Archive for July, 2010

Risk + 2.0: The week in links 7/23/2010

Semantic clustering can help us better understand the extensive idea flow created by the web, help strategists understand how people are responding to changes, and take action based on it. People are constantly volunteering options, attitudes and ideas. Every day, in the English language, around a half million attitudes and opinions are offered up, voluntarily, in blogs and comment forums. Add in other social media (Twitter reports an average of 50 million posts a day) and that’s a huge reservoir for analyzing changing attitudes.


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Rounding up my own social media articles in 2010

In the past few months, I’ve been published in several magazines and newsletters that are circulated in the actuarial profession. Check them out if you want to read more of my thoughts on the world of social media, collaborative technologies, social media, and risk professionals.

If you are interested in publishing any of my articles, blog posts, or other material, feel free to contact me.

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Risk + 2.0: The week in links July 16, 2010

1. How Social Media Has Prepared Us for Collaborative Business

I’ve been an advocate for bringing social medial concepts into the enterprise for a while. This Mashable article discusses the rationale behind creating a more social infrastructure within companies.

Why shouldn’t we expect real-time collaboration at work? Business happens in real-time. Market shifts happen in real-time. Data changes in real-time. Why shouldn’t collaboration and learning in business happen in real-time, too? That question is the inspiration for new social tools entering the workplace that have the same look and feel as Facebook or Twitter. These social tools offer a new way to collaborate with people at work that is private, secure and relevant to business.

2. 5 Ways Social Media Helps Promote Good Health

If you work in the healthcare, health insurance, or related industry – or if you have any interest in at all in health issues – this Mashable article is a must-read. It provides a great deal of information and real-world examples of how social media and Web 2.0 tools are being used at every level of society to share information on health issues. There seems to be a role for everyone when it comes to health-related social networking.

3. Social Media Employee Policy Examples from Over 100 Companies and Organizations

Want to craft a social media policy for your company? Here are a hundred examples to look at.

4. Gen Y takes Prudential to school on life insurance

A popular belief is that Gen Y and social networking always go hand in hand. That’s not always the case according to this press release by Prudential. It also notes that Gen Y feels “untargeted” by life insurance companies as a group. There’s no doubt that social media tools will be utilized to communicate with Gen Y, but it won’t be the only avenue.

5. Telematics: Reinventing Auto Insurance

I mentioned telematics in an earlier post. This Insurance & Technology article provides a lot more detail.

Telematics—the integration of global positioning system technology and mobile communications—could dramatically alter the auto insurance industry. From personalized premiums based on individual driving data to automated emergency services and entertainment-based add-ons, telematics has the potential to upend the stable model that has dominated the industry for more than 50 years.

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Risk + 2.0 – The week in links July 9, 2010

1. How the Gulf Coast Benefit is Using Social Media to Rally Support

Sloane Berrent, co-producer of the Gulf Coast Benefit said, “I have always believed that our online interactions are meant to facilitate our offline experiences and the Gulf Coast Benefit is a perfect example of that. You can find an event or make a donation online and we are using social media tools to bring people together … It’s a way of extending the conversation that wasn’t available even three years ago and it’s a game changer.”

This is just another example of how social media can be used to connect people times of crisis. Insurers are usually key players in crises, and we’re already seeing examples of insurers using social media to facilitate claims processes during times of widespread distress, like the recent Nashville flooding.

2. Friends in Need

More information and examples of how insurers are using social media to respond to catastrophic events.

“A trend we’re seeing is that insurers are taking a proactive approach to disaster response,” says Passmore. “Companies can see where their policyholders who may have been affected by natural disasters are located and contact them immediately after the disaster occurs to determine the need for assistance.”

3. Cyber liability insurance: Don’t run a business without it

This article makes a good case for the need for cyber liability insurance. The author details a number of risk scenarios where companies would not be covered by traditional insurance.

4. 6 Ways to Manage International Relationships Online

Many insurers are multinational companies. But anyone who uses the web for communication should have a basic awareness of how the things they say may be perceived by people in other cultures. This Mashable article provides some very practical advice and tools.

5. Insurers tap new tools to reach the high-tech generation

A brief discussion on the use of social media by insurance agents in British Columbia.

6. 10,000 Actuarial Students!

The actuarial profession has traditionally been a fairly small population, but our numbers may soon grow faster. This article notes that 10,000 people in India are currently taking actuarial exams. We should expect an increase in the number and quality of professionals originating from nations like India in the next decade.

Web 2.0 tools will bring them online faster than ever before. It would be a mistake to assume that an actuary (or any other professional) groomed in India will only work in India. Whether you’re an aspiring or established actuary, there is reason not to be complacent. Focus on how you can differentiate yourself down the road, and focus on how you can use the web to extend the scope of your services beyond the traditional sphere.

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Risk + 2.0: The week in links 7/2/2010

1. Oracle socializes business process management

More sign that large software vendors are investing in social business technologies:

Like most [business process management (BPM)] vendors, Oracle has been upgrading its BPM wares to make them as human-oriented and dynamic as possible, in order to accommodate as wide a range of processes as possible.

“In the real world, BPM involves a lot of different people and roles, and managing change across the enterprise is difficult,” Rizvi said. “You really need an integrated set of tools, because you don’t want to spend all your time, effort and money working on the underlying IT system.”

2. Working as a team

Andrew Chan discusses how some of Microsoft’s newer web-based tools can be used for collaboration.

3. Privacy Concerns Fail to Slow Social Activity

One of the most talked about social media topics of 2010 has been Facebook’s privacy issues. While getting a lot of heat from users, bloggers, and the general media, Facebook has not seen any meaningful drop in usage. This may suggest that social media users as a group are not nearly as concerned about their privacy as we think. This eMarketer article provides some really interesting statistics on user perception of social media privacy risks and also the kind of information being volunteered by individuals online.

I’m still of the mind that a great deal of education is needed to make people aware of the consequences of what they volunteer. I think we’ve come into a totally new era, and there hasn’t been enough opportunity to make “life lesson” type mistakes. I also think that this type of education belongs in the classroom and should start from an early age.

4. Is Social Media a New Addiction?

This post is a little dated in internet time (about 3 months old), but it provides some striking statistics about the uptake of social media based on a Retrevo survey. If anything, these usage numbers are probably higher today.

  • 48% of those surveyed check/update Facebook or Twitter after going to bed
  • 56% check Facebook at least once a day
  • 12% check Facebook every 2 hours
  • 32% don’t mind being interrupted by an electronic message while eating
  • 23% of iPhone owners primarily get their morning news from Twitter and Facebook

5. Insurers Launch Games to Engage Consumers on iPhone

Humana and MassMutual recently launched iPhone games as a way to build brand recognition. I think this is a very interesting strategy for several reasons.

For one thing, the iPhone has proven to be a very popular gaming platform. And more recently, the incredible popularity of social media gaming like Farmville (played within Facebook) demonstrates that there are a lot of new opportunities for engaging customers through the use of games. These games can be delivered to consumers almost anywhere. It’s no longer about owning a system that sits at home.

Moreover, insurers now have the opportunity to provide consumer education through these games:

MassMutual’s Save! The Game also extends a current company initiative to the iPhone. Its Right on the Money program includes online activities that teach kids about saving and budgeting. In the game, kids are led through fantasy world where they collect virtual money while trying to avoid impulse items like candy, soda and toys.

These are very important lessons, and no one else seems to be teaching them yet.


To wrap up the week, I would like to extend a warm thanks for all the comments I received on my Monday post. It stayed on the Freshly Pressed list at for 24 hours. The incredible response is a clear indication to me that people still value basic principles in communication – even though the mediums through which we converse have changed dramatically in the last decade. Without a doubt, Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People is just as useful today as it was in the 1930s.

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