Pokémon Go, a mobile app used to hunt virtual Pokémon, has quickly become a craze since its launch earlier this month, accumulating over 15 million users to date. The game inspires users to “catch em all”, whether it be in parks, businesses, homes or neighborhoods and has led to droves of people traveling lengths to trap a Pikachu or Charizard. While the game inspires people to get outside and interact, it also has had many unintended downsides including injury and other damages to players and non-players alike. Participants distractedly looking at their phones while walking, biking and even driving have resulted in numerous incidents. These injuries can be covered by insurers depending on a person’s policy and where the injury occurs.

Another unforeseen consequence of Pokémon Go has been increased theft and home break-ins with thieves targeting players and luring them away from their homes. Both intentional burglars and unintentional wanderers are trespassing on property and putting themselves and others in danger while inciting police complaints.

Pokémon Go presents some interesting topics of discussion in the insurance industry. Firstly, and most obviously, is how claims involving Pokémon Go usage will be evaluated and what impact injuries or burglaries resulting from this game will have on insurers. Another less obvious question is how insurers can utilize Pokémon Go and similar data tracking technologies to investigate claims, assess risks or collect general policyholder data. Conversely, the mass of data collected from these apps could be targeted by hackers and pose a cyber-security threat.

Pokémon Go usage has raised many important questions and resulted in quite a few public safety hazards in its first few weeks of inception. It is undoubtedly an important topic for insurers and insureds to track going forward.

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