Social in insurance and fintech – new InsureTech podcast

A few weeks ago, I caught up with the team at  InsurTech Bytes, to chat about how we (Zurich) are harnessing social media to communicate more effectively with our customers, intermediaries as well as within and across its own organisation.

There’s also some great comments from Nigel Walsh from Deloitte and Nick Finegold from Curation Corp at a recent InsTech London on how and why social media can be a fantastic engagement tool for the insurance and fintech sector.

Would love to hear your thoughts on what we have to say. Feel free to add them below.


Four score years and seven…

LincolnIn our bathroom, I keep this fella. We’re a Lego-loving household and there are minifigures dotted around the place. But Abe, here, is one I like to see, and greet, daily.

As any scholar of US political history will know, the “four score and seven years ago” was President Lincoln’s intro to his Gettysburg Address, delivered in November 1863. But it’s the end bit that we should remember; “..that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

For me, while this is fundamentally about democracy and its importance, it also has a ring of social business about it. Going back to most definitions of social business, it involves creating networks of people, connections and includes all levels of any organisation. It also reminds me, of the importance of the customer (remember them!??) – as a company, my employer exists to protect our customers and put them right when bad things happen.

But today, election day 2017, it seems apt to focus on the democratic bit. Governments of all types and colours, politicians of all persuasions, backgrounds and beliefs are there to serve the will of the people. And in our democracy we, the people, have our say.

Today is that day. Do the thing.


A terrible week, but we were ready. Were you?

Like so many of us, I spent much of last week trying to get my head around another terrorist incident, this time aimed at kids enjoying a pop concert in Manchester. Mind-numbing, especially when I saw the faces of the victims as the week unfolded. As a father of an 8 year old, it was particularly tough – yet only a fraction of the tough some families are going through right now.

But on waking at 0455 on Tuesday morning ready for an early event up in London, and seeing that first news alert notification on my phone, the professional ‘me’ woke up very quickly.

As luck would have it, we went through a cyber-incident crisis rehearsal on Monday afternoon where my fellow comms team members and I worked through a business continuity drill.  So having my BC plan literally to hand was handy as we worked through the process of managing the closure of our Manchester city centre office for the day and how we communicated that across our various channels. Pleased, if that’s the right word, that the business was able to account for everyone quickly and that none of them were impacted, although one colleague was at the event with their family.

Technology is a great aid at times like this. Clearly, despite the terrible events, our every lives and businesses continue. We still have customers who will need to talk to us, and us to them. So to activate colleagues to work from home is a great way of dealing with these events.

Two weeks ago, I spoke at a digital transformation in insurance conference, where I explained how getting our social “plumbing” established and operational was a crucial first step for me, and which has paid off in multiple as we’ve had to deal with major incidents – some internal, some to manage external events. Most major incidents are ones that don’t actually impact you or your business, but could if you don’t treat them with respect and the necessary deference.

Soc StudioBy 0515 Tuesday morning, I had used the social media platform app (pic left) on my iPad to move all our scheduled content across all our UK social channels to later in the day while we evaluated the news and decide how and when to post appropriately. I’d alerted our key users to what I’d done and to be sensitive in matters that may crop up.  We then spoke through the day to determine the best response to the ongoing incident.

And yet, we still saw brands scheduled content going out during yesterday morning.  You can always make the case that ‘terrorism wins if we change what we do’ but reputationally, you’re a case study away from being in a pickle.

Yet, all this technology triggers a dichotomy for social media leads.  I ofFOMO memeten wonder what would happen if I follow the mental wellbeing advice and switch off notifications and do social on my terms, not others. Had I done that, I probably wouldn’t have known about Tuesday night’s incident until arriving in our London office at 8am – probably too late to stop a problem. Fortunately my FOMO doesn’t allow me to turn stuff off, although I have moderated the quantity of late.

Here’s hoping to a safer, quieter week all round. But if it isn’t, we’ll be ready for it.



Small social steps paying off!

I’ve been plugging away within the Zurich world for a little while now, pushing the social message wherever I can get a platform. For the first time, yesterday, it felt like it was actually working. Not just lip service and acceptance that what I was saying was OK, but actual real colleagues, putting it into action, in an authentic, meaningful way.

Let me tell you a story!

I’m a part of our Zurich UK Women’s Innovation Network (WIN) – really proud to be playing my part to addressing the gender diversity issues we have in our business, but also across the business world. Perhaps there’s another blog there for another day.  Yesterday was our second annual get together, when we had over 120 colleagues join us for the afternoon in London to talk about progress being made, and to galvanise people to carry on the good work.

IMG_0246We were hosted  by our friends at the Chartered Insurance Institute and had some internal speakers (important Exec types) mixed with some fantastic sessions looking at the Insuring Women’s Futures campaign (#IWFHeforShe), personal brand (mainly the IRL version) and also on the sectors approach to the wider Diversity and Inclusion angle.  The theme for the day was ‘WIN Your Way.’

I’d had some social media-type foamex board frames made up – you know the sort of thing you get at weddings and events to get people to take pics and do the selfie thing. We framed them around our UK social handles. (See pic – me with the fab Rose St Louis who chairs UK WIN). We suggested an event hashtag, #WINYourWay for people to use as they saw fit. Nothing forced. But all subtle messaging that says: “We do social. You can to. And we want you to too.”


And it worked! I’ve seen so many of these pics in the last 36 hours – across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Yammer and LinkedIN. Even got our CEO in one (Tulsi Naidu in the other pic below with Rose and Barbara Schonhofer who established the Insurance Supper Club for women in the sector)

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I ran an analysis last night which showed that on Twitter alone our hashtag and messages were seen by 61,000+ accounts, with 340k impressions. And they cost me less than the cost of a return train ticket to London and they’ll be reused at other events too.


I know those numbers will be small fry compared to some readers who only have to blink to get numbers in the millions. But to me, and to us, sometimes, you just need to see it working to give you faith and the impetus to know that we’re doing the right thing.

Small steps. But massively important ones.

Five social business lessons from the Trolls movie

Over the weekend,  I took the dynamic duo to the Odeon’s Kids AM showing of Trolls – the latest offering from the Dreamworks empire.

Normally, I take advantage of the dark space and perhaps concentrate a little too much on the insides of my eyelids…. only for a short time of course…

But *whispers* I really enjoyed Trolls! Somewhat obvious in plot, but nicely executed, the occasional Dad gag (one of them actually sh1ts glitter….) and some decent cheesy tunes mixed in for good measure.

But as I watched, it struck me that there were quite a few lessons we could learn from as we build our social business. So, here are my five social business lessons from the Trolls movie

#You can’t keep everyone happy all the time
Well that’s obvious but as a communicator we often strive for 100% satisfaction. The other thing is being aware of who won’t ever be happy but ensure you still address their basic needs. Given those detractors a space to work it through can also pay off and potentially turn them into advocates.

#Positivity breeds positivity 
It’s like what they call the ‘Big Mo’ in elections – when a candidate generates some momentum, it tends to flow through into more success. And so, if you have a positive team, use them to breed positivity around the organisation. Figure out what is driving their success, and get them to tell their own story. Good advocate bunch here too.

hug#Hugs work well
Ok, not for everyone, so let’s call this: the personal touch. Getting together every now and again as a team is so important (the equivalent of the Trolls hug alarm) for team spirit, morale and getting everyone focussed back on the main issues at hand.

#Everyone has down days
Sometimes you need help to find your happy place. Or guide your team to their respective happy place. Look around your team. Get to know them. Understand their personality types and see what makes them tick (MyersBriggs or Discovery Insights are two Ive used in the past) . See if you can get into their wider psyche and see what their non-work levers are. All helps to identity what a down day (week, month, period) looks like so you can work through it together.

#Bringing tribes together is possible if there’s a goal at the end 
When everyone is focussed on one end game, it makes it easier for everyone to pull together,  collaborate, and generate results – adding business value.

The things you think about watching kids films eh!?!

Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment below. What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt from a movie??