John Chalfant
John Chalfant,
Senior Product Manager, U.S. Connected Car

January 9, 2018

Attempts to validate claims prior to the emergence of social media were limited, expensive, and time consuming. A claims investigator’s means of uncovering an individual’s social footprint was by visiting locations and canvassing for witnesses that could either corroborate or identify gaps in the reported facts of loss. Field research and a review of rudimentary public records were primary external methods in the course of a claims investigation.

Fast forward to today and the tactics of an investigation to gain intelligence about individuals have changed. The digital world has led to a vast amount of data online and it is available without ever leaving the office.

The Real Challenge

The challenge in claims is not whether social media data is available but rather which results are worth pursuing.  Astonishingly, U.S. consumers spend almost 5 hours a day on phones and much of that time is being spent in applications that have a strong social media presence1. With more than 81% of individuals currently utilizing social media2 it is not surprising that this information is being leveraged in many industries including insurance.

The large quantities of photos, social networks, videos, tweets, and other social networking tools that let the entire world know a person’s current status can be daunting for an investigator or claims adjuster to manually compile. Even after having what appears to be a good search criteria, the valuable information may be buried in a sea of results that never surface to the top.

Three Areas of Focus

To be successful a claims organization needs to focus on automating this process to find value in the data and optimize the time spent investigating a claim. A strong social media strategy must be:

  • Precise: With the vast amount of information it is important to quickly separate suspicious and non-suspicious claims in an automated fashion and reduce the time spent performing manual reviews. A second layer should be in place to append data that can help enhance the returned results and reduce the false positive rate.
  • Pertinent: Once separated, establish a process to segment out those claims that will prove to be the highest value and rank their social media presence. Although there may be a larger number of returned results not all are equal in value. It is critical to focus on those with the richest data.
  • Productive: With the remaining claims the need is to establish what amount can be accepted for referral and set the threshold that best meets your investigative goals. This can differ based on the bandwidth of the investigative team so threshold setting needs to be a flexible component. The referrals must produce a low false positive result and eliminate the noise of bad data.

Focusing on the 3 P’s of social media establishes a strong platform where social media results obtained can provide the best possible return on investment. As the footprint of individuals online continues to grow exponentially, the early adoption of a social media plan will be best suited to manage future changes.

Click here to learn more about a tool that can help you implement the 3Ps in your social media research.


1 Perez, S. (2017, March 03). U.S. consumers now spend 5 hours per day on mobile devices. Retrieved January 02, 2018, from

2 The Infinite Dial (Rep.). (2017, March 9). Retrieved January 2, 18, from Edison Research website: