Everyone's doing it. Apart from the insurance industry... On either side of politics, from comics to consumer companies, from Donald Trump to JK Rowling. People are using social media to engage with their audiences. Even our stodgy old political parties use social media extensively. Even more critically: they respond!
If I post a comment on a twitter stream about Air New Zealand, or Typepad, or Orlando Airport, they respond - usually within hours, often within minutes. I mention those three, because I have, and they did. Good on them all.
But the insurance industry, so wrapped up in itself, complaining about how regulators and ordinary folks don't understand, and yet - when consumers offer to engage on their terms, insurers are nowhere to be found. Take Susan Edmunds' recent article about non-disclosure. Look at the comments section and you'll see lots of this:
Insurers don't pay claims and don't want to
Insurers don't refund premium payments on avoided policies
Insurers don't ask clearly for the information that they want
Insurers don't take into account forgetfulness
Insurers don't take into account information already provided
Insurers don't take into account information they collect from your GP, they would rather hold onto it as a reason to deny a claim later
All of these are demonstrably false, wrong, or not fair on the insurance industry. Examples could be given, links provided to statistics, financial reports, and even videos of claimants posted (like the excellent Mind-the-gap series by the FSC). Why is the industry choosing to pass up this opportunity to engage with their audience? There are few exceptions: nib's CEO Rob Hennin has directly commented on LinkedIn posts, and in other media, Partners Life staff have directly commented on Goodreturns posts.
Goodreturns has the details of a case against an adviser brought by the FMA. Obviously this case has yet to be heard and we should not prejudge it. Having said that I was told by an insurer of their frustration in getting previous complaints which sounded similar to this one dealt with, and this suggests otherwise.
It's going to be 2017. Goodreturns has the details. The risk it doesn't happen at all has crept up a bit, still more likely to happen than not, but the risk of further delay pushing the draft till after the election is now no longer negligible.
Goodreturns has this interesting piece which highlights consumer expectations of being able to deal with their adviser using digital means - and how that makes a 'robo' component of your business pretty much essential.
Of course there are exceptions. An amazing adviser offering incredible service can buck any trend - write with a quill pen, or make your clients climb to the top of a mountain in Tibet to obtain your advice - but most normal humans will be unable to do that.
Most adviser businesses will opt for an incremental improvement of their business where they progressively shift into the digital world. Faster might be better for some, slower might be better for others. How far you push and how quickly will depend a lot on the nature of the business you do and the clients you work with.
But get on and do it, because there will not be a big chunk of the market left for the folks with quill pens.
You can find my latest post on goodreturns at this link. It's titled "Things we should stop doing." I've posted the version with comments because I have comment moderation running on this site, but you can probably easily post to goodreturns if you like. If you can think of other dumb things we should just stop doing please post them in the comments section under the article.