The insurance industry in the digital world: Recap from the ABI Biennial Conference

Earlier this week, Hearsay Social joined industry leaders, leading politicians, journalists and regulators at the Association of British Insurers (ABI) Biennial Conference in London. The event’s theme, “Meeting the Challenges of a Changing World,” encouraged  a healthy debate about the major issues affecting the insurance industry (with a touch of British humor along the way).

Tidjane Thiam, Chairman of ABI and Chief Executive of Prudential Plc., opened the conference with a question: “How do we best respond as an industry to our customer’s rising expectations?”

Tidjane Thiam, Chairman, ABI

Later in his presentation, Tidjane spoke to global cultural and social changes affecting the insurance industry: “The digital revolution is another material change in people’s way of life […]  Our customers expect constant unlimited access to information.”

These new customer demands led the ABI to publish a report titled The Significant Seven outlining challenges facing the insurance industry:

  • The digital revolution and social media
  • Global convergence, with an increasingly interconnected and balanced global economy
  • The development and recovery of Western economies after the financial crisis
  • An aging society
  • Political challenges
  • Interventionist regulation
  • The continued impact of climate change

Representing Hearsay Social at the event, I spoke with many attendees about that topmost challenge, discussing how social media provides a channel to engage and educate customers and prospects. As insurance customers the world over increasingly adopt social media, social selling will likewise become essential.

As the day went on, the conference hosted lively panels with speakers like Nick Robinson (Political Editor, BBC News) and Steve Hawkes (Consumer Affairs Editor, The Daily Telegraph) who humorously reminded the crowd that insurance is not the most popular of industries. Nick told the crowd to remember, in difficult times, advice from Sir John Major who served as Prime Minister from 1990-1997: “When things are really bad, when your backs are against the wall, it’s time to turn around and fight.”

For videos and details from the event, visit the ABI website and follow the conversation at #ABIconf2013.

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