Insurance for social ills...Teacher, what?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

This story, while somewhat weird, struck close to home for me after having lived and taught in South Korea for almost two years. As part of new President Park Geun-hye's efforts to address these pressing issues in South Korean society, Hyundai will now begin offering insurance for what have been dubbed the "four evils" of Korean society: bullying in school, adulterated food products, domestic violence, and rape.

"Municipalities would be able to take out insurance on behalf of its citizens, and schools would be able to do so on behalf of students," FSS non-life insurance division director Yoo Byung-soon told CNN.

"This insurance comes out of voiced needs to rescue those who cannot pay for insurance themselves," said Yoo.

Instead of payouts being customized on a case-by-case basis, a predetermined compensation will be given once the insured meet the necessary criteria, as laid out by the company and the government.

The new policy will also cover psychological damage to some extent -- a landmark move as insurance coverage for psychological services have been notoriously difficult to obtain in the past, to the point where it is widely believed that seeking psychological help will hurt insurance premiums and have a crippling impact on any future coverage.

Far from being a sales gimmick, the new insurance policy is a studied reflection of the issues facing modern South Korean society.
I certainly support measures to address these issues; obviously, as teachers, we constantly had to watch for and address bullying, and I know that sexual assault is highly stigmatized in Korean society as well. This seems like an innovative way to help institutions to provide treatment for victims, though it is uncomfortably reminiscent of the "rape insurance" debacle a few years back. I would like to see emphasis on prevention and public education as well.

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