Our Customer Tweeted a Claim….and we Responded!

by Pat Alexander on September 13, 2012 · 3 comments

My cyber friend, insurance agent extraordinaire, Mom, community leader, blogger, soon to be published author, Insurance Goddess – Carrie Reynolds, agreed to share this recent post with the Insurance Ecosystem readers. This post shows the importance of being involved with your clients in various forms of media. Follow Carrier at Insurance Goddess, Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.

 

Have you ever had an insurance claim? What was your experience like? I truly believe that claim time is the true test of an insurance policy- it’s then that you actually “see” your policy go to work for you.

I’ve seen lots of interesting claims, but a recent one absolutely blew me away. Not because of what happened (high winds knocked a large tree branch on a home), but because of how we received notice of the claim and how it subsequently unfolded. Take note, as I think this is pretty ground-breaking and something most insurance companies can’t even comprehend yet. I can still barely absorb how it happened. 

 

The day it happened, I was sitting at my desk at Alan Galvez Insurance and just happened to glance at myTwitter feed (I always have Facebook and Twitter open as communication sources). I saw one of our customers, Tera, had just posted the following- ”Well, it finally happened. That old tree hit our house.” The next post was from her husband Jon telling her to give me a call. I responded via Twitter asking Tera the extent of the damage and also telling Jon (he was at work), that I was on the claim immediately. Tera also tweeted me a photo (at right) so I could see the damage- the branch had gone through the roof and rain was coming into the house, You can see our conversation by going to my feed, and starting 10/26, looking for tweets between me and @Teradawn.

 

Amazingly enough, a contractor friend (and the insured’s neighbor), was at his wife’s store next door to my office. I ran over and said “Allen, I need your help.” I told him the situation and asked him to please make temporary repairs as well as provide an estimate for permanent repairs. Within 15 minutes he was at the insured’s house. If you’re local and need some remodeling/contracting work, I highly recommend Allen Snyder of Snyder Home Repair. He does excellent work, is reasonable and very trustworthy. You can reach him at 937-592-4699.

I also called a tree removal service that had done work for us in the past. Within an hour, they arrived and made plans to get the branch off the house (it was ultimately determined that a crane would have to be rented and removal would occur the next day).

 As I was making arrangements for these various services, I kept Tera in the loop, again via Twitter. I told her who was coming, their names and what was going to happen next. Within 24 hours the tree was off the house and Allen was busy fixing the exterior and interior damage. Tera and I communicated back and forth as to what else she needed to do to facilitate the claim (submitting estimates, etc.) It’s now a week later, and they are well on their way to having their house good as new.

In all fairness, it was just dumb luck that I happened to look at my screen and see the post right after it happened. And having the contractor next door was some serious luck. However, I don’t think it changes two valuable lessons I learned from this experience:

  • Whether you’re an insurance agent or a company, you need to be utilizing the various social media platforms as a communication source. Your customers are using them and you need to be there as well. Customers now dictate how they want to communicate with you, not the other way around. Listen up or risk losing out.
  • The value of building a strong network can never be discounted. By having Allen do work for me personally as well as establishing a friendship with he and his wife, we’ve developed a strong bond. So he had no issue with grabbing his tools and running immediately over to Tera and Jon’s house. Try this tactic with a random contractor in the phone book, and see the response. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be the same. So having a trusted network IS everything.  
  • A corollary to the second point is that without a local agent, there is no way this claim could have worked out as quickly or as well as it did. Agents have networks and connections. They know who to call, what to say and will even roll up their sleeves and pitch in when necessary. We’re expediters, advocates, translators and even hand holders. Do you think the Geicos of the world can say this?

What do you think about this crazy turn of events? Are there other lessons that consumers or those in insurance can take away from this experience? This was a first for me and I’m interested to hear your reactions. I think this is just the beginning folks………

  • http://twitter.com/BrownstoneInsur @BrownstoneInsur

    Carrie is an insurance agent who "gets it." Great to see other insurance agents stepping up their game and harnessing the power and speed of social media for good reasons — not to just yell to the world and sell their agency.

    A very similar scenario happened at my agency last year. It was actually mentioned in our Rough Notes focus http://www.roughnotes.com/rnmagazine/2012/may2012…. We remain in contact with that customer to this day via Twitter and he's now a raving fan of Brownstone Insurance.

    Brownstone Insurance is definitely a believer in the power of social media.

    • http://www.patalexander.com PatAlexander

      Awesome. I love hearing from agencies that are in tune with current technologies and trends. The need to be able to touch and communicate with clients in their preferred manner is critical in today's environment. Thanks for sharing.
      My recent post Blogging for Engagement Not for Numbers

  • http://twitter.com/carrie_AGIns @carrie_AGIns

    Even now, 2 years later, this event still blows my mind. It was part karma, part coincidence and just an amazing lesson in how social media can truly connect and help people. When people ask me about the value of social media for interacting with clients and prospects, I point them to this post. What a testimonial to its power!
    My recent post Kicking fear’s ass to the curb

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