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Would You Buy Virtual Property Insurance?


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Chinese firm touts first 'virtual property' insurance

http://www.zdnet.com/chinese-firm-touts-first-virtual-property-insurance-2062301124/

 

Want to protect that summer home in Silvermoon City? Anxious about someone jacking your ballin' ride in Second Life? An insurance company in China is now offering a little MMO peace of mind in the form of what it claims to be the world's first form of 'virtual property' insurance.

http://www.gamesradar.com/chinese-firm-introduces-virtual-property-insurance/

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35,000 Americans take out insurance against being abducted by aliens each year, so there's always a sucker for any product and any price.

This article or concept isn't that weird though from what I read.  It seems to be aimed at the games provider rather than consumer.  For example if LL were grossly negligent in some aspect and I had my virtual land and/or /inventory ruined by a malicious action then I might well win a case of compensation against LL.  This merely insures them against that claim.  

Now it maybe the case that there are quite a lot of shoddy game providers in China who are incurring lots of valid compensation claims because they do not take appropriate measures to protect the IPR, data or virtual property of their gamers.  So, they can either tighten up their act or go on paying increasing premiums each year.  Seems to me that in the long run it's a win win scenario.

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Sy Beck wrote:

35,000 Americans take out insurance against being abducted by aliens each year, so there's always a sucker for any product and any price.

This article or concept isn't that weird though from what I read.  It seems to be aimed at the games provider rather than consumer.  For example if LL were grossly negligent in some aspect and I had my virtual land and/or /inventory ruined by a malicious action then I might well win a case of compensation against LL.  This merely insures them against that claim.  

Now it maybe the case that there are quite a lot of shoddy game providers in China who are incurring lots of valid compensation claims because they do not take appropriate measures to protect the IPR, data or virtual property of their gamers.  So, they can either tighten up their act or go on paying increasing premiums each year.  Seems to me that in the long run it's a win win scenario.

34,999, Sy. They dropped me for filing too many claims.

The article ponders the valuation of the virtual goods that are insured. Is it much different than valuing an art piece or a patent? If this insurance is being offered by a legitimate insurance company, I suppose their actuaries have worked out a risk/reward ratio they think will bring them a profit. If they suffer massive losses because of an unforseen virtual natural disaster (a euphamism for "we didn't know what we were doing"?), they'll adjust or get out.

The same analysis must be done by the purchasers of the policies. What's the value of extending the warranty on your  $13 toaster by two years? Someone probably buys that from Best Buy when asked at the checkout.

This makes sense if you remember we're all nuts!

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TristanMercer wrote:

Exactly, because if this so called insurance was worth anything why are we only hearing about it from you and only just a little bit ago?

 

Maybe because it is China-centric we haven't heard much about it.

But what if State Farm (if you are here in the U.S.) were to offer it?

And actually, you can get virtually anything (pun intended) underwritten.

That was part of how Lloyds of London built their reputation.

Also, I didn't ask if you would buy insurance from this Company.

My OP asks, "Would You Buy Virtual Property Insurance?"

Maybe I should have included the phrase, "As an example," in my opening post when referencing those articles.

 

eta shpelling

 

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Actually it isn't for individuals it is for game owners

"The insurance will help to reduce operating risks for online games companies as the companies which purchase the insurance will be covered to compensate customers in the event of lost or stolen property," said a Sunshine Insurance spokesperson in the report.

So LL would have to buy it and that would never happen.

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Amethyst Jetaime wrote:

Actually it isn't for individuals it is for game owners

"The insurance will help to reduce operating risks for online games companies as the companies which purchase the insurance will be covered to compensate customers in the event of lost or stolen property," said a Sunshine Insurance spokesperson in the report.

So LL would have to buy it and that would never happen.

While true that LL makes no warrants to us they have been sued over Virtual Land and settled out of Court.  And I'd be surprised if they don't carry some form of Business Insurance.

In RL on my insurance I have riders on my policy that offers special additional protection to certain things I own, unique heirlooms.  It costs me a couple of dollars extra a year for this additional coverage.  What if I could add a rider to my property insurance that covered me for loss of virtual goods?  Considering the amount of Real Currency some people have invested in SL, is that so far fetched?

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You are right.  LL would be fools not to have business insurance that covers any liability and law suits.

When I owned a RL antique restoration and interior design business I had comprehensive insurance that covered a whole host of things including law suits and settlements.  I purchased a rider that also covered client's property if it were damaged or stolen by someone else that was not an employee while it was in my possession, even if I was not legally liable because I took all reasonable precautions against it and had an indemnification clause in my contracts that indemnified me if something happend that was totally out of my control.  It was just good business to have the means to compensate a client if that  happened,  especially since I was dealing with antiques, some of which were museum owned pieces that were worth a huge amount of money.   But that applied to physical goods only, not virtual goods or intangible property.  Thank god it never happened though. lol

Reading about this new insurance, it sounded to me like it would cover customers virtual goods that were lost or stolen even when the game owner was not held legally responsible for it.  I could be wrong though about that since I didn't read the actual policy.

 

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I don't know about engaging a real-world firm to carry insurance because the values involved would realistically seldom be much higher than a standard deductable. I can see the possibility for SL insurance WITHIN SL for some things like expensive no-copy items though - for example, I've heard of many occasions where club dance balls full of no-copy animations have suddenly disappeared without a trace, which would cripple a club owner. An insurance system where you pay a few Lindens a month for the right to have an item like this replaced in the event of verified disappearance might be useful.

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Theresa Tennyson wrote:

I don't know about engaging a real-world firm to carry insurance because the values involved would realistically seldom be much higher than a standard deductable. I can see the possibility for SL insurance WITHIN SL for some things like expensive no-copy items though - for example, I've heard of many occasions where club dance balls full of no-copy animations have suddenly disappeared without a trace, which would cripple a club owner. An insurance system where you pay a few Lindens a month for the right to have an item like this replaced in the event of verified disappearance might be useful.

Yes it would.  The problem from an insurance companies point of view though is verification.  There really is no way to tell if the owner of insured property has it in their inventory or hid it somewhere in world like on a friends property.  You would have to have the asset UUID and then LL would have to verify that the item is no longer in the asset data base or in world.  I don't see that as something they'd want to get involved in.

There is also a high potential for fraud by the company too, collecting thousands and thousands of L's for insurance and then just running off with the money or denying most claims.  I am betting LL would want to make sure a RL legal insurance company backs the policies, just like they do for in world banks.

The other problem is that in the US, insurance is regulated at the state level, with each state having its own set of rules even down to what has to be and what can't be on the application.  The applicable law that has jurisdiction is based on where the insured person lives, not where the insurance company is.  So it takes a pretty sophisticated operation to keep up with all the laws and make sure your in compliance, and we are just talking the US here.  Now add in a couple hundred countries and it would take an army of lawyers.

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Theresa Tennyson wrote:

I don't know about engaging a real-world firm to carry insurance because the values involved would realistically seldom be much higher than a standard deductable. I can see the possibility for SL insurance WITHIN SL for some things like expensive no-copy items though - for example, I've heard of many occasions where club dance balls full of no-copy animations have suddenly disappeared without a trace, which would cripple a club owner. An insurance system where you pay a few Lindens a month for the right to have an item like this replaced in the event of verified disappearance might be useful.

A long time requested service from LL has been "inventory back up."

It has also been suggested as a "perk" for Premium Membership.  I am not a Premium member, I have no personal use for it right now.  But if it were offered it could be the thing that would tip the balance for me.

That would then be a form of "insurance" because I was paying for it.

As Virtual Worlds and MMO's grow maybe we will start seeing it offered.

Maybe for some of us it is hard to wrap our heads around people paying these kind of prices for virtual real estate but consider Entropia where some paid around $330,000US real dollars for a space station.

http://www.joystiq.com/2010/01/02/man-buys-virtual-space-station-for-330k-real-dollars/

http://www.bornrich.com/most-expensive-real-estates-from-the-virtual-world.html

 

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I often see it claimed that Mainland provides a type of insurance not available with Estates.  Because the Estates are owned by some unknown quantity that could vanish in the blink of an eye.  Whereas Mainland is owned by a know quantity who make you agree that they could vanish in the blink of an eye.

So yes and no.

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