Pokémon Go, a location-based “augmented reality” game for smartphones, may be shaping up to be a big insurance/liability challenge.
The game launched in July (based on a 1990s children’s card game/TV show) and has become a sensation. At the same time, however, it is leaving some players with bruises or broken bones, according to an Erie Insurance blog posting. Even worse, GPS data from the app apparently can be used to draw players to remote locations and then rob them, the posting noted. Distracted users have also caused property damage, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Pokémon Go is apparently even a liability concern for driving. The Erie Insurance posting notes that the Washington State Department of Transportation is warning players not to play Pokémon Go while they drive.
How could a little smartphone app be such a liability? That’s because of how it is played. As the Erie Insurance blog posting explains, the game works like a digital scavenger hunt, where you move around the real world to both catch and train the Pokémon creatures, or “pocket monsters” that are part of the game’s universe. But by focusing so much on the virtual world, players are hurting themselves and creating liability issues, with accidents, including walking, biking or skating into sign posts, sewer grates and each other.
The Erie Insurance posting offers a number of tips as to how to play safely.
Loretta Worters, vice president with the I.I.I., noted in prepared remarks that players should be aware of their surroundings and make sure they’re adequately protected against risk.
The I.I.I. also noted a wide range of coverage that would help protect both players and property-owners, including homeowners and renters insurance, motor vehicle-related liability insurance and identity theft/cyber crime coverage.
For more on the Erie Insurance posting, click here.
For details on the I.I.I.’s take on Pokémon Go, click here.