Love Island may have finished for 2018 but Fintech Love Island certainly hasn’t. So, we’ve dispatched our very own Alex Cherry, an intrepid insurance adventurer, to sunny Mallorca – to find out which Fintech Trends are hot … and which are not.

Armed with his widebrimmed hat and keen eye for Fintech magic, Alex arrives to find this year’s 10 Fintech Trends busy enjoying the summer sunshine at the Fintech Villa.

Bigdog acronyms AI and VR are floating in the shallow end of the pool, having dispatched API and P2P to fix them up some cocktails. Mobile Wallet and Gamification are playing volleyball against Blockchain and Robotics. And, under a distant palm tree, Chatbot and Roboadvisory are locked in a long, sangriafuelled debate about semantics.

As our 10 Fintech Trends line up on the terrace, here’s a bit of background on our man Alex.

Prior to his time as a judge on Fintech Love Island, Alex found gainful employment in a variety of contexts, including a donkey sanctuary and the insurance events industry. Most recently, at buzzvault, he’s been helping to right the wrongs of home and contents insurance, one household at a time.

Today he’s calling on all this experience to judge our 10 assembled Fintech Trends – based on, among other things, scalability, maturity, hypetoreality and customer impact. Let the judging begin!

#1 AI: Hottie

Financial services have become somewhat of a home away from home for AI and machine learning. With massive volumes of customer, market and risk data needing to be processed daily – upon which billiondollar decisions depend – it’s like Christmas came early for algorithms.

Take insurance for example: thanks to AI, underwriters can draw in real time from as many data sources as they care to, getting closer than ever before to the “real” price of risk, and even see accidents before they happen.

AI isn’t just being talked about in financial services, it’s actually happening – and I think we’ll all agree that that’s pretty hot.

#2 Gamification: Hottie

As our attention spans get shorter and shorter, we can’t just expect people to process raw information. Whatever we wish to convey must be cooked into some kind of game.

As a result of this, personal finance has got so fun that I can think of little else. Investment apps like Moneybox have made putting away the pennies as fun for adults as gathering bananas was erstwhile for Donkey Kong.

On the insurance side, a host of wearables and black boxes (and often just mobile apps plain and simple) promise to make pretty much every aspect of locomotion and nonlocomotion a game too, from sitting and reclining to jogging and driving.

If there’s a free coffee in it – or even a rebate on petrol – then it’s definitely worth doing.

#3 Mobile Wallet: Nottie

Leading the way on mobile wallets is India, where the market is set to grow by over 150% in the next 5 years, with transactions totalling $4.4 billion.

Adoption in the US and UK lags however. In a survey of 706 financial institutions run by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston at the start of this year, 80% reckoned industrywide adoption was 3 to 5 years away.

Close but no cigar.

#4 Blockchain: Hottie

Off its native terrain underpinning cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, the Blockchain has for some while been a bit of an Ugly Duckling. Endless talk about its applications left, right and centre, but scant action to talk of.

2018 may go down as a bit of a breakthrough year, then. Blockchain is not the full Swan yet by any means, but it’s got plenty of white feathers.

It’s making strides in Proptech, for example – next time your fourth cousin five times removed asserts ownership over your house, she’ll have to contend with a digital ledger that is not only immutable but distributed too.

Now let’s take commerciallines insurance. Carriers XL Catlin and MS Amlin, global shipping giant Maersk, EY and tech firm Guardtime recently banded together and launched an actual working prototype for blockchain in marine insurance.

And, last but not least, we have the personal lines. Looking to the future, our ambition is to take home insurance onto the blockchain – so there never needs to be any debate, ever again, about what’s covered, what you’re claiming on and what it’s all worth.

To check out our hyper-personalised home and contents insurance, download buzzvault on the app store or visit:

#5 Roboadvisory: Nottie

Until recently, roboadvisory was all the rage, with a clutch of new entrants seeking to disrupt wealth management, including Nutmeg (2011), Moneyfarm (2011) and Wealthify (2014).

However, adoption appears to have hit a temporary ceiling, with recent growth in assetsundermanagement due more to the uptick of the stock market and consolidation of existing accounts than to new customers.

Until we see more sustained massmarket adoption, we feel this is a trend it’s best to wait on.

#6 Chatbot: Nottie

I have tried, on many separate occasions, to have meaningful interactions with chatbots. And the problem isn’t with them – they are often surprisingly astute, endowed with an almost maternal intuition – the problem is with me. I just can’t prevent myself from plying them with nonsense, inanities and filth.

I’m clearly not alone. If Microsoft’s Tay is anything to go by, plenty of other people have had even less wholesome relationships with chatbots than I have. Designed to learn from what Twitter users tweeted at her, Tay fast became a raving, genocidal maniac that Microsoft was forced to shut down.

Every serious company and its auntie now has a chatbot. But research shows: large sections of your customer base actively dislike them.

Despite all this, chatbots are definitely here to stay, and they will definitely get better. But are they hot? Not since the lovely ELIZA in the summer of ’66.

#7 API: Hottie

Application Programming Interface. OK, this one is admittedly quite broad, with the “API economy” disrupting pretty much every sector, from public transport and windfarms to telecoms and shopping malls.

From a Fintech perspective, what particularly interests us here is the alluringly entitled Open Banking Initiative, whereby banks are to make customer data available via APIs to thirdparty apps and service providers of the customer’s choosing.

This unlocks, among other things, a richer service on comparison sites, personalised offers from retailers and insights on customers’ spending, saving and financial health.

In the past it seemed the banks had the customer around their chubby fingers. Now banks will have to work innovatively with startups to provide added value to their customers. Personal finance just got a damn sight more interesting!

#8 VR: Nottie

There may be a few niches where VR makes sense for Fintech – witness the BioBall game pioneered by Health Insurer Cigna and Microsoft HoloLens as a remote means to gather customers’ vital stats.

Aside from this, VR mainly appears as a bellsandwhistles extension of customer selfservice, as we see with PNB MetLife’s conVRse platform or BNP Paribas’ VR Banking Apps.

This seems pretty impressive … But, in a world where we can interact with brands via our mobiles, and where even having to boot up our laptops is often seen as too inconvenient, can we really expect a mainstream audience to go to the bother of whacking on a VR headset to check their bankaccount details? Probably not.


#9 Robotics: Hottie

Out of all our Trends, Robotics is the least sexy by a mile – and he doesn’t make up for this with heart or humour, or even with a good back story.

Yet, with silent and unflappable perseverance, he is working his way through every branch of every department of every sector of financial services. He’s probably at it right now, somewhere in your building …

Take insurance for instance, which has traditionally had high backend costs, representing the bloat of paperwork and manual processes. With Robotic Process Automation (RPA) now viable for large swathes of underwriting, claims and frauddetection work, insurers are gradually moving towards a leaner model: management by exception.

The eyes are drawn all too easily to fancy AIpowered pricing, or even IoT initiatives promising to eliminate claim events before they happen. But with such a high percentage of the typical insurance premium made up of admin costs, a greater costsaving can be passed on to consumers – at least in the near term – by engaging in a bit of RPA.

While our other Trends are too busy being admired by the pundits to notice, we’ve the sneaking suspicion that Robotics could eat everyone’s lunch – a dark horse for the winner’s cheque.

#10 P2P: Nottie

PeerToPeer has made waves as an insurance buzzword. The idea is laudable: replace today’s broken model (insurance by The Man) with something spangly and new (insurance by The Peers).

The thing is, the brokenness of today’s insurance is not necessarily to do with the model of insurance we’re experiencing. And the reinvention we’re talking about already exists under the ageworn, less techhippy moniker: mutuality.

You might instinctively point to Lemonade as a P2P success story – but has Lemonade ever really been P2P?

Within Lemonade’s model, peer groups exist for the dissemination of underwriting profits to different charitable causes but that’s it. In fact, P2P was seen as a sufficiently poor descriptor of what Lemonade does that the company dropped the P2P angle from their marketing way back at the start of 2017.*

Genuine P2P Insurtechs do exist but the going can be tough, with a steep hill to climb in terms of adoption and scalability – as witnessed by the collapse of UKbased P2P Insurtech Guevara in late 2017.

A cool idea – but there’s enough work to be done tinkering with the execution of insurance as we know it without trying to tinker with its essence as well.

*we think Lemonade is a great Insurtech company btw and this is why.



So, those are our ten Fintech Trends: 5 hotties and 5 notties. Who will be crowned the hottest Fintech couple of 2018?

As our Trends disperse, Alex wipes his brow and notes something down in his clipboard. Judging sure is thirsty work, and it’s time for a cool drink and a game of dominoes in the shade.

Join us for next week’s instalment of Fintech Love Island, where our man Alex will reveal our finalists.

# 2 Fintech Love Island – Introducing our Finalists

Welcome back to Fintech Love Island. Earlier this week we flew to sun-caressed Mallorca to check out our 10 Fintech Trends competing to be the hottest of the hot: AI, Gamification, Mobile Wallet, Blockchain, Roboadvisory, Chatbot, API, VR, Robotics and P2P.

Today we are holed up, along with our 10 Fintech Trends, in the lounge of the Fintech Villa, beset with all manner of fans and water-coolers lest the heat further sap our decision-making powers.

Now let’s get one thing straight – all ten of these Fintech Trends are magnificent specimens, as well-toned in heart and spirit as they are in body. However, every dream summer holiday must come to end, and Fintech Love Island is no exception. It’s time to give our avid, zombified viewers exactly what they’ve been waiting for: a winning Fintech Couple.

In our previous post we determined, rigorously and beyond all reasonable doubt, that Mobile Wallet, Roboadvisory, Chatbot, VR and P2P are… not hot. Or at least not as hot as the other Trends. As these five notties are bundled off the premises, we turn to our 5 remaining Trends:

  • AI
  • Gamification
  • Blockchain
  • API
  • Robotics

Surviving acronyms AI and API exchange a furtive look of complicity; robotics remains impassable as ever, as impervious to pressure as he is to joy; and in the background, the whirring of a fan.

The near-silence is broken by the jingle of a mobile phone. Someone forces their way through the thronged camera crews with a handwritten note for the judges.

The producers, it appears, have a strict No Threesome Policy and are insisting that the judging proceed on a couple-by-couple basis. A memo from the Audience Insights Manager is attached as well, pointing out that the gross preponderance of acronyms within Fintech engenders great bewilderment and confusion, and that this could be responsible for the low levels of engagement detected in certain key audience segments.

API has got the shakes all of a sudden and keeps trying to catch AI’s eye – but AI is intent on staring straight forwards and will not be deterred.

Application Programming Interface versus Artificial Intelligence … there could only really be one winner. The heavies are waiting in the wings and, at the nod of the judges, descend on poor API, who, kicking and screaming, vanishes through a side door.

This leaves us with two Fintech Couples: AI & Blockchain on the one hand, and Gamification & Robotics on the other. Let’s size them up:


Fintech Trends #1: AI & Blockchain**

AI is no spring chicken – but, after many years of flighty bachelordom (or the AI Winter as those in the know tend to call it), he finally appears ready for something more substantial.

And people having been whispering for a while that 2018 could be Blockchain’s year. We may finally see commercialised use cases outside of cryptocurrencies, where she is undisputed queen.

Fintech Trends #2: Robotics & Gamification**

Robotics is possibly our most promiscuous Trend. Whenever there’s a business process, which, ahem, needs improving, you can count on him being somewhere close by, sniffing around with that robot nose of his.

As for Gamification, well, the name says it all really. Whether we’re talking gameplay, challenges, targets or continuous mobile engagement, consumers can’t get enough of her in 2018.


** We would like to add that the construction of our Trends as heterosexual couples is for parodistic purposes only, rather than as a statement of gender norms. At buzzvault, we have a firm commitment to inclusion irrespective of gender or sexual orientation.

Our two Fintech Couples will now leave the Fintech Villa to spend the weekend in their respective Fintech Chalets.

The chalet concept was something we came up with as a means of giving our Trends a more peaceful, secluded environment where they can get to know each other a bit better whilst remaining under uninterrupted 24-hour CCTV surveillance.

So, AI & Blockchain rise from their sofa and, hand-in-hand, walk down the steps of the Fintech Villa, at the bottom of which a tastefully upholstered limo awaits them. Their chalet sits on the magnificent Playa del Cangrejo Enajenado on the south coast, where under the full moon turtles crawl onto the shore for their once-yearly breeding.

As AI & Blockchain are whisked away to their private beach, Robotics & Gamification are heading to the helipad round the back of the Fintech Villa. Their chalet is in the hills, up on the East face of the picturesque Montaña del Gran Armiño. Awaiting them once they arrive is a selection of locally – and sustainably – sourced tapas.

In our two follow-up posts, we’ll check in on each of our Fintech Couples to see how they’re getting on. As with any relationship, what we’re looking for is a complementary fulfilment of needs – our winning couple must be greater than the sum of its parts.

Join us next week then, where – first up – we’ll be catching up with Robotics & Gamification. Fintech power couple or match made in hell? There’s only one way to find out …

Get hyper-personalised home and contents insurance with buzzvault. Find us on the app store or visit:

#3 Fintech Love Island: Gamification and Robotics

Today we catch up with Fintech Couple Gamification and Robotics to see how they’re enjoying their romantic week together in the mountains of Mallorca.

Everything started a couple of weeks back, at the Fintech Love Island Villa, where our 10 Fintech Trends were living it large under the Mallorcan sun. Alas, in our first-round judging, we had to wave goodbye to Mobile Wallet … to Roboadvisory, to Chatbot and VR … to P2P and API, while our two sets of finalists – AI & Blockchain and Gamification & Robotics – headed off to their respective chalets for the final round.

It would without doubt be bracing to strap on our walking boots and stride up the picturesque Montaña del Gran Armiño, where Fintech Couple Gamification and Robotics are enjoying a romantic week together in their hillside chalet. But we don’t have to.

The wonders of 24-7 TV surveillance mean that we can give our viewers all the answers that they want and need without having to set foot out of the concrete-clad security of the Fintech Love Island Studio.

Here’s a quick recap on our first set of finalists… **

Robotics is possibly our most promiscuous Trend. Whenever there’s a business process, which, ahem, needs improving, you can count on him being somewhere close by, sniffing around with that robot nose of his.

As for Gamification, well, the name says it all really. Whether we’re talking gameplay, challenges, targets or continuous mobile engagement, consumers can’t get enough of her in 2018.

** We would like to add that the construction of our Trends as heterosexual couples is for parodistic purposes only, rather than as a statement of gender norms. At buzzvault, we have a firm commitment to inclusion irrespective of gender or sexual orientation.

So, how are Gamification and Robotics getting on? Did our Fintech lovebirds hit it off – or have they laid an egg? Check out our video diary of their week:

Day 1: The Joyous Arrival

Our Trends arrive, by helicopter, just as the sun is dipping under the crests of the mountains. Their pinewood chalet, situated on the beautiful East side of the Montaña del Gran Armiño, offers plenty of fresh air, rugged walks and great views down the valley.

Laden with baggage, the Trends walk down the gravel path from the helipad to the chalet entrance and pass through the front door.

Robotics is first into the kitchen, where he immediately and silently automates the welcome tapas out of existence, in seconds, before falling back into the catatonic state he’s inhabited for the duration of the journey.

Gamification, who was all geared up for a nice big bowl of patatas bravas, looks truly disgusted. And that’s that: she’s taking herself off to bed. Things certainly haven’t got off to the best start …

Day 2: Gamification of Auto Insurance

We join our Trends in the outdoor pool. Robotics, steeped in taciturnity, ignores – or maybe doesn’t even hear – Gamification’s increasingly blunt questions. And now she’s getting a volleyball and throwing it … but it bounces of the side of Robotics’ head.

That’s enough for Gamification, it would appear. She climbs out of the pool, dries herself down and heads off to do something more fun. And what could restore her mood more quickly and effectively than a cheeky session of Telematics for Auto insurance.

Granted, that sounds like the least fun activity ever. But this is where Gamification comes in. Indeed, this was where, way back in her salad days, she made her Fintech debut – turning auto insurance from a sector that reacts to risk into a sector that manages it proactively. So how did she do this? By making driving into a game.

Humans have a natural penchant for competition and learning through play. Give them a chance to earn a reward – either a direct reduction in their auto premium or a benefit in kind – by meeting certain driving targets, and they will make themselves better drivers than any instructor could.

Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) promises customers policies that reflect the changing, self-improving state of their driving as measured by a black box or app. This doesn’t just unlock a key point of differentiation for auto insurers – both in terms of price and in terms of customer engagement – but saves lives by raising overall standards of road safety. Not too shabby!

The UBI approach isn’t limited to Auto insurance but is also being trialled in the home with companies like Neos selling in suites of smart devices – such as leak detectors, motion sensors and smoke alarms – with home insurance policies.

However, reckless housekeeping is harder and more expensive to detect, as well as being less predictive of claim costs, than reckless driving. At buzzvault we have a slightly different approach. Rather than continuously monitoring the state of a customer’s home, we create a point-in-time record of their house and possessions through mobile video. Fancy a home and contents policy that reflects not industry averages but the things you actually own? Then why not give our beta a whirl.

Anyway, according to a study by McKinsey, UBI market penetration currently does not exceed 17% in any country, with most markets displaying negligible uptake. Adoption will be driven by further use of apps and game elements – but the UBI movement isn’t solely about Gamification, it sits at the confluence of several Fintech Trends.

As sensors get cheaper and more ubiquitous, insurers get greater access to data from IoT (IoT was down to compete in this year’s Fintech Love Island but had to withdraw last-minute due to illness). This data is the material from which insurers can fashion detailed pictures of customers’ driving and understand how different controllable parameters affect driving outcomes.

To process all this data and extract the insights buried inside it, insurers are increasingly turning to AI, who is of course one of our other finalists on Fintech Love Island (currently sojourning along with partner Blockchain on the Playa del Cangrejo Enajenado, where we’ll be headed in our next post).

Finally, it goes without saying that UBI demands a fair bit of Robotics. Driving data goes in and outcomes must come out, often in near real time, including scores, prices, incentives, recommendations and even fully-fledged driving reports. And if we want to see any of this at scale, we need to eliminate manual processes, which is Robotics’ forte.

UBI is a good example of how Gamification and Robotics can effectively complement each other. Perhaps, in spite of the tapas incident, things can still work out for our Fintech Couple …

Day 3: More Tapas

Gamification awakes early on Day 3 to find a new consignment of tapas waiting on the doorstep in a large cardboard container.

In case you’re wondering how it got there, well, it was delivered by Drones. Drones, an important Fintech Trend in his own right, unfortunately didn’t make the cut for this year’s Fintech Love Island, but we did agree that he could make a cameo appearance if he wanted to. So, to give him his due – and his 15 minutes of fame – here is a little background on the man himself.

Drones – sometimes called Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) – was born way back in 1849 when the Austrians attacked Venice with aerial balloons. And until recently much of his life had been lived in a similarly bellicose vein. But now he’s doing the hard yards in logistics and, perhaps surprisingly, insurance – as a cheaper and more accurate way to assess large claims like property damage.

Anyhow, back to the tapas. This isn’t any old tapas of course, it’s 100% sustainably sourced tapas – and doesn’t Gamification know it. With commensurate glee she sweeps it off the doorstep and bears it through into the kitchen.

As we well know, you cannot enjoy patatas bravas without a sprig of rosemary. It is for precisely these moments of need that we designed the Montaña del Gran Armiño chalet with a built-in herbarium round the back. Gamification skips gaily back out through the front door just as Robotics – more a night owl than an early bird – is sluggishly making his way from the bedroom down the staircase.

Having shuffled to the kitchen table, he begins, slowly and methodically, to prise the cardboard lid off the tapas (this is admittedly a bit of a curveball as the welcome tapas came ready-served). Gamification arrives in the doorway just in time, silhouetted against the morning splendour.

A sunbeam passes over the contents of the box (chorizo, wild mushrooms and patatas bravas are momentarily visible), Gamification makes as if to speak, brandishing her rosemary, and it’s gone.

In fact, Robotics can confirm that it went x14 times faster than the batch he automated away on Day 1. By the end of the week, he reckons he may be able to process tapas in less than 3 seconds – so Lemonade’s Claimbot Jim, who is known to enjoy his manchego, had better watch out!

Gamification is struggling to hold it together. To be deprived of eagerly anticipated patatas bravas – or chips, as we call them in the UK – once is bad enough. But twice in a single week is too much for even the hardiest of constitutions.

The mood in the chalet has sunk to a new low… Let’s see whether our Fintech Trends are able to turn things around in the second half of their week together …

Day 4: Gamification of Spending, Saving and Investments

It’s a drizzly day today on the Montaña del Gran Armiño. Robotics rocks in a wicker chair digitising old guest-book entries, which, for all his great eye for handwriting, he doesn’t actually understand. A red-eyed Gamification stares out through a steamed-up window and gently, gently weeps … No chance of any auto telematics or UBI today, from the look of the weather.

But all is not lost – Gamification has other ways to console herself.

Another part of Fintech where she’s been busy working her magic is spending, saving and investments.

Now, let it not go unsaid that there are cases where Gamification has been very bad for our financial wellbeing. Gamers nowadays are moved to spend in excess of $15 billion per year on items that don’t really exist (“virtual goods” in the ever-euphemistic parlance of accountants). And then we have those tales of addiction, depravity and ruin at the blood-soaked hands of the Candy Crush Saga.

But Gamification is making amends, using her tyrannical powers to further not spending but saving. In fact, Rob Kapito, cofounder of asset-management leviathan BlackRock, reckons Gamification is key to getting more millennials to invest.

“Millennials want to game. It’s a game society,” he says. “What we need to do is find the financial game that makes people feel comfort and safety. The winners, in my opinion, are going to be the people who have that game, have the technology, and have the brand.”

Thanks to the Open Banking Initiative in the UK, third parties can now access your banking data (with your consent of course), which creates a whole new ecosystem for gamified innovation in personal finance – including saving apps like Moneybox, Emma, Yolt, Chip, Plum and Squirrel.

Much of the success of gamification here relies not upon contriving elaborate game rules but on creating a game-like look and feel.

Take UK mobile-only Atom Bank for instance, which lets customers personalise their banking experience with a logo, name and colours of their choosing. And it’s not just new players gamifying banking. Spanish bank BBVA (also an investor in Atom) developed an online game encouraging adoption of its digital platform as early as 2013.

If only API hadn’t been sent home after the first round, she could be spending a far superior week with him, thought Gamification to herself.

Day 5: The Fishing Trip

This is the part where we molest our Fintech Couple with a totally unbearable joint activity, which in today’s case – and with the blessing of our corporate sponsor – is fishing.

As anyone who has ever clasped a rod must know, fishing is a sport designed to be as infuriating as possible. And doing it in the Cascada del Gran Armiño doesn’t make it any more enjoyable, it just makes it more Spanish.

This is a game which is as counterintuitive as anything, and involves a lot of string, maggots and getting wet. And the reward, for anyone who is willing to regress to an earlier stage of civilisation before lunch, is a small slimy fish we don’t know what to do with. Gamification, kitted out with waders and a hi-tech plastic worm, looks unimpressed.

But, for the first time in their whole week together, Robotics has emerged from his native torpor and is taking a lively interest in the angling equipment.

He’s a bit all over the place right now to be honest – he’s currently trying it out with the wrong end of the rod – but if there’s one thing we know about Robotics, it’s that he is untiring, imperturbable and learns from each and every mistake he makes.

He catches his first fish at 4.02pm – without so much as a fist pump to mark the culmination of five hours’ endeavour. His tenth fish comes in at 4.04pm and suddenly, in no time at all, we have a veritable mound, writhing and flashing silver in the late-afternoon sunshine.

Robotics reckons that, given enough practice, he can automate any routine or rules-based exercise.

For this reason, finance has always been a happy hunting ground of his, starting with the world’s first ATM (Automated Telling Machine) back in 1967. And, with corporate finance teams still spending 80% of their time manually gathering, verifying and consolidating data, it’s no surprise that Robotics continues to lick his lips at the sector – with the potential to replace 230,000 roles in finance as a whole by 2025.

Meanwhile, he’s already replaced the entire fish stock of the Cascada del Gran Armiño and lined it up in a series of neat stacks on the bank. And still he labours on, in an ever tighter, ever swifter cycle of movements.

We can only thank God that there’s no direct access to the ocean here, or we’d have a problem on our hands.

Day 6: Gamification of Health Insurance and Wellness

When she opens the bedroom window, Gamification is almost knocked over by the smell of putrefying fish emanating from the bank of the adjacent and now barren Cascada del Gran Armiño.

She glowers at the still-sleeping Robotics and makes her way downstairs. The foetor has invaded the kitchen too (Spanish for draft-excluder, anyone?), and soon Gamification feels rather unwell. Very unwell. Actually, closer to death than when she was officially pronounced dead on TechCrunch back in 2014.

But every cloud – even a cloud of fishy putrefaction – has a silver lining. For from all these thoughts of unwellness it is but a small step to thoughts of wellness. And this is precisely the track Gamification’s mind has gone down. The wellness industry is where, after all, she has done some of her most satisfying work.

While drinking games are responsible for approximately 113 million deaths a year, there is mounting evidence that games can also make us live longer, or at least more healthily – and change our whole approach towards health insurance to boot.

Take Vitality for instance. Rather than having to sink a pint every time someone starts a sentence with a conjunction, all you’ve got to get through is a weekly “handcrafted” drink from Starbucks if, by some horrid mischance, you complete a certain number of steps.

If you’ve ever played arcade games, you’ll be used to seeing your avatar’s stats flashed up on the screen at the end of a level – distance traveled, points gathered, skills unlocked etc. Now, thanks to wearable-supported insurance programmes like those pioneered by the likes of Vitality, our corporeal selves can get in on the action too.

Vitality’s well-caffeinated members can theoretically get themselves an Apple Watch for free, and US health insurer Aetna has been in discussions with Apple about integrating smart watches into its programmes as well. Which is all great news for the gamification of health insurance.

However, some have questioned the relevance of commonly captured stats – like steps taken – to our overall health picture. Then, there remain actuarial question marks as well: do the demonstrated benefits of wearable programmes represent a genuine improvement in members’ health, which could be replicated across society, or a pesky self-selection effect?

We’re likely to see a move away from a brittle reliance on single measures towards a more holistic view of customer wellness. Health targets and recommendations will draw on a larger range of data points and an individual’s unique circumstances, rather than the Tyranny of Steps. And, just as was the case with Auto Insurance in our previous post, this data-in, data-out engine of personalisation will only work at scale with a healthy dose of … Robotics.

Societal boon or marketing gimmick, gamified health insurance is here to stay and will be helped along by the massive growth in wearable tech covering pretty much any health parameter you care to name.

According to Market Research firm CCS Insight, 2020 will see the sale of 411 million smart wearable devices – representing $34 billion in sales and thousands more joggers coming to a pavement near you.

Day 7: The Fake Party

No edition of Love Island – be it with tangerine-coloured celebrities, tangerine-coloured members of the public or our very own tangerine-coloured Fintech Trends – would be complete without our contestants pretending to have a party on the last night, in broad daylight, without so much as a J2O to be seen.

As our Trends boogie for the camera with dead eyes and deader hearts, now is the perfect time to reflect on the week that was.

So, what did we glean? Do Gamification and Robotics make each other whole? Are they more together than the sum of their individual parts?

It’s clear that Gamification needs Robotics in order to scale – whether we’re talking auto telematics, saving & investment apps or health insurance, he’s been there facilitating in the background, somewhere, and we don’t want to rain on any of these parades with too many manual processes.

However, Gamification is a busy lady with a whole host of suitors, including for starters AI, IoT and API. In fact, she’s been secretly texting API about Open Banking all week.

On the other side of the table we have Robotics. How shall we put this? He’s not really an ideas sort of guy, and he doesn’t seem to care a great deal about anything, let alone his romantic partner. He could just as easily couple up with a nice Chatbot or make himself at home with a Mobile Wallet as stick with Gamification.

As long as there are manual or rule-based processes to automate away, he’s content to sit soundlessly in the corner minding his own deeply disturbing and uncanny business.

Taking all these factors into account, we’re giving this Fintech couple a 5/10 rating. Join us for our next post, where we lift the lid on our other pair of finalists, Blockchain & AI, over on the Playa del Cangrejo Enajenado.

Have they enjoyed their getaway together more than today’s couple? And which one will wear the Fintech Love Island crown? Stay tuned!

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