Canadian Underwriter

Brokers take bold–but careful–steps into social networking

August 20, 2010   by Stefan Dubowski

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Brokers and customer-service representatives certainly do need to know about social networking–websites such as Facebook and Twitter–and how their clients use these online tools. It’s an important step towards ensuring that commercial policyholders are adequately covered. But brokers might also be able to use social media to boost their own businesses. That’s what Jones Brown Inc. is doing.

“We’re wrapping our heads around this whole social media phenomenon, and as a firm, establishing what the opportunities are,” says Marc Puddy, the partner in charge of branding and marketing. “Currently, we want to create communities and get involved in specific initiatives where social media is more prevalent.”

It’s a chance for the company to support its growing business. “We’re going to develop blogs to create discussions around renewable energy, sports, and aviation,” Puddy says.

Blogs could help Jones Brown create the social media links it aims to develop, perhaps in a more controllable way than a Facebook page, for instance. All Facebook pages basically look the same. A blog can be customized to promote a company brand.

“We want to control the look and feel,” Puddy says. “We will use Twitter as well, but we’re not entirely sure how that will look or what the benefits will be at the moment.”

Jones Brown is developing policies to support its bold step forward and ensure that the staff members involved in the project understand very well just what they’re allowed to say–and not say–in these public forums.

“We’re approaching this carefully,” Puddy says. “We’re the ones who see claims come through. We’re a little more cautious than most…. It’s going to be run by a few individuals until we learn more about this space.”

© Copyright 2010 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the June 2010 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine.

This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.