London market insurers ranked on best all-round use of social media

Catlin is ranked number one when it comes to best use of social media, according to a study of London market insurers.

Hisox followed in second plance and Capita in third, marketing consultancy Effective Image found. (See Top 10 table at bottom of article)

But the survey of the 50 top insurers found that, despite adopting social media, a significant number were still not using it enough to engage with their customers.

Effective Image chief executive Simon Hayes said Catlin came top for using high quality social media platforms effectively, with regular updates and using interesting content, such as news and views, financial reports and video.

Slow to change

Other insurers in the top 10 include Chubb, Beazley, Munich Re, XL Group, QBE, Argo and Barbican.

Hayes says that the insurance market has always been slow to adopt new market techniques.


If you are not engaged in social media there can be a lot of negative commentary about your business and if you are not monitoring the mediums it can damage your business and brand’

Simon Hayes, Effective Image








Over the past nine months, however, there has been a dramatic jump in the market’s use of social media, with many businesses realising how powerful and cost-effective using social media can be.

He says: “As a marketing agency supporting the insurance sector, we felt that it was vital for us to benchmark the take up of social media.

“People are at a turning point and are realising this is something they have to engage in. Companies that had previously been sceptical about the benefits of social media are all pretty much engaged in it in one way or another.

“But a lot of companies that have gone to the trouble of setting up a LinkedIn page may have a lot of followers but no content. If people are following your company you need to have some content up there. You need to engage with them.”

Risks of not engaging

If companies do not engage, Hayes says they risk losing customers and will miss the opportunity to market their business. Additionally, they could end up being seen as out of touch if they fail to get their message across to their audience.

He added: “With a company’s digital footprint, if you are not engaged in social media there can be a lot of negative commentary about your business and if you are not monitoring the mediums it can damage your business and brand.

“You can’t just ignore it and say we are not going to get involved because even if you are not doing it, others will be.”

For the research Effective Image monitored the social media presence of insurance companies in March, August and December last year.

The communications agency looked at the type of content the companies were posting and rated how well they had branded their Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or LinkedIn page.

The study also found that insurers were using social media in different ways: from marketing to providing expert views on a subject area.

Insurers in the top spot

Catlin Group head of communications James Burcke said the company decided to improve its online presence just over a year ago.

It found that a growing number of clients and brokers were increasingly using social media to look for and receive information.

The whole idea is to sell insurance and make new relationships with brokers and you have to do it in an honest way

James Burcke, Catlin Group






But he added the strategy has been slow and deliberate to prevent an overload of “unnecessary” information that could lead to consumer apathy.

The insurer uses social media to provide information on research and business developments.

More than marketing

He said: “The secret to our success is that we use it strategically in that we don’t deluge people with information. We have done it carefully and deliberately because social media has rewards but there are also some risks.

“You need to be honest, and while it is a form of marketing it is also a way to share information. The whole idea is to sell insurance and make new relationships with brokers and you have to do it in an honest way.

“If you try to put it in fluff and stuff and try to be sensational people might be amused by it but they probably aren’t going to want to buy insurance.”

A broader approach

Hiscox Insurance was ranked number two on the list. Group communications director Kevin Mcdougall said the company made a conscious decision last year to drive content for its social channels to engage with its audience.

Hiscox London Markets chief operating officer Sasa Brcerevic said that the insurer plans to broaden the type of information it rolls out on social media.

He said: “We operate in a market that is competitive in terms of people competing for the attention of other people. It is a very relationship-driven market. Traditionally it was done face-to-face but that is not as easy as it used to be.

“We are using social media and monitoring tools to pick up conversations about us, our competitors and the London market.”

Purchasing trends

In its full-year results released yesterday, the insurer said it was going to invest heavily in its direct-to-consumer businesses in the UK, Europe and USA. It aims to take advantage of the growing trend towards purchasing insurance direct, online and over the phone.

Last year the group spent £30m on marketing, and plans to do the same this year.

Effective Image says it will continue to monitor the uptake of social media by insurers and brokers and how they approach it. Its next survey is expected to be released in June.


The Digital Insurer - 29 April

Insurance Times is holding a half-day event called The Digital Insurer, which will address the key issues facing UK insurers as they transform their business.

Held on 29 April at the Royal College of Physicians in London, the event incorporates breakfast roundtables, special presentations, panel debates and a networking lunch. 

AXA chief executive commercial lines and personal intermediary Amanda Blanc will present the keynote on her vision of digital insurance.

“Digital should and must impact every aspect of the modern insurer from marketing and distribution to claims and underwriting and everything in between,” Blanc said.

“The Digital Insurer is a great opportunity for the market to debate the challenges and opportunities that moving to a digital framework throw up and how we as a market can improve delivery for our customers.”

Other senior panellists include UK General Insurance group chief executive Peter Hubbard, Ageas UK chief executive Andy Watson, and AIG UK and Israel managing director Nicolas Aubert.

Click here for more information.

London market insurers: Top 10 for social media

1. Catlin

2. Hiscox

3. Capita

4. Chubb

5. Beazley

6. Munich Re

7. XL

8. QBE

9. Argo

10. Barbican