It’s only been a few months since the term ‘metaverse’ sprang into existence, but we’re already convinced that for the insurance industry – and many others besides – metaverse adoption is essential. 

That’s why we’re conducting an increasing amount of our day-to-day business in a virtual space.

The metaverse has prompted a huge range of reactions since Mark Zuckerberg notoriously offered a glimpse of the digital worlds in which we will all soon be immersed – but it’s also prompted substantial business investment.

Just recently, Disney announced that it has carved out space for an executive to lead its metaverse strategy, describing the metaverse as “the next great storytelling frontier.”

More sober industries have taken similar steps, with JP Morgan offering customers the opportunity to bank in Decentraland, a space in which virtual land can be bought using cryptocurrency. 

The bank justified its decision in a report estimating that the market opportunity represented by the metaverse could be as high as $1 trillion in yearly revenues – and this is clearly a figure on the horizon for the likes of Meta, which has very publicly announced its intention to spend around £7.4 billion on the development of virtual reality technology.

In short, we’re in good company.

Of course, being early adoptees – in fact, we’re the first metaverse-ready insurance broker – there’s still a huge gulf between our current state and metaverse maturity. But crucially, we’re already seeing value added in terms of our internal operations, and the long-term gains will be incalculable.

No pain, no gain

Our metaverse experience has taught us that there are two barriers to adoption – lack of hardware and difficulties using that hardware.

In terms of metaverse adoption for the world at large, this is going to be the most noteworthy hurdle to surmount – at present, there are only around 26 million owners of VR headsets, and they’re largely used for gaming purposes.

However, this is an industry that’s expected to exceed $200 billion by the end of the year, and – as I’ve mentioned – Meta is clearly injecting the sector with valuable funds.

In fact, the VR market in 2022 is eight times larger than its 2018 counterpart, and this figure is only going to grow as the metaverse builds up steam.

This obstacle is, at any rate, one that doesn’t concern us at present. In the future, we certainly envisage client meetings in a virtual space – but, for the time being, our focus has been entirely on internal adoption.

In that context, the hurdles are much easier to surmount. Some of our colleagues may have taken a few attempts before they learned not to wander into their cats – or their televisions – while acclimatising to the world of VR, and we’ve had meetings in which some people’s headsets are more charged up than others.

These short-term pain points are well worth the trade-off, however, for the advantages that metaverse adoption brings to the table.

Are we all about to jump into the metaverse?

Advantages await

In fact, returning to the subject of meetings is a great way to illustrate how metaverse adoption is positively impacting our working culture.

We see the metaverse as a way to capitalise on the benefits of remote working culture while simultaneously eliminating the perceived disadvantages of working from home.

Our current routine involves colleagues joining a shared Horizon Workroom for around two hours per day – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – in which we just get on with our work.

This may sound a little bit humdrum – a bit workaday, perhaps – but that’s exactly the point. For us, VR isn’t a flashy gimmick; it’s a means of capturing elements of in-person work that we take for granted without sacrificing the comforts of home working (for employees) or the ability to hire the best people irrespective of location (for hubb as a whole).

No need for gravity

By hopping into our virtual space, new hires can ask a question without the rigmarole of organising a video call or disrupting anybody else’s flow – a glance upwards and a polite cough is all it takes (and, of course, it’s no bad thing that any coughing colleagues will be located hundreds of miles away!).

This is the beauty of the metaverse and its virtual worlds: whether we’re onboarding new hires or collaborating on a project, we don’t need to make compromises over in-person spontaneity versus inconvenient travel time and cost; we don’t need to choose between COVID safety and human contact.

We don’t even need to keep the gravity working.