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May 2010 Archives

May 7, 2010

So where now for the UK?

As the UK faces up to the prospect of the first hung parliament since 1974 after yesterday's election, Reinsurance Towers has been getting rather confused.

On the surface, surely a hung parliament is a good thing - doesn't that mean that a broader spectrum of voters will have their views represented in a coalition government?

Sadly nothing is ever quite so simple as it seems, with the reality being closer to a nightmare. With so much uncertainty surrounding the results and a whole host of unanswered questions no-one seems to know what will happen next with the potential that Westminster could become paralysed as a result.

As it stands the UK is about to enter a confusing period of political, social and cultural uncertainty.

A hung parliament is the worst possible result for the City with the consequences of the election remaining unclear for the near future. David Cameron may be throwing his weight around as the Conservatives are now the largest party but he has failed to win that all important majority and Gordon Brown has dug himself in with talks of a potential coalition deal with the Liberal Democrats.

And do I really need to say anything about Reinsurance Towers' opinions of George Osborne and how well he would perform as Chancellor? I'll leave that to your imagination...

The timing for the financial sector hasn't really helped matters with global markets taking a battering overnight as the Dow Jones suffered its biggest ever intraday point drop - 998.5 points - as a suspected trading glitch and fears of a new credit crunch in Europe threw markets into disarray.

The pound also slumped this morning on the news of the hung parliament outcome indicating what many feared would result from the uncertainty. If no agreement is reached between the parties we could even see a second early election.

With hundreds of voters having been turned away from polling stations, due to long queues and a shortage of voting slips, there's the risk that we will see some legal challenges turning the election into frankly a bit of a joke but best not to get me started on the need for the reform of the UK political system.

So what next for the UK and its financial sector? With so many questions still left to answer, who knows?


May 19, 2010

Social Media Silos: Five Ways to Break Out

A guest blog from Tom Johansmeyer:

The social media landscape has changed a lot in the (re)insurance industry since I first put my toe in the water two years ago. Several companies have blogs, and there are independent bloggers (like me) popping up all over the place. There are LinkedIn groups with thousands of members, and slapping a "#reinsurance" hashtag on a tweet will get you in front of a pretty big audience. It sounds like the industry has figured out social media ... and this is the same industry that made me recite my answer to the "What's a blog?" question endlessly in 2008 and 2009.

So, what's missing?

We're generally doing social media in silos. There are some small pockets of dialogue emerging, but social media has generally been a push. This can work if the content is unique, but using Twitter or a blog as yet another channel for a press release does nothing but create extra work for you.

Social media has been occurring in silos in the reinsurance business. The early efforts - and yes, we're still early in the game - have been almost solipsistic. We've generally blogged, tweeted and shared as though the recipient's irrelevant. We haven't been talking to each other enough. If this continues, the victor will be determined by brute force of content volume and promotion, which only creates noise.

Fortunately, there's plenty you can do to help. Here are five ways you can help move the reinsurance industry take social media out of the silos:

1. Retweet, share on Facebook or comment on a blog post every day. Take some form of action that enhances an existing piece of social media content and puts it in front of more people.

2. Try something new every once in a while. Set up an RSS reader, subscribe to a blog or pitch guest post. Get out of your comfort zone.

3. Ask a question. Join a LinkedIn group and start a discussion to learn more about an industry (or social media) situation that's been on your mind.

4. Talk. Recommend a blog, Facebook fan page or LinkedIn group to a colleague or client. If you spread the word, everyone wins.

5. Get started. Help your company launch its own social media presence. Support an initiative to move into this space.

Tom Johansmeyer blogs about social media and the (re)insurance industry at Before that, he was a key player in launching one of the first corporate blogs in the industry. Recreationally, Tom blogs about cigars on his new blog, and covers travel for and the art market for He's located in New York, as you can probably tell from his writing style.

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