PITTSFORD, NY--(Marketwire - February 17, 2009) - "The very idea of using a community in a business context is exciting for some, groundbreaking for others, and downright frightening to a few," Chrisa Hickey, Director of Product Management for insurance technology firm Scene Genesis, writes in her article, "Online Communities and Auto Claims," in Claims magazine. "The key is to uncover the right social media tools to support a strategy."

Insurers and third-party administrators need to focus on the value an online community can provide to their customers and to avoid several common blunders, she writes.

Don't over-rely on technology; instead focus on identifying and reaching out to potential community members. Make sure to put enough manpower on the project. "One part-time staffer isn't enough to run an online community that strives to be truly vibrant," she says.

But overinvesting is unproductive. "Money cannot buy human relationships and interactions, which is exactly what successful online communities require," she points out.

Auto claims is well suited to an online community model.

"If your insured has been in an accident and does not have a repair shop in mind, an established online community can be an unbiased place to go for reviews, information, and shop feedback," Hickey writes.

Communication is also strengthened because notes, questions, comments and other information can be posted directly on a central site for the insured, carrier, and repair shop.

J.D. Power and Associates' 2008 auto claims study showed that managing expectations, showing empathy, ensuring convenient service, and communicating effectively are hallmarks of an enhanced claims experience.

"Each of these practices is enhanced through the addition of an online community acting as an information hub during the claims process," Hickey points out. "Communities can help transform the ways carriers settle claims as well as strengthen customer loyalty and increase brand building. Insurers would serve themselves well to nurture and leverage online communities to realize real business gain."

The full article can be read at http://tinyurl.com/bj7cm5.

Scene Genesis offers SceneExchange, a unique Web portal that lets insureds choose an autobody shop for convenient, high-quality repair of their damaged vehicle.

Based in Pittsford, near Rochester, N.Y., Scene Genesis has served the insurance and auto-collision-repair industries since 1998. For more information, visit www.scenegenesis.com and www.sceneexchange.com.

Contact Information: Contact: Beth Bailey Scene Genesis 585-387-9883 bbailey@scenegenesis.com Henry Stimpson Stimpson Communications 508-647-0705 Henry@StimpsonCommunications.com