Shaken not stirred

Four ways an insurance company found value in educating on earthquakes 

The aftermath of the 2004 earthquake in Bovec, Slovenia. Image: Emil Cadez, Nejc Lasic / Zavarovalnica Triglav

“It's not the question whether the ground will shake again, but when,” say the experts about seismic hazards in North-Western Slovenia. The country is one of the most seismically active regions in Europe. Major earthquakes have struck in the past, resulting in long-lasting financial and economic burden for affected areas.

Zavarovalnica Triglav understands its role as the insurance market leader in Slovenia in broader terms. An important one is raising awareness of the effects of natural disasters and measures to prevent damage and injury they can cause. An in-depth feature article on everything people need to know about earthquakes was published by the company to educate them about earthquakes, with emphasis on safety and prevention procedures. It also showcased the importance of proper insurance protection, which can be of significant help in the faster recovery after a destructive earthquake

One of the main goals of the story was to encourage readers to assess the risks that could affect their home and take appropriate preventive measures, including considering proper insurance cover. However, the key challenge to tackle was making a lasting impression without frightening the readers away by putting too much emphasis on catastrophic scenes after an earthquake. Even though earthquakes can cause massive destruction, the story should end on a positive note to persuade readers to take action.

The following are four key takeaways, which show how Zavarovalnica Triglav successfully solved the above mentioned challenges and launched a microsite, shortlisted as the best microsite at the European Excellence Awards.

1. Share personal stories that people can relate to

The article opens with a recollection of the Slovenian Easter earthquake of 1998: “First we heard a rattle followed by a sudden jolt and shaking, as if a bomb went off under the house. Memories like this one, testimonials and personal stories by victims of two last big earthquakes form the backbone of the article. To compile them, we hired a professional writer who visited the affected families at their now rebuilt homes. Only listening to their stories of struggle with the aftermath of two earthquakes made it possible to write a compelling story that grabs readers’ attention without sounding pathetic, sensational or even implausible.

We made the story about people and their fates, not about insurance. Nevertheless, the article conveys a powerful message, without directly expressing it. It was paid insurance claims and  resilience that stopped people from abandoning their homes and moving away. Families were able not only to rebuild their homes but also to start new businesses which helped the whole region recover faster.  

2. Use experts and influencers to support and share your story

We invited key national experts from the fields of seismology, earthquake resistant engineering and natural disaster relief to share their insights and help us explain and simplify the complex subject of earthquakes. The emphasis being causes and consequences of earthquakes in Slovenia. Their contributions gave the story the necessary credibility and the whole article reads like a well-researched popular-science piece.

In the end the participating experts identified with the article to such an extent that they helped us  share it through their own channels giving it extra recognition and reach. The Slovenian Environment Agency even posted a news article about the story on their website and tweeted about it. Thus, the feature article became an important resource for in-depth information on earthquakes in Slovenia.

Damage caused by 1998 earthquake in Bovec, Slovenia. Image: Bobo / Zavarovalnica Triglav

3. Make it stand out

The article was published as a micro site within the web portal Vse bo v redu (Everything Will Be Alright) where the Zavarovalnica Triglav insurance company has been educating their prospects and clients about insurance and safety in everyday life. It clearly stands out from the other content on the site. At the same time, it benefits from the traffic generated by regular readers of the site.

Visuals, interactive elements, pop-up explanations, and videos were used to effectively communicate more complex information making it easily digestible despite its volume. This structure invites readers to explore deeper or to return to the site when they need additional information. After reading the whole article they can even test their newly gained knowledge in an online test. The story is divided into four chapters and several subsections, each individually shareable on social media and by email.

4. Become a part of public debate

Earthquakes happen constantly. The upside of the feature article is that its relevant information can be used to get involved in the public debate about them. Easily sharable pieces of content provide background knowledge – be it on earthquakes that have hit Slovenia in the past or on the number of earthquakes that happen in the world daily. The feature article remains relevant and Zavarovalnica Triglav insurance company strengthens its role as a subject-matter expert on a wide range of potential risks their clients face.

The full microsite is available here:

Alenka Bester

Alenka Bester is head of digital content marketing at Zavarovalnica Triglav, an insurance company with the longest tradition in Slovenia. With her team she successfully implemented an award-winning content marketing programme, gaining positive feedback from the audience and recognition from professional marketing associations in Slovenia. She appreciates every opportunity to share the knowledge on how to overcome day-to-day obstacles content marketers face especially in traditional, conservative organisations.