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Insurance claims up 31% thanks to the metaverse

I'm gaming like a wrecking ball

Despite Facebook – sorry, "Meta" – throwing its weight behind the "metaverse", figures from Brit insurance giant Aviva suggest a virtual-reality headset is far from a necessary purchase if you like having nice things.

The insurer reckons home contents claims involving nerd goggles were up 31 per cent last year, commonly because someone punched their lovely 4K TV or cleared the mantelpiece of ornaments while enthralled by a VR game. Such claims have risen 68 per cent since 2016.

Aviva UK property claims director Kelly Whittington said: "As new games and gadgets become popular, we often see this playing through in the claims made by our customers. In the past we've seen similar trends involving consoles with handsets, fitness games and even the likes of rogue fidget spinners."

The average payout for accidental damage in 2021 was around £650, the insurer said, and usually due to TVs broken in the height of VR passion. One chap called up Aviva because he hurled a controller at the tube after a zombie jumpscare, but a kid was also said to have smashed two designer figurines on a mantelpiece performing a swiping move in a game.

Whittington added: "These devices can be a great source of fun, but we'd encourage people to be mindful of their surroundings and take a look at their home insurance to make sure it suits their needs."

Indeed, one does not have to look hard for examples of VR idiocy on the internet, and it is difficult to think of a compelling argument to take part in the technology for anything but a one-time novelty. A cursory tap of "vr accidents" in YouTube turned up the disasterpiece below, among hundreds of others, and the subreddit r/VRtoER allows users to submit their own mishaps.

Youtube Video

Facebook, which owns the Oculus brand of VR headsets, raised eyebrows towards the end of last year by rebranding as Meta, saying it would be investing in building "the metaverse" – kind of a virtual hellscape where users can both work and play. It's become a bit of a tech bandwagon with Nvidia, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung and more expressing interest in developing the concept.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: call us when it's like Ready Player One, or any number of sci-fi novels where people traverse a digital realm without managing to roundhouse kick the light fixtures.

Then again, this is also the industry that thinks NFTs are a cool idea. ®

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