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01:19 PM
Nathan Golia
Nathan Golia
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Main Street America Finds Agents Prefer Social for Pre-CAT Communications

Corporate communications director Mark Friedlander says using social to reach agents in advance of a catastrophe event is efficient and positive for the brand.

With Hurricane Sandy barreling up the East Coast of the U.S. and the possibility of a "Frankenstorm" event looming, I noticed many insurance companies taking to Twitter with standard, pre-event, customer-focused tweets:

But as I scanned my timeline, one tweeter stood out to me: Mark Friedlander, the corporate communications director for Jacksonville, Fla.-based Main Street America Group. His tweets offered a glimpse into how insurance companies prepare their agents for these types of events:

At first I wondered if this might have been meant for some sort of private feed. But then, Friedlander popped up again:

Curious, I reached out to him and asked: Why put this kind of information out in a public forum this way?

"We're using social media more and more to reach agents because that's what they prefer, especially with breaking news," Friedlander told me. "It isn't the first time we've done this."

I'm impressed with the transparency MSA shows here. Considering insurance's trust issues, perhaps offering a glimpse into how companies work as an event like this develops could help humanize the industry. Insurers following his lead

"We are a very transparent organization, that's our philosophy," he added. "This is not proprietary information, if a variety of audiences see it that’s fine."

Friedlander also uses his Twitter account to share information of value to policyholders. In all, it's a case study in how important it is for insurers to have a person who owns social media, is comfortable with the landscape and finds ways to stand out from the crowd. That's the real value in having the one-to-many conversation with policyholders: building trust, showing engagement, and being accountable.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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