Canadian Underwriter

Facebook a ‘critical part’ of financial service providers’ marketing strategy: CSIO speaker

April 17, 2017   by Greg Meckbach, Associate Editor

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Insurance providers need to consider mobile computing devices and targetting prospective customers at certain stages of their life, a Facebook Canada official recently told members of the Centre for Study of Insurance Operations.

“Think mobile first,” said Robert Geller, a member of Facebook Canada’s financial services team, to an audience of about 100 insurance professionals April 13.

Geller was the keynote speaker at the annual members’ meeting of CSIO.

“The reality is, on a mobile phone, you are not competing against other insurers,” Geller said. “You are competing against the sum of expectations that people have about what a mobile experience is all about.”

He cited examples of what he suggested are “some of the largest and well financed organizations,” including Airbnb, Netflix and Uber, who target users of wireless computing devices.

“Every day they tweak their experience so that people can very easily do what it is that they want to do on that mobile phone,” Geller said.

Toronto-based CSIO’s members include property and casualty insurers, brokers and technology vendors. CSIO oversees development, implementation and maintenance of industry standards in Extensible Markup Language (XML), electronic data interchange (EDI) and forms.

For example, the eDocs standard is designed to let brokers download policy documents directly from a carrier’s computer system to a broker management system (BMS), and to store those documents in their BMS without manual intervention.

This year’s CSIO members’ meeting was held April 13, 2017 at Toronto’s Shangri-La hotel.

During his keynote presentation, Geller suggested that new competitors in industries “typically” focus on mobility, digitization and data analytics.

“People have those devices with them all the time,” Geller said of smart phones. “They are small. They are accessible.”

Facebook, he added, as become “a critical part” of the “go to market strategy” of banks and other financial services providers.

“Financial services in general have evolved tremendously on Facebook,” Geller said.

“We used to live in a world of fans and likes and shares, and we heard very clearly from advertisers that they needed to focus on outcomes that matter,” Geller added. “An outcome that matters is a new policy. An outcome that matters is a lead. An outcome that matters is someone is changing favourability or likelihood to recommend for your particular organization.”

With the data that Facebook gets from users, advertisers can use the service to target people at stages of their life, Geller suggested.

“There are a couple of life stages that have significant relevance as far as when someone is interested in having a conversation about insurance,” Geller said. One stage would be when a person is about to have a child. Another is when a person is buying a car, he said.

“All of this data is explicit on the platform as well as inferred on the platform,” he suggested of Facebook users.

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