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How American National Builds Social Strength

The insurer’s new partnership with Hearsay Social is the most recent stage of its evolving communication strategy.

Last week, American National Insurance Company announced a partnership with Hearsay Social developed to boost social media use among agents. The insurer has strengthened its focus on digital communication techniques to improve interactions for agents and policyholders.

American National has been building its digital strategy for about a year and a half, says Scott Campbell, the carrier’s SVP and CMO. Its goal is to strengthen marketing capabilities with a focus on interactive media to encourage agents to expand their customer interactions.

“We build our brand in the local market through our agents, and expecting agents to market themselves wasn’t getting the job done anymore,” says Campbell. “[This strategy] gives a company of our size the ability to get in there and have conversations with the marketplace.”

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The insurer first established a marketing team to collaborate on a broader, more creative digital communication strategy. Its top priorities were revamped agent and corporate websites, enhanced search capabilities, mobile offerings and a stronger social presence.

“Our industry is not traditionally a leader in those areas,” notes Campbell, who says that the team looked outside of insurance for marketing inspiration. Its research determined that customization and mobility would be key components of agents’ digital communications.

The popularity of mobile goes beyond mere convenience, he explains, as the interfaces are simple and allow users to decide which features are most important to them. As American National redevelops its agent websites, mobile-first design will be a priority.

Today’s agent websites resemble corporate webpages. Modernized webpages will allow for customization so agents can feature experiences, honors and associations most relevant to their viewers, in addition to appropriate content, so each page is noticeably unique. “It’s standard, yes, but also customizable.” Campbell says. “They can pick pre-packaged content depending on the market they want to focus on.”

Agent input is considered throughout the redesign process, he continues, and usability testing will be conducted to ensure their demands are being met. As new agents join American National, Campbell hopes to create the expectation that they will have the freedom to create and customize their own website.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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