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Last week’s announcement from Esurance that the insurer will be offering discounts to customers in Texas who “like” the personal auto insurer on Facebook may turn out to be a gimmick that draws more discussion than results. Or, it may be the start of a trend among insurers to use social media as something more than a marketing tool.

The industry will be watching this program closely, though, because the one thing we do know about American business—insurance or otherwise—is if someone has any success at all with a business plan, the competition is sure to follow.

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