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Electronic Insurance Regulations Issued

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Insurance Authority recently published the Insurance Authority Board of Directors’ Resolution No. 18 of 2020 on Electronic Insurance Regulations dated 27 April 2020 (“the Regulation”). The first draft of these regulations was published in January 2019, and after public consultation and discussion, a revised draft was published in December 2019, which has now been finalised. The Regulations and the timing of it are very relevant in the current circumstances, i.e. the impact of COVID-19 and the social distancing measures by the government, marketing, and solicitation of insurance by physical means is at an all-time low.

The term electronic has been widely defined as anything relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, visual, electromagnetic, automated, optical or similar capabilities. The scope of the Regulations extend to all electronic and smart insurance operations carried out on the internet address of the company, social media such as Facebook, Linkedin, multimedia such as YouTube, Instagram, blogs, applications such as google doc, Wiki, AI-based systems, text messages, instant chat channels, smart applications, etc.

All insurance companies and related businesses such as insurance agents, actuary, broker, surveyor, insurance consultant, carrying out operations through electronic mode, require prior approval from the Insurance Authority. The application for such approval must be accompanied by an action plan for electronic operations, approved by the Board, and contain analysis of the risk, projected volume and contingency plan for the electronic operations.

Life insurance policies with investment components cannot be transacted online, while the sale of life insurance policies with standard underwriting (less the investment component), such as term life is allowed. Health and general lines of business on property and liability risk, including marine cargo insurance can all be sold online and are subject to the Regulations.

The website of the insurance companies must be maintained by the IT department of the company, but if the management of such a website is being outsourced to a third-party, then prior approval of the Insurance authority must be obtained in this regard. Insurers currently use multiple online platforms for online marketing and selling, often procured through third-party entities. The intent of the Regulations is to capture and regulate, where possible all such third-party entities who are engaged in insurance distribution.

The Regulations also put much impetus on provisions of information security and also requires that storage of data must be in the UAE. It is however not clear whether the Regulations require any Cloud server to be based within the UAE.

In addition, the Regulations recognise that the electronic platforms and systems of the companies may not be developed enough to carry out these operations and hence allow outsourcing of electronic operations for this purpose. The Regulations also allow usage of third-party websites for sale of insurance but require the prior consent of the Insurance Authority to be obtained for any such arrangements.

The Regulations also recognise, for the first time, the “Price Comparison Websites” and interestingly state that only an insurance broker can deal with a price comparison website. The Regulations also require Price Comparison Websites to be registered with the Insurance Authority and a copy of the agreement signed between Insurance Broker and Price Comparison Websites must be shared with the Insurance Authority. The prerequisites for registration of Price Comparison websites has also been listed in the Regulations but state that the application for registration must be made in accordance with the applicable regulations, implying that the Insurance Authority may be issuing further regulation on Price Comparison Websites shortly.

The Regulations state that the provisions shall apply from the date of publication of Regulations in the official gazette, but also allow insurance companies and insurance-related professions a time period of 6 months from the date of publication in the official gazette to align their position and operations with the Regulations.

While the recognition of Price Comparison Websites is a step in the right direction from the UAE Insurance Authority given the global trends in this regard, the requirement for a Price Comparison Website to deal only through a broker creates an extra layer of regulatory requirement and therefore unnecessary costs, the benefit of which could have been passed on to end customers in the absence of such requirement. Nonetheless, insurance markets globally have noticed a surge in demand for insurance policies through online mode and therefore this Regulation brings much-needed clarity, which will help in further growth of the UAE insurance market.

6 key ingredients of effective law firm press releases

As the media continues to evolve in this electronic age, newsrooms are shrinking or disappearing, the role of journalists is changing, and opportunities for publishing news online are proliferating. The type of information getting published – especially online – also is changing. A decade ago, the chances of getting a law firm press release published verbatim were almost nil. Today, with news and aggregate websites in abundance, wire services publishing on the Web, and more non-journalism-trained editors deciding what gets published, the tables have turned for the press release as a PR tool.

A press release is no longer a vehicle just for informing journalists (who, in the past, mostly cherry-picked the facts they needed from a press release to incorporate into their own stories). In many cases today, a press release is the complete story that your audience will see. That makes the stakes higher than ever before. With that in mind, consider these tips on key ingredients and useful elements to include when writing a law firm press release.

  • Include an attention-grabbing headline.
  • Include the most “newsworthy” information in the first two to three paragraphs – your audience may not read beyond that.
  • Emphasise what’s different about you, your firm or whatever news you’re communicating. Reporters love “firsts” and precedent-setting developments (if they are legit).
  • Insert web links to your law firm’s site and blogs, attorney biographies, and related external web pages. (Even if publishers use “nofollow” links that don’t pass link juice, you will still point readers to your firm’s website where they can further engage with your content.)
  • If there’s a related video, link to that also or embed it into the press release. YouTube and Vimeo players make it easy to copy embed codes.
  • For releases about attorneys, add links to their social media platforms (e.g., LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter).
  • Provide an email address and phone number for someone knowledgeable and responsive as a media contact.
  • Employ useful content. Great storytelling is what sells a release, and these add-ons and themes will help get reporters and editors invested in your news:
  • Provide statistics, if applicable, to add timeliness and credibility to your story.
  • Add local angles. For example, if a law firm has multiple offices, consider customising releases for each office with a different market (city) dateline. In each release, quote a local attorney/office head on firmwide stories. Consider other ways to localise your release to interest journalists in each city where you want coverage.
  • Try to pivot from a current event or story in the news. For example, for a press release about a new law firm office, juxtapose it against a recent story about a downturn in new business openings in the community.
  • Relate your news to current or emerging trends in the legal industry. Reporters often are interested in piggybacking on top of what’s on the cutting edge.
  • Analyse the impact of the news or development that your release covers. Don’t just report the news about you or your firm – explain how it may affect clients, the business community, other lawyers and law firms, and other key constituents.
  • Include at least one good quote from an attorney source or the subject of the release. This adds “color,” personalises the information, and breaks up the routine facts of “who, what, when, where and how.”

Don’t be intimidated by having to produce the perfect law firm press release every time out. By including as many key elements as possible, and hitting upon a couple of attention-grabbing content themes, you’re likely to have success in getting published and positively building the public reputations of yourself and your law firm.

Why press releases are important for digital marketing

Press releases have changed a lot over the years; not only are they a public relations tool, but they are also an essential content marketing component and media relations tool for both online advertising and offline marketing in 2019. Law firms can benefit from adding press releases to their digital marketing plan. Since the end result of a digital marketing strategy is to connect with current and potential clients, adding press releases to a law firm’s digital marketing can help gain exposure and raise brand awareness.

Marketing has always been about connecting with your audience in the right place and at the right time. Today, that means you need to meet them where they are already spending time: on digital media platforms. Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use a mobile device, or on the Internet. Law firms can leverage email marketing, search engine optimisation, search engine marketing, and social media marketing across all social networks (such as LinkedIn, or even Snapchat, which has grown in popularity in recent years). Adding press releases into their content marketing can help them gain brand awareness and reach current and prospective clients on digital channels.

Incorporating Press Releases in a Digital Marketing Strategy:

Effectively using press release distribution services and their media outlets will boost the power and reach of the business owners digital marketing strategies without breaking the bank or hurting the bottom-line. Digital media coverage of your small business news story is a must, and a good press release is a very cost-effective way to get press release services like EIN or PR Newswire to carry your online press release. Done correctly, each news media company that carries your story will provide a link from their website to yours.

This link is called a backlink, which can be a powerful component of affiliate marketing. It is a sign that tells the search engines that your public relations information or brand image is relevant, and it can help affect your websites ranking on search engines like Google or Bing. This little nugget of information that you have produced can be seen around the world without hammering the bottom line of the company.

Press releases have become more important as a digital marketing tool. Your news article or news releases become much more powerful when picked up and distributed by the news media and distributed across digital platforms. The news media links to your press release help expand the reach of your content marketing articles, news stories, or public relations pieces. The goal is to have your public relations stories picked up and served to searchers looking on the first page of the SERP (search engine results page).

Why Press Releases Are Important:

  • Take e-commerce or B2B for example. Announcing the release of a new product, new service or plans for a product launch, or upgrade is easy and cost-effective. According to various case studies, writing a good press release and getting it distributed online can create brand awareness by letting the masses know about your new business or service.
  • If you want to announce a new product or service, you can draft a press release and immediately get your news found in real time on all major search engines and social media networks by using a press release distribution service. This also enables you to target thousands of journalists.
  • Your Brand Image can be affected. Since publishing is so easy, just write up your news story and then distribute it as a press release. Sending out press releases is easy and a sure-fire way to get attention and gain brand awareness. More good press releases you have on the internet can effectively improve and increase your brand’s image.
  • Add an image or video to your press releases. Research has shown that a good image or video has a much better chance of being clicked than items or content marketing stories with no images. Use multimedia to enhance the news story and tell your story while allowing search engine optimisation to get that information in front of more people. Adding an image or video also helps to improve user experience.
  • With the push of a button, you can have your public relations piece seen across the globe. Many of the press release distribution services allow for instant gratification in real time. No more relying on content marketing strategies that require journalists to read your piece and then hope that they call you or followup. Press release distribution services can distribute your information to millions of people around the world instantly, Your press release story should also be released across all marketing channels, including social media platforms. Utilising social networks can help to get the most out of your digital marketing campaigns and overall marketing efforts.
  • Make the search engines read your public relations materials. Adding internal links to pages on your website in the press release, such as using your phone number to lead to your site’s contact page, will direct readers and the search engines to learn more about what your company does or the services it offers.
  • So many people can see this. Online press releases can be written to accommodate a social media perspective. You can copy and paste your press release from a news media website and place it directly into your social media posts. Your story just looks better and has more authority when the media outlets carry it. Everyone that shares your public relations pieces over the various social media networks helps your content marketing strategy to prevail.
  • Your content marketing pieces are just press releases. You only need to write them as such so that your target audience can read your press releases anywhere at any time via laptop, desktop, or on mobile apps.
  • Search engine optimisation. Adding internal and external links to your press release, along with targeted keywords, helps to optimise the press release, which tells the search engines that your information is relevant and important. If you’d like to learn more about SEO, there are countless marketing courses online that carefully elaborate on the best methods and courses of action.

There are many newswire services and press release distribution services. Any reputable wire services or press release distribution service should provide you with a listing of all the locations and websites where your press release can be found. You should be able to have a listing with live links of all locations carrying your post. There are other considerations to take as well, like whether you receive a “do follow” or “no follow” backlink to your website or blog.

Is NOW the right time to expand your business Internationally?

Expanding your business Internationally is a monumental task but, if done right, can be a significant driver of growth. We are proud to say that we now have coverage in 190 countries, with a small team and no outside funding.

Invest in a scalable infrastructure

Build a platform that is designed to scale from day one. For example, we made sure that Advisory Excellence was set up with infrastructure where it was easy to add new countries, and track KPIs globally.

A focus on marketing channels that can scale, such as Google, Youtube, Pinterest and Linkedin, can also prove useful in building a strong foundation for future growth. Whatever your budget, these platforms allow you to test the waters as knowledge of your market increases. As campaign metrics demonstrate positive growth, your company can expand budgets to grow reach Internationally.

Think globally, act globally

Being in hypergrowth mode is exhilarating but there are plenty of opportunities to learn from mistakes. When you scale very quickly, there is no time to micromanage locally. Only tailor locally what has been proven to make a significant impact.

Build a small but mighty team

Crafting a small but mighty team is key to moving forward in a positive direction. Even if there are only a small number of individuals, a dynamic team can move mountains when the focus is right. Create a high passion and energetic team which is invested in the future of the business.

If you instil one motto in your team, it should be: fail fast, learn and improve. We love trying new ideas and encourage the whole team to continuously test, especially when it’s outside their comfort zone. The only requirement we set is to approach it methodically, to document the results and to share learnings with the team.

Stay community-focused

Nurture your brand ambassadors; your first and most loyal members or customers will be your strongest voices if they can be involved. We’ve been around since 2013 and have built a community that continuously stays engaged. Listen to your members or customers, speak with them every week and make changes based on your insights. As a result of listening to our members, we decided to start hosting events. There is nothing stronger than a real-life experience and it really makes us stand out from the crowd in a competitive market.

Getting more feedback from your audience can push your business to new heights. We collaborate with our members, so a lot of our content is member-generated.

Work smart

Automate time-consuming tasks. We believe we have a strong proposition for individuals around the world and (while there have been many lessons along the way!) expanding into new markets has been one of the most rewarding things we have done.

Networking Event PHOTO

3 Simple Steps to Becoming a Better Networker

I’ve always been a natural extrovert in school and in business. I find it easy to socialise with others and connect with them personally and professionally. When I first embarked on my entrepreneurial journey and left the practice of law, I used to attend as many local networking events as possible. I deemed it important to get out there and connect with other business professionals to build both my brand and network for prospective clients, speaking engagements, and other business opportunities.

I realise that networking is not easy or simple for everyone. There are some who fear being in large crowds of people they do not know at networking events and being forced to strike up a conversation with someone they have little synergy with. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you can build solid networking skills through these 3 simple steps:

Attend as Many Networking Events as Possible

I am sure you have heard many say, “You need to put yourself out there if you want to meet the right person.” Networking is a lot like dating. In order to find a date, you need to put yourself out there in the limelight, and practice makes perfect.

First, find out where the local networking events are in your community. A great place to start is your local chamber of commerce and other leadership organisations that are industry-specific. Many groups will offer the first event free to all guests. Some events may be as high £180 for a lunch. Either way, if you meet your next business contact or potential boss, suddenly that fee becomes pennies and the reward outweighs the risk. But don’t forget to dress professional to the networking event. Treat it like a series of mini interviews.

Bring Business Cards & Don’t Forget to Take Business Cards from Others

Every person you meet is an opportunity. A key step to networking is having your own professional image and brand. Don’t make the mistake of showing up to a networking event without a stack of professional business cards.

Make sure the business card has your name, professional title (i.e. Managing Director) or industry (i.e. Finance), phone number, email (keep it professional), and Linkedin URL. Before you put your Linkedin URL on your new personal business card, ensure that you have a customised URL.

When you go to networking events, take a business card from each person you meet and give them your business card. Easy and done, right? Not so fast.

Following-up is the most important part of networking. Always follow-up with each person you meet. Get on their contact list. Tell them you hope to see them at the next event (which may open the door to them inviting you to an event you didn’t know about!). Invite them to have lunch or coffee the next week. Being consistent and committed is key.

Connect on Linkedin & Beyond

If you are going to attend networking events and build connections on Linkedin with attendees from the events (which of course I highly recommend), make sure your Linkedin profile is fully optimised with a powerful headline, compelling summary, and details of your experience. It’s important that the image you put out at the networking events matches your digital footprint — i.e. your personal brand aligns. You never know where this connection may lead.

Develop a rapport with other professionals and connect on a greater level through Linkedin. Share and comment on each other’s content. Engage with one another beyond just being a connection. Join groups they are members of and possibly connect with their connections.

AS PHOTO

MicroStrategy® Wins a 2018 Industry Excellence Award

MicroStrategy® Incorporated (Nasdaq: MSTR), a leading worldwide provider of enterprise analytics and mobility software, today announced that Dresner Advisory Services has honored MicroStrategy with a 2018 Technology Leader for Business Intelligence award for its strong position in the 2018 Wisdom of Crowds® Business Intelligence (BI) report.

The Dresner Advisory Services Industry Excellence Awards go to brands that were ranked as leaders in two user-rating models included in the Wisdom of Crowds series of global Dresner research reports. The reports are based on data collected from a large base of end users in the BI and analytics industry and provide a broad and detailed assessment of each market, including current product usage, key buying drivers, technology priorities, and future intentions, as well as performance ratings of all relevant vendors.

“We congratulate MicroStrategy for receiving top marks from its customer base,” said Howard Dresner, founder and chief research officer at Dresner Advisory Services. “The unique value of our research is in its end user perspective of the market, both in adoption trends and intentions, and the ability to provide an unfiltered assessment of industry suppliers.”

The MicroStrategy platform provides the capabilities organizations need to build and deploy modern analytics and mobility applications that transform and accelerate business decisions. By putting answers in everyone’s hands, regardless of enterprise role, function, or skill level, the MicroStrategy platform helps organizations become a more Intelligent Enterprise™.

“The recognition from industry leader Dresner Advisory Services marks another milestone in our mission of making every enterprise a more Intelligent Enterprise,” said Michael J. Saylor, CEO, MicroStrategy Incorporated. “With our award-winning enterprise analytics and mobility platform, organizations around the world can get the answers they need, delivered where they need them, to make effective decisions for competitive advantage, driving their digital transformation initiatives and planning today for tomorrow’s challenges.”

This award is the latest in a line of increasing industry recognition for MicroStrategy, which was top ranked in the 2018 Wisdom of Crowds Location Intelligence Market Study and received a Dresner Advisory Services 2017 Technology Innovation Award for embedded BI and big data analytics. Start a free trial of MicroStrategy Desktop™ today.

About Dresner Advisory Services

Dresner Advisory Services was formed by Howard Dresner, an independent analyst, author, lecturer, and business adviser. Dresner Advisory Services, LLC focuses on creating and sharing thought leadership for Business Intelligence (BI), information management, performance management and related areas.

About MicroStrategy Incorporated

MicroStrategy (Nasdaq: MSTR) is a worldwide leader in enterprise analytics and mobility software. A pioneer in the BI and analytics space, MicroStrategy delivers innovative software that empowers people to make better decisions and transform the way they do business. We provide our enterprise customers with world-class software and expert services so they can deploy unique intelligence applications. To learn more, visit MicroStrategy online, and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

MicroStrategy, MicroStrategy Desktop, and Intelligent Enterprise are either trademarks or registered trademarks of MicroStrategy Incorporated in the United States and certain other countries. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.