It was only a matter of time before state insurance regulators began to get a handle on if or how to regulate social media. The “if” question has been answered As many as ten or more states have begun to monitor the social media activity of insurers and that number is predicted to grow to at least half by the end of the year.
The “how’ is a bit trickier. What these regulators appear to be looking for is evidence that an insurer has a formal social media policy and a training program to make sure the program will be compliant. At this point, the issues that raise the most concern for regulators include misleading advertising, the use of testimonials and endorsements (is an endorser being compensated?), consumer privacy, records retention (are posts retrievable?), and agent monitoring (are companies paying attention to what agents are posting?)
Social media success depends on two-way conversations that are spontaneous and sincere, not stiff and scripted. Regulators want to make sure, however, that what is discussed on social media sites is accurate and mirrors the information they collect from the insurer.
Bottom line: Companies can no longer put off the task of developing a social media policy and making sure their employees and agents understand it.