Waffle Insurance on making gambling insurance a reality in North America
Gambling is a multi-billion dollar a year industry, but insurance companies have yet to exploit it as an expansive line of coverage. Its risks appear in other traditionally insured fields, meaning write coverage comes with well-established precedents, but gambling is not traditionally seen as a viable area of opportunity.
“Insurance has penetrated every industry except gaming,” said Waffle Insurance co-founder and CEO Qunetin Coolen (pictured below). “There are many technical and behavioral prevention methods that are useful for gamers, but there is no product that will protect against careless bugs or experienced hackers. That’s where we come in.”
Insurance Business spoke with Coolen about why Waffle Insurance has launched players’ insurance in the US, what types of coverage are offered to prospective players, and how the role of brokers will evolve along with changing consumer expectations. .
“There are so many opportunities in player coverage”
Coolen and his team at Waffle grew up playing video games, a formative childhood activity that matured into adulthood. “We all played PlayStation and Nintendo when we were young and we even have a gaming channel on Slack; it’s a world we know a lot about,” she said.
With the industry experiencing massive growth, especially during the pandemic years, there has also been an increase in data breaches, hacking, and other malicious activity. However, for players, there were no sophisticated or standardized insurance options to help safeguard their assets and finances, an area of great potential that Coolen and his colleagues wanted to enter.
“There are so many opportunities in player coverage,” Coolen said.
“More experienced gamers can spend tens of thousands of dollars a year on in-game purchases, creating a greater potential for targeted digital theft and a greater need to prevent attacks or help remedy a loss if it unfortunately occurs.”
Waffle has partnered with Blink by Chubb Cyber Insurance Protection to offer this new form of coverage, which is available in 44 US states.
“Many gamers wear headsets and chat with others when actively participating in a game, and it is in these conversations that personal information can leak out quite casually,” Coolen said.
“A more experienced hacker, who may be posing as an innocent participant, can use this information to hack an account, change the email address, and add multi-factor authentication, making it nearly impossible to recover.”
There is also the phenomenon of downloading cheat codes to boost a player’s success rate in a game, which has become quite widespread among less experienced professionals. These can have malware hidden in their code and can allow a hacker to wreak havoc quite easily.
“There is also the possibility that once threat actors have taken over these accounts, they may be put up for sale online for people to buy,” Coolen said.
While more experienced gamers may be aware of these risks and use preventative measures such as a VPN or multi-factor authentication, this does not guarantee that more sophisticated hackers cannot catch them during a moment of vulnerability or bypass established security measures. place.
In response, Waffle offers protection for electronic data that may have been looted and can be restored.
“Whether it’s identity theft, financial account protection, ransomware attacks or hardware threats, our coverage is broad and customizable,” Coolen said.
“It’s meant to address current risks, as we haven’t built a product for issues that aren’t a real threat.”
The next steps in preventive action
While Waffle is a relatively small insurtech operation, it has ambitions to further safeguard its clients’ assets through a greater focus on risk prevention methods.
“Our next phase is to partner with cybersecurity professionals to really strengthen our risk management capabilities,” Coolen said.
“We want to be able to encourage our customers across all lines of coverage to take the necessary steps to mitigate any potential threats or vulnerabilities.”
Coolen and his team have been looking to reward those who set up multi-factor authentication or provide help or resources setting up a VPN, which for their gaming clientele should be standard practice.
Brokers will take this equation into account by understanding the inherent risks of the game and imparting cyber-specific insights into how these protective measures should be paramount, further emphasizing the evolution the position is undergoing. “The role of the broker is maturing to become a more nuanced advisor on risk management,” Coolen said.
“It’s more than just a sales-oriented position, but they need to keep abreast of industry and market trends and be able to offer customers the products based on their unique profile, sort of like an Amazon algorithm.”
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