Jeremiah Owyang has a post up today about his search for social media programs in the insurance industry. In short, he didn’t find many. It’s an industry that’s well behind the curve of adoption–which isn’t all that surprising for a profession based on risk aversion.
A few months ago, I had a long conversation with the VP of Worldwide Web Marketing for one of the largest insurance/financial businesses in the world. It was enlightening. This gentleman was quite web savvy and very much a proponent of social media. But he was fighting an uphill battle against management for anything innovative. In the end, he boiled their problem with social media down to a legal roadblock.
We can’t get anything like this past legal. Their position is, ‘if we know what people are saying, we’re liable. It’s better not to know.’
That’s right, plausible deniability. I was a little incredulous. I mean, aside from the fact that legal is preventing the HUGE potential for social media to drive marketing/sales objectives in order to create some perceived firewall against liability for knowing what customers might be complaining about, plausable deniability is a tough argument to make in the age of Google. I mean, you can find out at least 70% of what’s being said about you by doing a Google search. Could you really stand up in court and say you didn’t know? Sorry, your honor, my head was buried in the sand.