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Social Networks in Prime Position to Become Insurance Sales Channels: Gartner

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Social Networks in Prime Position to Become Insurance Sales Channels: Gartner

January 11, 2012
By Beecher Tuttle
TMCnet Contributor

Could 15 minutes on Facebook or Twitter save you 15 percent or more on your car insurance? In a few years, it just might.

This is the conclusion of analysts at Gartner (News - Alert), who speculate that social networks are in a position to further capitalize on their close relationship with users and could begin providing services like car, home and life insurance in the next few years.

The prognostication is one of many detailed in Gartner's newly-released 2012 Predictions report, but stands as possibly its most interesting. Gartner predicts that at least one social network will become an insurance sales channel by the end of 2014.

The rationale behind the speculation, documented by Fox Business, is equally as fascinating. Analyst Juergen Weiss points to Facebook's (News - Alert) timeline feature, which documents all the crucial events in a person's life from getting married to having a child to retiring.

This personal information, controlled by social networks like Facebook and Google (News - Alert)+, could be an invaluable resource if Internet companies decide to take on today's insurance behemoths. Just imagine posting news about having a child or buying a vehicle, and then receiving discounted offers on life or car insurance.

"Offering insurance products to their communities would be a natural extension of social media providers' financial services strategies and would allow them to capitalize on their extensive set of information they constantly collect about their users," Weiss notes in the report.

He argues that the vast majority of insurers have failed to develop an effective social media strategy, leaving them ripe for competition from likes of Facebook, which has access to data that other insurers would love to have.

Weiss says that social media providers could form their own business units or develop partnerships with traditional insurers that white-label their products. It's just hard to imagine that one day you could get into a fender-bender and the other driver will hand you his Facebook card.

In other insurance tech news, insurer Allstate has inked a partnership deal with Airbiquity to create integrated connected vehicle solutions for car manufacturers. Allstate's Roadside Services division will work with the connected vehicle specialist to build in-car systems that offer tailored services like remote door unlock, find my car, emergency assistance and a number of infotainment services.

The two companies hope to make connected vehicle systems available to car manufacturers by the end of the year.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO East 2012, taking place Jan. 31-Feb. 3 2012, in Miami, FL. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO registration click here.

Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.

Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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