Pokemon Go

Catch Pokemon safely? Online insurance ads target players in marketing gimmick

Agents from three major insurance companies in Hong Kong run Facebook ads offering coverage in case of any accidents of death

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 August, 2016, 9:05pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 August, 2016, 10:58pm

A major insurance company has asked one of their registered agents to remove a social media post promoting an insurance plan targeted at Pokemon Go players.

Dozens of Facebook posts ­associated with three major ­insurance companies appeared to promote accident insurance plans for Pokemon players in one form or another, offering ­coverage of up to HK$400,000 in case of any accidents or death.

One such post read: “Guaranteed protection for ­Pokemon trainers to catch Pokemon safely 365 days a year.” Jordan Sam, whose Facebook profile claimed he was a manager at Manulife in Macau, posted the offer on Sunday.

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A spokeswoman from ­Manulife however said they do not offer any insurance products using the name ‘Pokemon’.

“We asked the agent concerned to remove the post to avoid creating the impression [that] we have such a product,” she added.

It is unclear if the agent had breached any internal ­compliance guidelines by promoting a product not offered by Manulife. The company said they are investigating the matter. The post has since been removed.

Several more posts appeared to be linked to other major ­insurance companies in Hong Kong, including MassMutual Asia and Prudential.

A woman with the surname Liu, who claimed to be a manager of a MassMutual Asia office branch in Hong Kong, told a Post reporter who posed as a potential buyer through WeChat, that they were offering the plan. But Peter Yip, MassMutual Asia’s vice president in marketing, said: “We do not have any ­insurance plan ­specifically for ­Pokemon Go players.”

Prudential did not respond by press time.

This comes after an 18-year-old injured himself when he fell into a river in Tai Po while trying to retrieve his phone which had slipped out of his hand. He was playing the hit mobile game, a witness said.

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Jimmy Poon, a governing ­committee member of the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers, said the ­insurance plans offered on Facebook were just marketing ­gimmicks that merely repackaged a personal accident insurance plan.

“This product is not new. If someone went out to play Pokemon Go, or any other mobile game, during the T8 typhoon yesterday and got injured, a personal accident insurance plan would also cover their losses,” Poon said.

A survey conducted by Red Ocean Solutions, a Hong ­Kong-based mobile research company, showed that 16 per cent of 150 people polled were outdoors playing the game when ­Typhoon Nida struck on Monday evening.

Around 8 per cent ­reported bumping into other ­people, walls and objects.