How to fix the issues of gamification in insurance

For consumers to really interact with gamified services within insurance, it needs to be better interlinked with their daily lives.

In a new podcast from, co-founder and CEO Jon Cooper speaks with scientific advisory board member Dr. Mitesh Patel on the topic of “Gamification and Rewards in the Life Insurance Industry.” The full podcast can be listened to here.

Gamification is the incorporation of elements of games, such as earning points and rewards through a series of actions, in an attempt to make services more engaging. Patel said, “it’s about making the hard stuff fun.” When it comes to health, it is not easy to stay motivated to exercise and this is where gamification can make it more appealing.

The global phenomenon that was Pokémon Go just showed how a video game could encourage people to get outside and start exercising. When the game launched in 2016, millions of people went outside to catch and collect a variety of digital monsters. It showed how games can encourage people to get outside and if health insurance companies could capitalise of these types of tools, it could get people living healthier and hopefully reduce the claims made.

Another example of gamified exercise is an app called Zombies, Run! Which is hooked up to a smartphone’s GPS to track the user. The app is essentially a audio adventure set in a zombie apocalypse where the user can undertake a mission which involves them going for a run in the real world. This progresses a story and helps them collect supplies for their virtual base. These types of services can be crucial for insurance firms to drive positive health behaviour and lower claims.

There has been a growing adoption of gamification tools within insurance to help encourage policyholders to be more active and healthy. Patel stated that around two thirds of the top digital health apps are using these types of functionalities. These are tasks like walking a certain number of steps or drinking water and the person will receive a reward or points.

Using these tools and leveraging behavioural economics companies can motivate consumers.

However, Cooper said while clients and consumers both want gamification “they don’t achieve the level of engagement and really the impact that they’re shooting for.”

There are clearly somethings holding the industry back and Patel believes it boils down to two main challenges. The first is that a lot of these programmes still require the user to physically enter the information themselves. They have to log into the account and put in data and doing that everyday can be time-consuming and its hard to add motivation for this. Also, for things like physically activity, a lot of this happens in people’s daily lives and it can be hard to track.

He said, “We found that you can really take some of the burden off of people by letting these things run automatically, almost the points to levels, all of those things are essentially feedback to the participant, what they really want to focus on is the thing that drives our health that’s getting their steps in or eating right, or taking their medications, whatever the goal might be.”

The next issue is that most of the points systems are based on traditional economics where if you complete a task you get points. However, Patel believes it is better to use behavioural economics principle of loss aversion to boost motivation.

So this is giving consumers 70 points at the start of a week and points are deducted if they fail to meet goals.

“So we’ve found that there’s a two to one ratio of how much people are motivated for preventing loss than they are for getting a gain. People really feel like the points are theirs and there’s some built in status. We also start people at the middle level instead of the bottom, so they feel like it’s achievable to get to the top.”

To listen to the full podcast click here.

Copyright © 2020 FinTech Global

Enjoying the stories?

Subscribe to our weekly InsurTech newsletter and get the latest industry news & research


The following investor(s) were tagged in this article.