Archive for November, 2009


Nathan Conz rocks.  Check out this Insurance & Technology story on Progressive’s Twitter strategy.  Once you read it, the strategy seems fairly intuitive.  But someone had the idea.  I love reading about innovation and taking the ordinary and making something special with it.  Knowing corporate board rooms. meeting spaces, and so forth, I can almost guarantee there were nay-sayer’s when the idea was first floated.  Maybe not, but I can hear the negatives, “Well, I don’t know about that TWEETER thing…” “But people can say ANYTHING in there…” “We could get in TROUBLE…”  But now look at them…solving problems and creating fans and followers because of their innovation.  And it’s freaking FREE! Click on this twitter search.  See what you see.  I can’t predict when you might click, today, tomorrow, next week, next year.. and what will come up, but I can almost guarantee it will be a mix of Progressive stuff, customer comments, retweets of stories about them, etc..  It’ll be interesting, but I bet it will be positive and you’ll learn something about them and their approach.  Try it.


Another interesting story about insurance and social media.  It’s a scary thing when an insurance company makes a healthcare decision based on something they saw on an insured’s facebook profile.  Is this what really happens in Canada?  Does it have anything to do with socialized medicine?  Is this where we are headed?  Notice that the patient was following the doctor’s advice, and rightly so.  Interested in your comments…


More stuff I’d like to post on, but gotta run.  Meantime, a picture from the #1 in the nation Akron Zips Men’s Soccer.  The signature Student Center is in the background.  Gotta see Ampai.  He is so freaking quick!  See more here:

Ampai makes a turn - NCAA09 Rd2 v SFU

Happy Thanksgiving!


PIMA MarkeTTech 2009 at the Loews Philadelphia hotel this week – definitely worth the trip.  Several neat stories:

1. Best of PIMA award went to Marsh.  More on that in a future podcast (I hope).

2. IdeaStar’s client, Forrest T. Jones, won the top Gold Award for E-Commerce Web sites, surpassing some great sites by AON and others. is absolutely a ground-breaking site.  See the White Paper I helped write here.  Phenomenal site.  Kudo’s to the entire team that worked on.  From the early e-business readiness consulting work that Mark Seghers did, through the diligent, competent, and persevering efforts of the FTJ team (Fred & Debbie and others), including the IdeaStar team (Mary, Brent, Phil, Wayne and others), all the way to winning the award and beyond.  Simply outstanding efforts and results.  Matrix-driven architecture with content management is a great solution for multi-carrier, multi-product, multi-association, multi-state education, quoting, and enrollment.  Only way to go circa 2009.

3. A long-time attendee approached me and said, “Mike, I’m finally ready to do a blog.  And I want my CEO to do one also…”  Cool.

An amazing event on several levels.  I found it remarkable that something I brought up at the Stoweflake resort in the summer of 2007 finally yielded some fruit.  And I’m flattered and gratified that he came to me.  Very very cool.

4. Favorite bit of content from the podium – Randa Zalman from Redstone

The decision is not ‘whether or not’ to participate in social media.  It’s HOW to participate.

Social Media is a marathon not a sprint. – good quip for the book I’m writing.

Great story about customer service and addressing the customer through social media, turning the relationship around, finding out about a service issue with the rep and a management issue with the rep’s boss – all because they were monitoring social media and then addressed the issue that was raised by the customer.  Great story.

Anything more than 2 minutes is boring.

5. Sound bites for a music video to open a panel discussion at the next PIMA Annual Meeting called “Demystifying Social Media”

The audience at the annual meeting will be the executives, so in general the bosses of the folks at MarkeTTech.  With notable exceptions, the exec’s are generally crossing their arms and rejecting social media and social networks.  But their people are using the tools and definitely see opportunity for insurance marketing.  So my hope is that with sound bites and corresponding images, we’ll arrive at a short (<2min!), punchy opener that grabs the execs.

Any comments on this post are welcome.  Do you think Social Networks (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin) and Social Media (Blogs, YouTube, etc.) are relevant to the distribution of insurance in the affinity and association markets?

PIMA MMC Gold Award with FTJ copy

Grace Parrish, Rick Jones, me, Fred Hron

missing: Debbie Hamilton, Mary Zupancic, Phil Hall


This might be a crazy idea, and maybe I have my facts wrong, but given that

  1. ‘Reform’ wouldn’t implement until 2013
  2. People will likely be able to ‘keep’ policies in place at that point
  3. Employers will likely have to pay more one way or another
  4. And after 2013, insurance companies will have to insure pre-existing conditions

Does this add up to a surge in people buying private, individual or family health insurance policies in the next three years?

Am I out in left field on this?  Interested…. Any other thoughts?  Comments on comments?

Geese Flying North over my car on the highway


What do you think of the new look Blog?!?!??  Please comment.  (JDo, you rock, dude.  Great job on the redesign.  And you made the process so painless.  V V cool.  Great to hear about the new tools from WordPress that made your life easier.  Good stuff.)

So I had a call last week with a mid-tier insurance carrier.  We had a dynamite conversation and it looks like IdeaStar might be an excellent fit for a project they have in mind for 2010.  Here’s the point: When I asked him where he heard about us he said, “I saw a reference to you in a Linkedin forum. so I went to your site, poked around a bit, and then filled in your contact form.”  “Did you see my blog?” I asked.  “Absolutely!” he said.  “Found it very interesting.”

So what do you get out of that story?  To me, there are at least 3 really big concepts in play… and several smaller ones.  But I’d be interested in YOUR take.  Remember, Lurking is Lame!


Check out this Megatrends article sent to me from a fellow PIMA member. The points made are fantastic, IMHO.  What do you think?

Oh yeah, while we’re speaking about PIMA, I found out last week that this blog is a Top-10 referring site to the PIMA site for the past 12 months in aggregate.  Not to toot my own horn, as my Dad used to say (RIP), but then again, well, OK, I am!  :-)

Picture from Sunday after raking all the leaves out to the street.  Gotta love Fall in northeast Ohio….

Clairhaven in the Fall

Please comment.  Love to hear your voice.

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