Fanatical players of Pokemon Go can now rest easy after an insurance company launched the world’s first policy to protect fans from injury while glued to their screens.
The incredible success of the augmented reality game has been marred by the number of people hurting themselves while walking into walls or crossing busy roads as they stare at their phones.
It has even been blamed for a death when a Japanese pensioner was run over by a 39-year-old farmer, whose attention was focused on Pokemon Go rather than the road.
But now an enterprising insurance worker in Mexico has come up with the world’s first Pokemon insurance policy.
Cristofer Cruz-Chousal said his company devised the policy based on the most common injuries related to Pokemon Go.
The game allows people to ‘catch’ the creatures in the ‘real world’ and became a huge international hit, sending tens of thousands of people scrabbling around the streets.
Unfortunately, the popularity of the app has been dimmed by reports of various injuries as well as players being targeted by callous thieves, who know where they will gather and simply wait for their unsuspecting victims to arrive.
Charging £16 a year, the insurance policy covers up to £800 in medical expenses, or £400 in funeral costs, should a Pokemon Go player suffer ‘personal injury, loss of limbs or death’ whilst playing the popular app.
‘It sounds crazy, but the number of injuries caused by Pokemon Go makes personal injury insurance a very sensible thing for regular players to have,’ said Cristofer, who came up with the idea for the Jiro y Asociados insurance firm in Mexico City.
‘We designed the policy around the top Pokemon-related accidents. The most-common injuries are getting run over, walking into trees and getting mugged.’
Named ‘Seguro Go’, the policy covers first-person medical expenses, and while it doesn’t protect a person’s smartphone against loss or robbery, the insurer asks for no proof that Pokemon Go was being played at the time of accidents claimed upon.
‘You could just as easily be on Facebook or WhatsApp when you obliviously walk across a busy motorway,’ said Cristofer.
‘Being completely oblivious to your surroundings is very dangerous and the policy also covers the possible legal battle should you get run over by another player while they are driving.’
The new policy was launched through a social media campaign to coincide with the Latin American release of the Pokemon Go app. One month on, the adverts on the company’s Facebook page have received more than two million views and 15,000 ‘likes’.
The social media campaign has also translated itself into good business for the insurer.
‘We currently have 80 clients signed up to the Pokemon Policy and a further 300 are being processed,’ Cristofer told MailOnline. ‘We had a far greater response to the policy’s release than we anticipated.’
Now a policyholder, 19-year-old Luis Angel Hernandez contracted the Pokemon insurance after a friend tagged him in the online post.
‘I have played and caught a lot of Pokemon, and also walked into a lot of walls, in the month since the app was released,’ he told MailOnline in a telephone interview from Mexico City. ‘It made sense for me to get insured if I’m not going to be deterred from playing.’
Another policyholder Ana Laura Nieves, 33, from northern Mexico, bought the yearlong policy after she saw the insurance advertised in the national media.
‘To be honest I have played a lot of Pokemon Go, and while nothing has happened to me, there have been a lot of close-shaves,’ she told MailOnline. ‘Since I bought the policy I have felt a lot safer, especially because my five-year-old daughter is starting to take an interest.’
Despite the Pokemon app’s launch screen containing a disclaimer for users to ‘remain aware of their surroundings’, the Pokemon Go app has caused accidents on a global scale since its release.
Since the app’s North America release, it has seen a 15-year-old hospitalised after obliviously straying onto a Pennsylvania motorway, two men fall 90 feet after ignoring unstable cliff warnings in San Diego, and an ex-marine drive his car into a tree, breaking his ankle, whilst attempting to catch a Lapras.
While the Mexican insurance policy’s social media campaign has been successful, it – unsurprisingly – has also drawn scorn from many online users.
‘You have to be an idiot to hurt yourself while playing Pokemon,’ commented Luis Alonso on the Facebook thread that has been shared over 7,500 times. ‘I’m a total Pokemon addict and I’ve never had any accident because my eyes aren’t always glued to the screen.’
‘We have had our fair share of ridicule,’ admitted Cristofer. ‘But part of the campaign was meant to raise awareness of the benefits of having insurance.
‘Only 12 per cent of Mexicans have any form of insurance at all and by targeting this policy at a younger audience through social media, we hope to promote the culture of insurance among the younger generation.’