The Evolution of Gaming – Insurance

And here it is, the next step in personal insurance.

The world of sport has moved online and the stars here attract as much attention as the stars on the telly every weekend. And now, it seems, they’re beginning to be treated with as much attention.

But first some background:

In ancient Phoenicia traders would approach lenders to insure against the piracy or loss of their trading ships. In the London coffee houses merchants would trade insurance bonds with one another on the safe delivery and good quality of their stock. By the 1940’s personal insurance was providing premiums against damage to homes and loss of property. This was quickly followed by a slew of insurance products covering debilitating events most likely to befall an individual. By the 1980’s one could insure cars, boats, even pets. In the 1990’s rock star David Lee Roth stunned the world by taking out paternity insurance (wouldn’t you like to read the indemnity clauses on that one!). But now the market has taken another step.

HIF were approached earlier this year about insuring an online game character. Don’t scoff, it’s big business. Many players spend years building up their characters and sell them (for real money) to other players not willing to put in the work. It’s not yet an industry. But there is a cashed-up elite who want the kudos of an impressive game character without putting in the time themselves.

The problem for the people who create these characters is that their avatars are exposed to pretty much the same risks we all are. They can get injured, punished or die just as we can. They can make bad decisions or just have bad luck.

Plus there are events to which characters are exposed that we are not. Imagine a cataclysmic outage wiping all character records from the game database (solar flares known as a Carrington Event,may achieve this); or hackers scrambling the server network: All very unlikely, yes, but still possible.

And for these few (I hesitate to call them professional) dedicated gamers this could entail the waste of years of hard work.

I know about this because the person to approach HIF is a friend. He didn’t tell me about the negotiations, or their result. But there is an ever growing concern and demand to insure against these precious online avatars.

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