The income umbrella (AP photo/Charles Dharapak)

Children are different these days.

Well, OK, not that different really. They still play with dolls and stuffed animals up until a certain age, then they hide that stuff away when friends make fun of them for it, but still really play with Barbie and Bear when no one’s looking.

But kids also play a computer game called Minecraft that involves locating resources, such as gold and iron, and using those resources to build elaborate houses, castles and other structures.

Minecraft seems to create many risk management teaching moments.

Maybe someone involved in the creation of the game has a day job as an actuary.

Maybe one of those actuaries who specialize in writing scary reports about natural disasters and mass terrorism incidents.

Hostile mobile entities — and nasty live-human players — are always breaking into game worlds and destroying the carefully-created buildings. Sometimes, when the owners of the servers have to clean out old and corrupted files, beautiful castles that took weeks to create simply disappear.

Characters called creepers come in and take away the players’ lives.

Insurers might as well just set up shop and start taking game money in exchange for Minecraft personal life and property protection. Insurers could soon end up with an awful lot of Minecraft money.

Maybe there’d be a way to build some awareness of income protection into the game.

If, say, insurers set up a great Minecraft server where rotten, no good kids couldn’t simply burn down other kids’ castles, and they added some banana peels, or slippery flowers, or whatever, that took away players’ ability to earn Minecraft money — unless the players had insurance — maybe that would introduce children to the idea that there’s more to personal risk management than having property insurance and life insurance.

Who knows? If the insurer Minecraft server managers made their server interesting enough and realistic enough, with the help of the kinds of researchers who know how to create computer simulations to test economics and marketing concepts, maybe insurance product design researchers could even use Minecraft to test product and underwriting ideas on cheerful little members of Generation Z, who, really, are just trying to protect their ability to earn gold from those terrible Creepers and banana peels.

See also: