Posts Tagged blogs

Actuaries and Web 2.0 in 2010

Risk 2.0 has been a little quiet lately. I’ve been immersed in several projects. One of them just culminated in a trip to New York City to attend the 2010 Society of Actuaries Annual Meeting.

I was part of a panel that presented a session called “The Actuarial Technology Perfect Storm.” In the session, we discussed a model for creating a better working relationship between actuaries and IT professionals. Our goal was to point out that while a disintegrated actuarial-IT structure may work okay today, it’s not sustainable given the rapidly changing technological demands on actuarial work.

Our findings were based on a survey of actuaries that we’ve conducted the past three years. In 2009, we introduced a question on Web 2.0. The question asked respondents to indicate their awareness and implementation of seven Web 2.0 technologies:

  • Crowdsourcing
  • Social Networks
  • Dynamic Documentation
  • Wikis
  • Instant Messaging
  • Collaborative Product/ Service Design
  • Blogs

Awareness and implementation increased across the board in 2010. However, it’s clear that actuaries are still very much in a discovery phase with Web 2.0.

Instant messaging, blogs, and social networks were the most recognized Web 2.0 technologies in the survey. Roughly 90% of respondents had heard of each of them. They were also among the most highly implemented to date. 30% had implemented instant messaging, 11% blogs, and 8% social networks.

In my mind, the Web 2.0 tool that would provide the biggest immediate benefit to actuaries is the wiki, which is an ideal way to openly store documentation and procedures for easy access. Wikis were recognized by 73% of actuaries in 2010 (a healthy increase of 16% over 2009). But only 10% had implemented a wiki in their work.

If you’ve implemented any of these technologies or want to know more about them, let me know.

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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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LexisNexus is taking nominations for its Top 50 Blogs of 2009

If you read insurance law blogs, I would encourage you to head over to LexisNexis and cast your vote for any blogs that you would like to see included in their Top 50 Insurance Blogs for 2009. Even if you aren’t a member of the LexisNexus community, you can register free and make your comment. Full instructions are provided at the site. . .

Go there >>

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A sign that insurance companies may be opening up to bloggers

EarthTimes reported earlier this month that AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company recently launched a new site called The Source.  According to EarthTimes,

The Source is designed to help the expanding population of bloggers, as well as traditional media, keep abreast of financial security trends and the growing pressure on individuals to generate retirement income beyond Social Security and employer-sponsored plans. Content already posted on the site includes:

  • Highlights of a recent AXA Equitable retirement thought leadership forum that featured former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker.
  • A look at the trends in inflation, interest rates and taxes that are changing the landscape of retirement in America.
  • A video that reports on the unique financial needs of women.

It’s possible that this could be the beginning of a shift in the industry toward greater acceptance of newer forms of media like blogging. Given current angst among US consumers and the negative perception many have of the insurance industry as a whole, this could prove very beneficial.

The popularity of blogs has surged for much of the past decade, and consumers are turning to blogs more and more for information.   For better or worse, people have a tendency to trust information and advice from blogs, which are often perceived as more genuine and “human” than conventional forms of print media.

Given the mass acceptance of blogs by the public, it makes sense that bloggers can play a key role in lubricating the flow of information between consumers and insurance companies seeking to develop closer relationships with their clients.

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Blogging tips in the context of risk managment

Staying with the concept of corporate blogging, I thought I would pass along  some advice recently provided by Craig Rowe at The Clear Risk Blog. Being a risk professional myself, I appreciate and agree with the view that Chris takes:

The two biggest risks you take on in blogging are also the two biggest opportunities: transparency and conversation. When all goes well, a corporate blog gives an audience a direct, trusted and authentic link to the organization. When things aren’t going so well, a corporate blog can become a place where angry customers voice their opinions directly to you for everyone to see. This isn’t always a bad thing because it can give you the opportunity to recover and earn back that person’s trust – you’re just moving from a blog risk management issue to a reputation risk management issue.

Craig goes on to list specific ways to capitalize on the opportunities blogging affords while managing the associated risks. I encourage you to check out Craig’s full post:

Blog Opportunities and Risk Management

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International Corporate Blog Reader Study

I recently came across an International Corporate Blog Reader Study that was posted in a LinkedIn group. While it is not specific to insurance, it does have application to insurance and other financial companies, which are of course corporations. The survey asks a fairly thorough set of questions on corporate blog usage. The results are also said to be available to anyone that provides their email address at the end.

Are there corporate blogs that you follow out of professional or personal interest? Do you feel that blogs are a sensible way for corporations to communicate with customers, investors, and other interested parties, or should other methods be used?

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Health insurers are increasingly embracing social media to connect with customers

Webwire.com reports that Health Insurance Finders has just launched a blog designed to give consumers more social options for learning about health insurance choices. The following was taken from Webwire.com’s report:

The blog has many web 2.0 features, giving visitors a wider variety of interactive tools and sharing capabilities. Users are given the opportunity to bookmark and share the information directly from the blog using the Add This Toolbar. The blog layout includes the opportunity to stay up-to-date with new posts via RSS subscription.

“Our blog will offer real value to our community of users,” said Grace Della, VP of Online Marketing. “We aim to encourage participation and discussion between consumers and health insurance professionals by allowing comments in each and every post”

The launch of the blog is a stepping-stone in preparation for the release of their educational videos. Health insurance related videos will be a series of many short video clips that will help consumers better understand health insurance industry topics.

We are in an era where consumers are extremely hungry for information and answers on complicated healthcare issues. Anything that brings transparency to the system will likely be welcomed by consumers.

Personally, I really like the idea of using a blog to let consumers interact directly with professionals. This sort of community is virtually impossible without the Web, and it’s a great example of how a blog can be used to connect two groups of individuals who would otherwise never meet and certainly not interact.

Link: Health Insurance Blog

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