We are all about relationships. We build them, we nurture them, and we help others do the same. On 24 October 2018 members of the insurance industry gathered at the Bryanston Country Club for a breakfast event was all about social media, web, and cyber in the world of the broker/advisor. Besides great info, the event also carried CPD hours for attendees.

The event was organised by FA News, the main event sponsor was Innosys, and it was co-sponsored by ITOO Special Risks, FMI, and Francois du Toit (who was also a speaker). It was an interesting event in which people who work in the digital and cyber space shared their expertise with attendees.

“We believe in the difference that great technology and a strong digital presence can make to a business. All you need is the right information to remove the fear factor and take the first steps…” said Claire Wood, Innosys MD, on why they have sponsored this event.

“Technology can be daunting for any business but especially for SMEs. It is seen as expensive, complex and sometimes ignored. We’re delighted to partner with FA News on this event,” she added.

Mike Saunders, of DigitLab, shared specific tips on building a business profile through social media. He said that brokers can use social media to build their brand and help differentiate themselves early in the purchase cycle; he said that by the time a potential customer is calling a broker for a meeting they have already done their research and shortlisted that broker.

Mike Saunders of DigitLab speaking about social media at the event

Saunders shared some key insight into building a narrative: think about what problem you see in the world and how what you do addresses that, he said.

“If you can find ways to extend your personal brand into the online space you can add massive value to your business,” he said.

Saunders reminded attendees that we should be using social media to build relationships. He even shared advice when hosting online meetings: always use video as that helps create that personal connection you get when you meet in person.

In response to a question from the floor about claims handling, Saunders said that there are chat bots which brokers can use to help effectively handle claims. These bots will automate much of the admin of the claims handling process, he said.

Glenda Venn, of Go Communications, spoke about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its increasing impact on life and, subsequently, business.

She said that by 2020 all search will be voice-activated and highlighted that even though uptake may be slow, this is where we are headed. She demonstrated the power of voice-activated searches playing a recording of her asking Siri (Apple’s voice-activated assistant) to help find her a broker. Venn said that Siri uses a combination of the user’s location and the business’s ranking on Google.

Glenda Venn of Go Communications speaking about AI at the event

Venn highlighted that there is much we can do with AI and online to help us deliver better service to clients and potential clients. She did also caution attendees about how we use the information we obtain online. While it is possible to access plenty of information about people online so that you can offer them a really specialised insurance services, people may start asking how you obtained that information. She advised attendees to use the web and information obtained there carefully.

Attendees then heard from Francois du Toit who runs a consulting and technology company called Francois du Toit consulting and technology. He gave detailed and practical advice on how to build a great LinkedIn profile and use the platform to your benefit.

He said we should think of LinkedIn as “a 24-hour networking event”; a badly written profile, he added, is like speaking to someone at an event and leaving the conversation not understanding a word they said.

“Be consistent,” he said. He added: “if you aren’t consistent you will battle to find clients on LinkedIn”. He also highlighted the importance of helping people; he said that when building a profile one of the key things to think about is who you are trying to reach and how you can help them.

Francois du Toit of Francois du Toit consulting and technology speaking about LinkedIn at the event

du Toit concluded by summarising the key take-outs from his talk. These are:

  • you need a profile that sells you
  • you need to be clear about what your ideal client looks like
  • start with relationships
  • serve 80% of the time (i.e. ask how you can help)
  • be consistent

The final speaker was Candice Sutherland of ITOO Special Risks and she spoke about cybercrime. She highlighted that we put ourselves at risk all the time and we need to be more aware of this.

“Treat your ID card as if it is cash,” she said. Don’t leave it lying around and don’t post pictures of it online, she said, as this opens you up to cybercrime.

She shared a number of startling stats such as: within six months of falling for a scam, 80% of the elderly will commit suicide and so we should check on the elderly in our families and help them avoid scams.

“If you get work emails to your device you should, as a standard, have antivirus on that device,” said Sutherland. This is the first step in cyber risk management, she added. She explained that our devices can pick up viruses anywhere; if a friend of yours has a virus on their phone and connects to your WiFi then all the devices that connect to that WiFi are at risk. She continued: then you connect your device to the work WiFi and all those devices have been compromised.

Candice Sutherland of ITOO Special Risks speaks about cyber security at the event

Sutherland reminded attendees that devices have a remote wipe setting and we should all use this if our devices are stolen or lost. She also reminded businesses about the importance of a cyber insurance policy. She said this is the only thing that can save a business of it is hacked.

Overall, it was an interesting and useful event; each speaker shared interesting information and tips on how brokers can navigate the cyber sphere. We enjoyed being there and helping our partners Innosys, FA News, and ITOO. We also met interesting people and built new relationships.

The event hashtag was #SocialMediaInfluence and there are many tweets on the @InnosysZA account if you would like to read more about the event.