Pokemon Go - latest public liability risk

24 August 2016

Whilst most power stations are full of obscure and interesting equipment, the latest addition to many power stations have been charmanders, bulbasaurs and squirtles. The augmented reality game Pokemon Go has placed many apparent electric pokemon into power plants and electrical equipment. This has caused gamers to trespass onto private property to catch one of these virtual creatures.

Whilst there have been no casualties reported yet at the power stations, utility companies are concerned that there is an accident waiting to happen with more than 10 million users of the game wandering around catching these monsters. Distracted users could potentially electrocute themselves or wander on to private property.

Whilst the app warns players not to put themselves at risk, if it is not safe to capture the Pokemon, players have already made headlines with their ill judgement from falling off cliffs to entering live construction sites.

A nuclear plant run by US firm Dominion has issued warnings to employees about trespassers, but also employees themselves becoming dangerously distracted trying to catch the electrified Pokemon at their site.

To make sure companies are not liable over a video game induced accident on site they need to make sure that usual deterrents like fences and signs are even more visible to the public. Some companies have put up further cameras and guards to patrol Pokemon hotspots.

Whilst it is unclear at the moment where the liability would lie should a serious incident occur whilst someone is playing the game, companies should check to ensure that their insurance policies would respond to the following:

Property damage and business interruption

  • Cover for damage caused by trespassers
  • Loss of income due to damage caused by trespassers
  • Loss of revenue due to site being shut down for investigations following an accident.

Public liability

  • Injury to third parties whilst on the premises.

Employers’ liability

  • Injury to employees playing the game during work hours or whilst on the premises 
  • Injury to employees by third parties on the business premises trying to capture Pokemon.

Motor Insurance

  • Accident occurring whilst playing the game and driving a company vehicle. 

Cyber Liability

  • Inadvertent sharing of confidential information through pictures taken on phones
  • Access to company data if employees use company phones
  • Increased risk of hacking from malware.

For further information, please contact Vanessa Anniss, Account Executive on +44 20 7558 3927 or email vanessa_anniss@jltgroup.com

contact Vanessa Anniss
Renewable Energy Partner, JLT Specialty vanessa_anniss@jltgroup.com