Insight and Intelligence on the London & International Insurance Markets 24 Jan 2018

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Insurance will be sexier

  • Mark Geoghegan 21 November 2017
  • Last week I went through the 3,000 connection barrier on LinkedIn.

    Okay, big deal.

    But in the cold light of day 3,000 people is quite a lot. My LinkedIn account is almost exclusively made up of people who are directly part of the insurance world, and in the minority global wholesale, specialty and reinsurance segment of it to boot.

    I'd hate to try and find a suitable venue to host a party for them all. The bar bill just for buying each one a single drink would be ruinous. I'd need sponsors and paying delegates to fund it and a full-time events team to organise it.

    In fact, there aren't that many places where 3,000 insurance people gather together around a single common connection.

    Monte Carlo is definitely one - but that is a four-to-five-day annual extravaganza that constitutes the Principality's second most lucrative gathering outside its world-famous Grand Prix.

    In the last couple of months I've noticed that the rate of additions to my connected world has accelerated. Many of the newbies are middle-aged people who have suddenly had a lightbulb moment and now fully understand how a social media presence would be of use to them in a business sense.

    One of the connections who helped push me over 3k doesn't have a job title. Instead of CEO, EVP, SVP or MD he just carries an exhortation to "Make Insurance Sexier".

    Five years ago such dandyism would have been met with howls of derision, but today declarations of undying love for progression in insurance are increasingly well-regarded. If the author is under 35 they are becoming almost run of the mill.

    A desire to make the business of buying, brokering, selling, manufacturing, accounting for and even regulating insurance more intuitive and generally less painful is swelling up in the body of the industry.

    The increased intersection of social media and insurance is a simple by-product of this.

    Then there is critical mass.

    Seven years ago, when the social media phenomenon was at maximum hype, a media consultant took me for coffee to evangelise about how I should spend more time "doing soc med".

    He pulled out his laptop and typed "insurance" into LinkedIn's search. The result was a highly impressive 1.5 million results.

    At the time of writing this number had reached 8,469,799 - a more than fivefold increase.

    Or to put it simply, there are now almost seven million more people to talk to once you sign up than there were a few years ago.

    No wonder the rate of adoption is increasing.

    One other thing, last week I did something much more epoch-forming than pass through my milestone on LinkedIn: I bought a pint of beer in a pub on my phone.

    Yeah, big deal.

    But some context - this was not a reimagined deconstructed bar in Hipsterville.

    I picked up my phone, apped and fingerprinted my way to 568ml of table-delivered brew metaphorically as far away from Shoreditch, Williamsburg or East Berlin as it is possible to be.

    This miracle occurred in a branch of the lowest-common-denominator pub chain in the UK, right opposite my suburban home.

    This chain has a higher density of premises than McDonald's and thrives on a recipe of no-nonsense cheap beer and hearty fare. Its core clientele is salt-of-the-earth working class and wouldn't know a cronut or an avocado toast if it hit them in the face.

    Now if this pub chain can turn something utterly grey and ordinary into an experience that is bordering on the delightful, then I know insurance can do the same.

    Insurance is going to have to get sexier because even our most undemanding customers will soon demand it.

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