Gamification Comes to Life (Insurance)

Finance games have been shown to greatly help with life insurance sales -- and digital, large-scale versions are becoming available.

A chess board with the king pieces in the middle

For years, there’s been talk about how gamification, particularly focusing on financial literacy, can provide a significant lift to the productivity of life insurance agents. 

Two of the best examples to date are the financial literacy board games Praxis and Cyclic, deployed in South-East Asia in recent years. Agents who got prospects to attend in-person board game events were often able to close sales there and then -- reputedly with up to a third of the attending prospects!

While very valuable for those life agents fortunate enough to participate in such events, the games' logistics meant it was extremely difficult for them to be played at a sufficient scale to allow more than a small number of agents to benefit. 

The solution was always going to be a digital finance game. But were any game developers going to focus on this area? 

We’re now seeing this coming into focus, and a small number of digital financial games are coming on stream – albeit of varying degrees of sophistication.

FinQuest by JA Worldwide is at the simple end of the spectrum – with each game lasting just seven minutes. It states a series of actions (such as earning a scholarship to reduce school costs or helping a friend to pack his stuff to avoid paying a moving company). Players are then asked whether the actions are consistent with earning them money.

At the other extreme is Cyclic Town, developed by Cyclic Digital. This simulates financial life from age 25 to retirement at age 60. Players experience events such as marriage, parenthood, career progression, job loss, accidents and health issues. The game incorporates variations in market prices of stocks, gold and property, etc; and changes in economic factors such as interest rates and the level of unemployment. To navigate through all this, the player needs to visit financial institutions (bank, life insurer, general insurer, securities platform and more). There, they can choose to use various personal financial products and services – ranging from term deposits to high-risk stocks, and from mortgages to investment-linked life assurance products; each product operating as in real life. The game also includes a competition feature, which allows an insurance agent or financial adviser to set up a competition for his/her prospects. He/she can choose to get them together in person and play concurrently on their devices or have them play remotely. 

There are a few others, such as Stock Market Game by SIMFA, which focus on a narrow part of personal finance.

We can expect more digital finance games to come, and the early movers to improve their offerings progressively.

Free from the logistical challenges of board games, digital finance games can readily be deployed for thousands of agents and hundreds of thousands of prospects.

Nigel Hazell

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Nigel Hazell

Nigel Hazell spent the early part of his career in his native U.K., working in the life and funds sectors, assuming the position of CEO for a unit trust company at the age of 26.

Aged 30, he moved to Asia, initially to Taiwan, where he helped establish the first foreign JV life insurer there.

Over the next decade or so, Hazell served as Asia head of life and health for a U.K. insurance group, CFO and board member of a listed life insurer and North Asia CFO/COO for an Australian banking group. 

At the age of 41, he went his own way; since then, he has established businesses in the education, hospitality tech, fintech and digital games spaces. 

Today, his primary focus is running Cyclic Digital, which develops mobile games for good. 

Hazell serves as the non-executive chairman of one of the largest MPF trustees in Hong Kong and as an independent director of a life insurer in Malaysia.

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