Archive for February, 2013


Four years ago, I presented on Social at The Big “I” Agent’s Council on Technology (ACT) meeting in Tampa [pictures - boy was I young!]. I was impressed with the savviness of the group, the leadership, and the breath of fresh air they gave me as one coming from the Life & Health side of the insurance industry. So I stayed in touch and have helped out with various things, like the Social Media Policy Guidelines and various Webinars and other projects.

Last week I participated in a very active Webinar with over 600 attendees and an active Hashtag on Twitter. The recording is HERE.

Yesterday, our fearless leader, Jeff Yates with The Big “I”, sent an email that stimulated thought. I’d like to share it with my community – and ask a couple questions I’ve been asking a lot these past 4-5 years.

Next week I will once again be attending the ACT Meeting, this year in Dallas, with a talk on The Future. As always, I’ll also be grabbing media and sharing thoughts via Twitter, probably via the same hashtag. Feel free to follow along if you can’t make the event in person. It’s going to be REALLY GOOD.

From Jeff Yates via email:

The latest live webinar put on by ACT’s Social Web Work Group – “Getting a Grip: How to Manage your Independent Agency’s Social Media” – attracted 634 attendees last Friday.  There is obviously very strong agency interest in this subject, which is a very good sign!  Our panelists did a great job and shared a number of excellent insights gleaned from their successful experiences using social media.

As Chuck Blondino, Safeco Insurance, a long time industry participant and observer, remarked to me after attending the session:

“I think it’s interesting how people like your panelists today all started at the same place as beginners, but today they’re speaking a different language, one of accomplishment, achievement, success and confidence, while others are still at the beginner stage and have a hard time seeing past challenge and the unknown.  Agents of the future will need to take stronger steps towards change…

Thus, it remains extremely important for us to continue to publicize the successes agencies are having with social media and to continue to extend the reach of our message.  A good place to start is to communicate the availability of the recording of this session on the ACT website at this link.

From Me (Mike):

The thing that I find remarkable and the reason why I wanted to share this in an area where others could comment:

Chris Paradiso with a Customer, Jan2013.JPG

Chris Paradiso with a Customer

Chuck with Safeco is right on target. Socially-enabled and savvy agencies like those around Ryan Hanley, Chris Paradiso, and Angelyn Treutel, not to mention Claudia McClain, Jason Cass, and others, and the Socially savvy carriers that support them, like Katie Peet at State Auto, and others, are indeed speaking a whole new language. They are implementing all new bizdev, sales, and service strategies and tactics that very successfully leverage new technologies to grow their agencies, often at the expense of their competitors, and increase take-home profitability, PLUS improve customer satisfaction, referrals, recommendations, etc.. And those who listened into the Webinar but who are NOT doing these same things, they are sort of out in the cold, knowing there is something good going on inside but they just can’t get in there.

I’ll go further than that. It’s been my observation that there are still a ton of insurance executives, the actual leaders of agencies and companies, who still today snicker about Twitter, barely use Linkedin, block Facebook and YouTube, are still using dread Blackberries, are not savvy to Crowdsourcing, and essentially prevent people on their teams from advancing their agencies and companies with these tools and strategies.

We’ll be chewing on these tough issues next week at the ACT meeting in Dallas (Reg deadline is Thursday). But in the meantime, 2 questions I’ve been posing across my Social graph for the past 3 years:

1. How do you convince – mentally – a very successful Agency or Company executive, one who has achieved that success in the past, largely non-Social Tech era, and as a result who is now suffering from an awful cocktail of success, wealth, complacency, non-technical skills, and resistance to change… how do you encourage them to loosen the grip, to go from the “command-and-control” business model to the round-org-chart-Social-enterprise with an adaptive culture fully leveraging new technologies and concepts like Big Data?

2. And what’s at stake if very successful Agency or Company executives DON’T go hard after these new technologies, to the point where they themselves can set the strategic business priorities and guideposts that INclude, not EXclude, them? What is the likely trajectory for their enterprises?

If you see this, please take a moment to settle, think and comment. Please. We need these ideas. And they need to be public. Thanks in advance.


Is Social Tech going mainstream in insurance in 2013? It feels like it to me.

10 Observations in 2.5 Weeks

  1. At ICMG, a large, international, health insurance company asked me to lead a Social Tech Boot Camp for their Marketing Executives in Abu Dhabi in March [pictures].
  2. Someone else that attended one of my sessions last year asked me to come speak to their team about Social Tech “as soon as possible”so I’m going down to Miami on a Saturday in March.

    WebWisedom Blog Stats, Feb13

  3. Another asked me to come speak on Social Tech at their Fraternals Annual Meeting back in Miami in April.
  4. Several folks asked about Social Tech Boot Camp individual seats. And several others started dialogs about private and sponsored Social Tech Boot Camps. (One even said she wanted to come on her own dime using a vacation day because, “my boss doesn’t get it but I won’t be left behind because of him.”)
  5. Meanwhile, work continues on a Web site re-launch for a savvy insurance broker using the “measure twice, cut once” Constituent Based Design approach I speak about in the Social Tech Boot Camps.
  6. PIMA followed at the Hotel Del in San Diego – including, shock of all shocks, several attendees actually using the #PIMAAssn hashtag. With a record attendance, the buzz was quite incredible compared to meetings of the past [pictures].
  7. Several of the new members are savvy about the importance of technology in insurance marketing.
  8. A bunch of the veterans are starting to migrate to these new methods for sales and marketing.  Case in point: Sam Fleet, President elect, shared that he got a significantly large piece of business within hours of posting a guest blog on an industry site. Sam tweets himself as well, in case you wondered – @SamFleetSays.
  9. Several want to come to Social Tech Boot Camps. A few also asked about private sessions for their teams.
  10. And virtually every single speaker referenced Social Tech in some way, some actually saying it was critically important.

So maybe 2013 really IS the year that Social Tech goes mainstream in insurance.

Finally, I spent 2 full days with my mentor, Scott Klososky, in OKC – in a snow storm! Scott has a series of new courses that I’m adapting to the insurance marketplace.

Scott Klososky, Future Point of View

Scott Klososky, Future Point of View
on Technology and Leadership

The new stuff:

  1. Technology in Leadership
  2. High-beam Leadership
  3. Digital Plumbing
  4. Business Intelligence / Big Data
  5. Adaptive Culture
  6. White Collar Lean
  7. Digital Marketing with Social Tech

This Technology Infused Leader series will begin in July/August and run every other month for about a year. Whoever takes it, and implements the concepts, will have a dominating 2-year lead on their nearest competitors – a gap that will be VERY hard to close.

Oh! I almost forgot about Jive Software in the middle of all this. Now this is REALLY REALLY cool: Internal Social Networks, already in use in several savvy insurance companies. Jive could be THE solution in insurance. By that I mean it could be the ignition switchAl Caravelli, Ken Hittel, Brian Connelly Mike Wise that will educate insurance peeps on Social within the gated community of their enterprise, AND solve systemic problems in a big way – at the same time. I’m excited about Jive. Cool cats, too.

All this to say… Social Tech is gaining serious momentum. Really, technology-driven business, Social Business is taking off like wildfire – for those that are paying attention and not continuing to snicker it away. As Scott said in typical mid-western understatement, ”Those who learn technology well will prosper. Those who do not will struggle – regardless of industry.” I’ll go further than that – It’s survival of the fittest.

What do YOU think? Will historians of the future identify 2000-2020 as a unique time of tremendous change on the scale of the Industrial Revolution, the computer age, and the Internet? Why or Why not? Thanks. The more you share, the more you learn.

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