South Korea firm to sell 'bullying insurance'

  • 7 February 2014
  • From the section Asia
A picture of a boy holding his head with his hands
Image caption A government survey said more than 77,000 school pupils said they had been bullied

One of South Korea's biggest insurance firms has offered the country's first policy against bullying.

Hyundai Marine and Fire Insurance says it will introduce the new scheme later this year.

It will also insure against three other "social evils" - domestic violence, sexual assault and food contamination.

There have been several high profile cases of bullying in South Korea in recent years, some of them linked to adolescent suicides.

In the event of a successful claim, payments will go towards counselling and medical bills.

The policies will be sold to institutions, not individuals.

Image caption South Korea's president has launched a campaign against the four "social evils"

Until now, the company says, it has been difficult for victims to get compensation, even when complaints have been widely reported against perpetrators.

The new insurance policies are linked to a campaign launched by South Korean President Park Geun-hye, to root out the four social problems.

Analysts say that South Korea's rapid economic rise has led to new social pressures, along with high rates of depression and suicide.

Hyundai Insurance says it does not expect to make a profit from the new scheme.

"This is for the public good" a spokesman said, "and we're expecting a lot of claims".

Monthly premiums would be a maximum of 20,000 won ($18; £11), but the FSC said it would raise joint funds with municipalities to pay premiums for those unable to afford them.

According to a survey conducted by the Education Ministry last year, more than 77,000 school students of all ages said they had been bullied, with nearly 10% of those saying they had considered suicide.

Almost 140 South Korean school students killed themselves in 2012, mostly as the result of family problems, exam stress and bullying.

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