the needed consistency in market communications.

So if you have an agency and a raft of agents, we would be interested in your comments.

  1. What do you think are the essential elements of an agency Web2.0 site?
  2. Do you think giving agents their own site would be an exit barrier or add incentive to write more business through the agency?
  3. Would it then be realistic to think that the agency and agent could combine sales and marketing efforts to drive traffic through the agent’s site in an effort to drive leads, quotes, and at some point, consumer-driven sales?

Interested in your comments below the pictures….

Houghton College Soccer – Daniel “Smitty” Smith, Kenya

“A Bike”  See more


#1 NCAA D1 University of Akron Soccer Pictures.  See more

Header, Student Center as backdrop (gallery’s getting pounded!)


Family Holiday picture up at Houghton College



Does anyone know the history of this company?

Kentucky Central Life Insurance Ad 1967

At a small group bible study a few Sunday’s ago, a friend from church was sharing what he called “fence posts”.  Ever done that?  It’s where you talk about growing up, what you’re about today, and some things in between – an interesting ice-breaker.  In his muted southern drawl, Sam was describing growing up in Kentucky.  A big KY basketball fan (and alum), he passed around a vintage game program.  As I flipped through, I saw this ad for Kentucky Central Life Insurance.  I asked Sam if he would scan it and send it to me for the blog.

Does anyone know the history of this company?  Any general comments inspired by this?  Would enjoy hearing from you…


Social Networks & Social Media and insurance companies – MetLife, Cigna, Aetna, Humana

In doing some specific research this week, I took the time to review the Web presence of these four companies.  Definitely not trying to bash here, just learn and see what’s going on with some of the larger health insurance companies vis-a-vis the Web.  Along the way, I thought, hmmm, I wonder if anyone else would be interested in this research.  Might save them some time.  It’s all public information – I’ve just collected it in one place.  So here is some summary data:


  • No social media, no social network links on Web site
  • No facebook
  • No twitter, but lots of tweets on health insurance
  • No YouTube


  • No social media, no social network links on Web site
  • Minor YouTube presence
  • No Twitter
  • facebook unofficial pages only


  • Nice start on video stream in dental section
  • No social media, no social network links on Web site
  • Maturing facebook Fan page
  • – just getting started, getting hammered on twitter for health insurance
  • no YouTube, but a lot of Cigna-bashing videos


  • No social media, no social network links on Web site
  • No facebook presence
  • No YouTube
  • No twitter, but lots of tweets

IMHO, Aetna has the best look and feel and segmentation strategy on their Web site.  Note to anyone using Mozilla (versus Internet Explorer) – the Health Care Professionals page has a CSS issue with the gold nav-box on the left.  (Sorry, it’s a compulsion.)

Btw, while we’re talking about Facebook, I ran across this brilliantly innovative Fan page developed by Sears.  Sears! of all people!


WHCC Event in Boston

I know it’s short notice, but I’m speaking on Social Media and Analytics at the upcoming World Health Care Congress meeting in Boston on 11/4 & 5.  If you can make it, I’ll be speaking with Craig Ritter about how, over the last 5 years, his Blog has become the single-most important tool in his arsenal for accomplishing his business objectives of recruiting agents and increasing the volume of business running through his agency.  It’s a great story that I hope will resonate with the audience.


State Farm Guy I ran across in my neighborhood – Just a picture I took for now….the interesting story on the next post.

Guy Hufstetler


Some recent pictures:

My son’s soccer team – I was up at Houghton College preparing to shoot a game the following day.  My son Zach asked me if I wanted to attend the team gathering on the field the night before – a team tradition.  Standing with the team in the circle of players, with the just the yellow security lights softly lighting the field, and a brilliant canopy of stars above, the captain acknowledged me as a visitor.  He commented on how encouraging it has been to have me shoot some of their games.  And then, seeing my camera, he asked if there might be a picture I might like to take.  I described the picture below – and it worked!  Imagine at the same time they’re all yelling!  Too fun.


Farm on the drive to Houghton College – always had a fancy for it


My son’s soccer teammate/roommate who I made the gift for a few weeks ago

Johnny Kimani – scheduled to return to action on Saturday!



Lots of stuff going on…

A.M. Best E-Fusion – Finalists announced this week.  Looks like an interesting slate.  With the economy, unfortunately (IMHO) the conference is virtual again this year, so no chance to meet, dialog, and network with people.  I don’t know what the economics and ROI are of the in-person conference, but my hope is that they can get back to an in-person event.  As an example, I’m going to attend the Webinars, and definitely learn from them, so that’s great.  But I’m not likely to feel comfortable sending an invitation to connect on Linkedin to the presenters or other attendees, right?  Kind of hard to build relationship as a faceless number on a view-only Webinar.  Again, I don’t know the economics, but I do know that these are the people I would like to meet, discuss ideas, talk informally off-line, connect with, and build relationship.  Tremendous cumulative value in that…

Aartrijk Brand Camp – I used Twitter to follow the goings-on at the Hotel Sax in Chicago this week.  Btw, there’s a good example of the utility of Twitter, for those that are wondering – I wasn’t there and yet I got value – real-time, right now.  I built relationships – well, a little.  I also found a few people to follow on Twitter.  In fact one of them said a very cool thing:

@nibbyp: Facebook is for people u used 2 know. Twitter is 4 people u want 2 know. #abc09.

And another:

@mattcollister from Progressive tweeted this useful morsel: Here’s something we created at Progressive to help our agents get started with social media. #abc09…

I’m sure the folks at Aartrijk will publish a cool report on the conference, complete with pictures, video, audio, sort of like a #ABC09 Highlight Video.  Hope so.  Click on this link to view some of the tweets for the conference (you don’t need to be ‘on twitter’).

Facebook Webinar – Unlocking Facebook’s Hidden Potential – That sounds good.  @SeanMalarkey & @LewisHowes.  Should be a few good nuggets in there.  Recommended to my insurance marketing buddies.  If you attend, fire in some questions.  Let’s bury these guys with insurance-related questions, totally takeover the thing!  Just kidding, but seriously, not so much Lurking!

Boston – The Leadership Summit on Marketing Analytics for Health PlansLindsay Resnick recommended me to the conference organizer.  Sounds like interesting content and a good chance to network with people I don’t know.  I’m looking for a co-presenter for the session right before the closing keynote entitled: “EMERGING TREND: Measuring the Impact of Non-Traditional and Social Marketing.”  Know anyone in the health insurance biz that is doing a lot with Social Media and Marketing? And it’s a low-budget trip for me.  So I’m in.  I’ll be tweeting, blogging, and of course podcasting from the conference.  If you will be there, please give me a shout.

Lastly, NCAA’s #1 ranked University of Akron Men’s Soccer team asked me to try-out to be one of their photographers this week!  How cool.  So I shot the SOLD-OUT game on Wednesday against #15 Ohio State.  Wasn’t my best outing, had a few technical challenges, the lighting is horrible, but nontheless walked away with some decent shots.  We’ll see if they yank my media pass for the rest of the home games… :-)





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