A number of innovators are using gamification to educate customers and help them face up to some hard issues.

Some say that game-playing is one of humanity’s defining characteristics, hence homo ludens (rather than sapiens). It’s certainly true that electronic games-playing has taken the world by storm. Insurers have not been slow to understand the potential for using gaming to engage current and future customers on a number of fronts.

One such innovator is the US carrier Aflac, which has developed a real-cost calculator for illnesses—an unpleasant topic but one that definitely keeps people (especially in the United States) awake at night. The tool helps people look beyond what is covered by medical insurance to include deductibles and co-payment, out-of-pocket expenses for extras like transportation and accommodation, and everyday household expenses that continue even when one is ill and not earning. It incorporates data from a range of public sources to show the average costs of a variety of medical conditions.

In so doing, of course, it acts as a way for Aflac to create new market opportunities.

Marsh is using a free, interactive game to educate customers on how to manage risks more efficiently—an innovation in line with the findings from the Accenture Consumer-Driven Innovation Survey. The survey found that 92 percent of consumers want insurers to help them manage (rather than just insure) risk. Learn more. The game features Rudy the Gorilla, and allows players to protect their bananas with insurance policies, with results able to be shared on Facebook.

A third interesting use of gamification is Aviva Italia, which has developed a mobile app to evaluate users’ driving skills. Every 300 kilometers it provides a rating of one to 10 on how the user has been driving. At the end of a trip, it also provides feedback on cornering, fuel efficiency, and accelerating and braking skills. Badges can be earned and shared on Facebook and Twitter—and naturally a quote for insurance can be obtained!

Next time, we’ll take a look at some interesting product innovations.

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