“I’m Mike Wise, President WebWisedom. I’m helping insurance companies and agencies with e-commerce and Social Technologies. I’m also working on a viral video of the conference. I’m wearing a safari hat because I’m looking for insurance creatures in their native, natural habitats! (chuckle) So I’ll be at the bar and on the golf course!!! (laughter)”

Thus went my 30-second introduction at the kick-off of ICMG 2011 at Doral two weeks ago. The people I subsequently met appreciated the attempt at humor. To my surprise, they were also more than happy to share with me sound bites that included their take-away from the meeting as well as what their favorite wild animal is – and what kind of noise it makes!!! The video is in review by the Board at this point. I think it’s hilarious. Look for something shortly, possibly even today.

My take-away? ICMG gets better every year. This year set a record for registrations and tied a record for on-site attendees. “Snow-pocalypse” in the Midwest cost about 30 people, but there were about 40 walk-ups as well. On a bizdev level for WebWisedom, I’m encouraged that the group is moving towards more and better e-commerce efforts. Social Technologies, Social Media Marketing, and Social Networking is starting to become more commonplace in their language. So good things.

What seemed very worrisome to the group (based on informal conversations) is the whole PPACA debacle and its adverse impact on the brokerage community, not to mention the carriers. Obamacare seems to be causing serious issues in the health insurance industry – loss of commissions, increased risk, lower profitability, fewer people covered. It seems to be getting clearer all the time that the way the legislation is crafted, the actual impacts are turning out to be the exact opposite of the intended impacts: fewer people will be covered, higher costs on premiums and care, and decreased quality of care. At the same time, other legislation, new federal government programs, and actions by the Treasury seem to wrecking an already weakened US economy. So I left the conference pleased with ICMG but once again upset with the administration and the direction of the economy in general and “health care reform” (which is really health insurance reform now).

Next on the horizon? Follow-up conversations with ICMG’ers about Socially Facilitated Selling and teaching the large blocks of agents how to leverage Social Tech in their sales efforts. Whether independent agents, career, or captives, the agents in the field are dealing with an increasingly savvy constituent with meaningful, powerful, and growing Social Networks.

In fact, 3 out of 4 American use Social Networks. And 85% of Social Network users expect to interact with their brands and service providers via Social Networks and Social Media.

So the obvious question for the ICMG folks is, “What is your strategy for dealing with this situation? And is it working for you? Is it driving sales?” If not, that’s where I come in.

I’m hoping to spread the word among the group that I’ve spent quite a bit of time learning about Socially Facilitated Selling and crafting effective ways to communicate the concepts of Socially Facilitated Selling to insurance executives, managers, and train feet-on-the-street sales guys.

Mobile seems to be a critically important aspect of Social Tech, not only for content distribution, but also for access to information, Social updates and Sharing, signing up for stuff, of course dreaded email, but also app’s like calendars, navigation, search local businesses, photo’s and video, etc. My one recommendation is for sales people to seriously UPGRADE their mobile technologies. In order to play in the Social space, like anything else, you have to have the tools and equipment, n’est ce pas?

What comments do you have? Were you at ICMG? Whajathink? What about insurance agents and Social? I heard a few concerns at ICMG. What are yours? Share in the Comments below and see if we can leverage the crowd of readers to learn and grow relative to insurance agents and sales within the Social era. Thanks in advance for the Comments. I’ll pipe in as well. And thanks again to all who participated in a great ICMG 2011. Solid effort.