Gamification & a drive to change millennials' view of insurance

Dawn Mortimer at Guidewire talks about the potential for gamification in insurance.

Last year, I tested some games for Knack, a company that uses gamification to find hiring potential in candidates. It was an interesting experiment of sorts as I played three different types of games that measured me on all sorts of things like emotional intelligence to problem-solving and then rewarded me a particular ‘knack’ depending on my score. This is one example of a company using gamification for recruitment purposes.

But increasingly, gamification is being used in other sectors too. Car dealers are using it to engage car dealers to sell more cars and provide a more fun, competitive spirit through leaderboards. Uber uses UberDRIVE that allows users to get an idea of what a typical day is for an Uber driver. Some believe it also doubles up as a clever recruiting tool too.

The term “gamification” itself is a funny one as it means different things to different companies. Knack uses data science to develop its games and hires candidates on that basis. But more loosely, the term has been defined by Gartner to mean “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals”. Gamification went through a major hype cycle a few years back when Gartner predicted that “by 2014, more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organisations will have at least one gamified application.”

But now we don’t hear about it as much anymore. Why is that?

“Gamification was really big a few years ago but then it sort of lost its motivation. I think that’s because for most, certain aspects of gaming really needed to have sophisticated systems. Many insurance companies have really old legacy systems. So until they update their systems, they can’t do all the data gathering and mining they need to leverage gamification in the best way,” Dawn Mortimer, Data and Analytics Market Strategy Director at Guidewire Software explains to me over the phone from the US.

Mortimer works with various insurance companies across the globe on data analytics strategies. Prior to coming to Guidewire, Mortimer worked for a US insurance company where she helped develop a game called ‘iAmFam’ for Facebook. The premise of the game was to teach consumers about different aspects of insurance.

Mortimer believes gamification in the insurance sector has the potential to increase sales and educate consumers. She also sees it as motivating employees and fostering team spirit. 

“Gamifying the insurance process will actually help people understand what it means and how that will impact their insurance purchases. [For instance,] it helps me become a better driver and helps my son understand how he’s doing as a new driver,” Mortimer explains.

She thinks that its potential especially lies in attracting millennials who don’t really understand various aspects of insurance policies.

“Many insurance companies are about getting their policies out there – but the ones that are forward-focused understand that they need to engage with the consumer better so they are looking into gamification and actually making it happen within their organisation.”

Are there differences in the way the UK and US market have adopted gamification?

“I’ve seen great examples on both sides of the pond. I’ve seen companies like FlexScore give drivers daily updates but then I’ve seen companies like Signa who are doing employee engagement wellness programs. [But I think] the propensity for more active gamification involvement would be from the UK market,” Mortimer says.

Mortimer thinks a lot of insurance companies are still “risk-averse” when it comes to trying out gamification but believes that those that take the “early risks will also have the early wins”.

“You have companies like Metromile that are doing pay-as-you-go or companies like Trov where you use your mobile to take a picture of your TV and swipe yes for instant insurance coverage on that item. Those types of companies are not in the insurance space but are adding value to consumers and are going to potentially bypass those really stodgy companies that aren’t willing to experiment and try new things.”

While Mortimer believes that gamification can change the way consumers perceive insurance companies – she thinks it is still important to think about the user experience carefully.

“Do it right or you can alienate people even by doing something you think is progressive,” Mortimer concludes.


Also read:

What’s your knack? Games to “measure” job potential

Gamification: Changing businesses now and for the future

Pymetrics: Using neuroscience games to cut Résumé bias