Founder of indie development team, Serellan and design director on Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Christian Allen, released a tweet stating that his company was recently rejected for insurance due to the “violent nature of the games” they are producing. The full email Allen received was displayed in the tweet and is re-posted below:
“I am responding to your email dated November 12th and to your voicemail message this morning. We have made some phone calls and, unfortunately we do not have a market that will offer a premium proposal for your operations. This is due to the violent nature of the games you are producing.”
As the Serellan is still fairly new, they have to date only released one title; a tactical first person shooter called Takedown: Red Sabre. While due to the nature of the genre the game does contain violence, it is no more violent than your average FPS and contains little gore.
The company was insured with premium tech insurance, insuring them against lawsuits if someone is unhappy with their product, through the Hanover Group until spring of this year when they took a brief hiatus. When they asked their broker to help them with obtaining a new insurance plan, they reported that companies were not interested in offering even basic cover due to the notably minimal violence depicted.
Fortunately, after contacting a different broker Serellan was able to secure insurance through a new company, though this came at a higher cost than their old policy, and the delays cost the team time and money as well as putting some development work on hold.
The news that insurance companies are refusing to insure development teams based on the content of their games comes at a time when Target and Kmart Australia, as well as the Warehouse Group in New Zealand removed the popular title Grand Theft Auto V from their shelves due to the violence against women the game portrays. The Women’s Front in Norway has initiated a similar proposal to get the game removed from stores, though so far none have agreed.
I have reached out to the Hanover Group for comment as to the motivations for this refusal, but as of publishing they are yet to respond.