The Risk Of Not Listening

by Jay Deragon on 12/05/2012

Lately I have been investigating whether traditional suppliers of risk products and services (insurance brokers & companies) are addressing emerging risk created by social technologies.

My first post on the subject matter was “Who Will Manage The Digital Risk & Rewards” and the second post was “The Increasing Risk Of Social Media”. I shared these post with executives within national brokers and attempted to engage with them on the subject matter.

One of the executives responded with: Jay, as you highlight the topic of social / digital media and it’s connectivity with data is quite pronounced and wide ranging.  Our focus has been on developing assessment tools that help clients understand what their risk profile might be, helping them think through the practical implications of a problem and in some cases accessing the insurance market for financial protection.  We have built a leading position on the issue over the last 6 years. 

Our media footprint has been very focused on cyber risk / data security risk and while not avoiding the social media dimension we clearly wrap that into our conversations on the broader topic.  While we can always do a better job of projecting ourselves in the media or on the web, I am not sure we see a need to exppand our current objectives on the matter.

The Biggest Risk Is Not Listening

I appreciated the fact that the executive from one of the brokers responded. However, the response clearly demonstrated a lack of comprehension of the subject matter and no desire to expand the thinking.   Consider the following statesments the executive made:

  1. “We have built a leading position on the issue over the last 6 years.” I looked and looked and could find no media which substantiates the claims made about having the leading position on the matters nor could I find evidence of “Our focus has been on developing assessment tools that help clients understand what their risk profile might be”.
  2. “Our media footprint has been very focused on cyber risk / data security risk and while not avoiding the social media dimension we clearly wrap that into our conversations on the broader topic. ”  Again, cyber and data risk are traditional risk yet my post are specific to the emerging risk of social technology on intangible things like reputation, employee and customer sentiments, information leaks and competitive differential.
  3. While we can always do a better job of projecting ourselves in the media or on the web…The emphasis of my post was not about the suppliers risk rather whether or not suppliers were helping their customers reduce the risk.

Someone once said “To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation.” In the marketplace of conversations it might be wise for suppliers to perfect their art of listening or risk their conversations becoming irrelevant to the needs of the market.

{ 1 comment }

Mike Wise December 5, 2012 at 6:14 am

Yep. Spot-on, Jay. Great work, on several levels. Insurance has so many systemic issues that are anathema to Social Tech. Only when the pain of remaining the same exceeds the pain of change will executives change their paradigm. Gen-X’ers, btw, in general, don’t have these issues. But they are not, again, in general, in strategic positions quite yet. What happened to Progressive last August looms large and could be a harbinger.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: