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PCI: Insurers' Use Of Social Media Helped Policyholders After Recent Catastrophes

Posted on 24 May 11

Thanks to the dramatic growth of social media – and its embrace by insurers – individuals obtained real-time information following recent devastating tornadoes and the ensuing flooding.  

Insurers are using these platforms to connect with policyholders, the media, and local, state and federal leaders. The latest tornadoes offer a case study of how communications between insurers and the public have dramatically changed - and how this transformation is helping insurers provide better customer service to those in need.

Alfa Insurance used Facebook and Twitter to provide updates on how Alfa is responding to the recent devastating tornadoes in Alabama. 

Alfa posted on Facebook, "The Alfa Mobile Response Unit continues to service its policyholders in the hardest hit areas of north Alabama. The MRU has moved from it location in Culman to our office in Athens, AL located at 15724 E. Limestone Rd. near the Limestone and Madison county line." 

The insurer also posted a video on its YouTube channel about storm claims and posted a recent television interview about the insurance industry’s response to the tornadoes which featured an Alfa employee working with policyholders in Tuscaloosa - an area significantly impacted by the April tornado outbreak. 

On April 18 Amica Insurance tweeted, "Tornadoes can strike anywhere, anytime. Amica offers tips to help make sure your family is prepared."

Shelter Insurance also used Facebook. A post read, "Shelter's Storm teams continue to help customers affected by the storms sweeping across the country. After the April 27 storms, we are sending Storm Response vehicles and teams to 2175 Spring Place Rd., Cleveland, TN, and Smithville, MS. If you are a Shelter customer affected by these storms have damage to your property or cars, call 1-800-SHELTER (1-800-743-5837) as soon as possible or report your claim here." 

On April 27 Westfield Insurance issued a timely blog post, "Will You Be Caught Unprepared in a Tornado?" and recently took to their Twitter account to share advice for flooded homeowners and issue important telephone numbers.   

PCI used Twitter and Facebook to push insurance claims hotline numbers and tips to citizens, the media and policymakers during the recent tornadoes and floods through tweets such as “PCI offers tornado recovery tips for those affected by Wednesday's outbreak across the southeastern U.S.:”. 

Additionally, insurers used social media outlets to share pictures and details of community-outreach events. A recent Facebook post by COUNTRY Financial shows employees packing boxes of food for tornado victims.  

In the social media space there are also concrete examples of insurers, public leaders, the business community, and media outlets working closely together to share information with citizens who need it most.  

Alfa Insurance recently posted to its Facebook page astatement from the State Attorney General warning against fraud and price-gouging.   

In addition to posting about response efforts, the Federal Emergency Management Agency helped spread the word on Facebook about Tide Loads of Hope, a program that helps provide clean clothes and comfort to families affected by disaster. 

PCI regularly posts updates to the Weather Channel Facebook page, which now has more than 380,000 fans and has become a go-to place for information when bad weather strikes.  

Insurers recognize that social media creates new opportunities to connect with, and help, policyholders in need in real time. From a reputation management perspective, insurers also realize that it is critical that they are part of social media conversations when events like the recent tornadoes and floods strike. 

As hurricane season quickly approaches, policyholders, the media, and public officials should turn to Facebook and Twitter to learn how to get prepared.  Insurers will be there ready to help.