4 Social Media Tips for Claims Handling You Can't Ignore

Written by Britta Wagner | Wed, Jul 02,2014 @ 11:00 AM

HNI Claims Assistant

The business world still is adjusting to social media and the many ways it's changed the way we do business.

We've seen how social media can spill into claims handling, resolution, and litigation outcomes.

The intersection of claims handling and social media recently was on display on Twitter. A chain of heated tweets was posted from an account connected to the driver involved in the Tracy Morgan crash. By using social media to express his opinions, the driver not only created more negative press for his company, but those comments and that account could be used in resulting litigation.

The bottom line for business leaders is that the additional exposure to potentially incriminating content could cause the cost of a loss to skyrocket. No matter how careful a company is with its claims handling, the process could be undermined by just one employee who lacks social media skills.

The situation is clear: Your employees need a guiding hand in social media best practices when it comes to claims. Educating your talent on how to protect themselves and your company starts with the following tips:

1.) Get Permission to Access Private Content

Add a form to your current social media policy that grants permission to access employees' private social media profiles in the event of a claim occurrence.

This can assist your company in several ways. It allows employers to see what their employees are posting during loss situations. With that knowledge, you can correct content that relates to the claim or business image. Access can help your company gain insight into events surrounding an accident. Finally, access may help prevent employees from posting malicious or incriminating content when reminded that their employer has permission to see what they are posting.

2.) Conduct a Reality Check: Nothing is Private on the Internet

Remind employees that private information posted online doesn’t remain private — even if they choose not to consent to access by your company (see No. 1). Educate employees on how social media can be used in the claims handling process. Past litigation practices have demonstrated social media being used to prove inaccuracies in a story, help discover witnesses, or cast a shadow on credibility.

3.) Provide a Script

Arm your talent with language they can use on social media in the event of a crisis:

  • “Praying for all those who have been affected by this situation.”
  • “Details of this incident are under investigation; I cannot provide a comment.”
  • Tell employees they do not have to respond.

Include these responses in your company’s social media policy or employee manual. Additionally, review these boilerplate statements with an employee after a loss. Establish the message is your company will be sharing on its social media channels, and strategize with the employee how the company's message could be adopted for personal use.

4.) To Prepare for Claims Handling, Start Speaking Hypothetically

Don't wait until your company has a public crisis! Start the conversation today with employees about the perils of social media in claims situations. Let's face it: Litigation is on the line. Use current events as learning examples. Encourage discussions on hypothetical ways that your company might recommend social media responses to those situations.

These easily deployed tools will help your employees protect themselves on social media after a loss. And by helping them to protect themselves, you will be protecting your business. Sparing your business from incriminating social media content is a smart way to control the overall cost of the loss.

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Photo by Dmitry K via Flickr