Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA) releases social media policy template

It seems that the risks of social media avoidance are getting more and more attention.  The Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA) just released social media policy template.

According to a recent IMSA poll, only 35% of companies have a formal social media policy in place, and 90% acknowledged that their social media controls need to be enhanced. Social media prohibition may appear to solve the problem at first glance, but both regulators and thought leaders alike have sent a clear message: prohibition may not be a good approach. In fact, it could place the company at greater risk.

You may also be interested in the Daily Insurance Reporter’s coverage of this:

“With so much change in electronic communication and the marketing of insurance and financial products, social media solutions and guidance are extremely important at this time,” said Brian Atchinson, IMSA President and CEO. “The emergence of social media challenges proves clearly that compliance is not a static endeavor, but rather one that grows, changes, and requires evolving standards and policies.”

Future plans include:

—  The release of social media monitoring and testing guidance that can
be incorporated into an insurance company’s supervisory programs.
—  A social media training program for both life insurance company staff
and the company’s distribution partners.

My own thoughts

Providing templates to companies will definitely be helpful. It will also provide an additional boost toward putting policies in place. However, I think all companies will ultimately have to craft their own unique social media policies. Unlike other “technology” concepts in the enterprise, this is one area where companies cannot afford to be too uniform and rigid.

Companies that excel at leveraging social media will be those that create unique relationships with customers and also allow employees to create unique relationships with one another. The uses of social media are as varied as the individuals taking place in the conversation.

For example, a marketing or distribution channel will likely want a lot of flexibility in working with clients through media like Facebook. And areas like finance and actuarial would likely benefit from the ability to exchange ideas using social tools within the enterprise as well as participate in industry groups on LinkedIn.

One size doesn’t fit all with social media.

It’s really about adopting a more open, social approach to making connections with specific clients and also information exchange among knowledge workers.

The challenge here is to set policies that allow companies to be agile enough to benefit from social media, but at the same time, mitigate the risks of being more open.

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