Editorial, Opinion

EDIT: Bullying insurance

The South Korean government has somehow boiled all of the evils of the world down to four categories: bullying, domestic violence, rape and “adulterated” food products. Since President Park Geun-hye came into office last year, her goal has been to eradicate her country of these social evils. Her solution? Private insurance companies.

When did we enter a world where rape and consumption of spoiled meat are viable for the same type of compensation?

Hyundai Marine and Fire Insurance is set to offer new insurance plans in March. If someone can effectively prove they have been a victim of such social evils, they will receive counseling and medical bills.

The Hyundai Marine and Fire Insurance company has proposed this new insurance initiative because South Korea’s rapid economic growth has allegedly led to new social pressures within the country. Analysts say these “pressures” have induced higher rates of depression and suicide within the country.

According to a 2011 survey by the Education Ministry, more than 77,000 South Korean students said they had been bullied, 10 percent of which said they considered suicide as a result. And according to a 2012 report by The Wall Street Journal, the number of people charged for sexual violence rose by 38 percent in the span of four years. Statistics on the amount of “adulterated” food crimes, on the other hand, were difficult to find.

The magnitude and rate at which these “social evils” are occurring seems a lot more serious than anything a 20,000-won ($18) premium could fix. Although this type of insurance is a noble concept, it is unlikely that it will actually work in practice. Many bullying, rape and domestic violence stories often boil down to one story against another, and as a result, they are very difficult for the defendant for prove.

Yet, no matter the price one pays for insurance against bullying, sexual violence and, well, basically spam, these “evils” will still persist in society. Even if someone is financially protected, that does not mean they are automatically protected from any emotional or physical harm as well.

On the other hand, car insurance, medical insurance and travelers insurance make sense. They serve as good reassurance for all of our back-of-the-mind fears of an unexpected car collision, serious illness or any debacles we may find ourselves in across the border. However, it is difficult to imagine a kid refusing to go to school because they don’t have insurance protecting them against the bullies. In the same regard, a young adult isn’t going to refuse to go to a bar because the social damages they might develop from a potential rape aren’t covered by their premium.

Social evils happen, and that is just something we as a society must deal with in this world. Offering such insurance only makes people more afraid of the possibility of getting bullied, raped or possibly encountering tainted meat.

The fact that the South Korean government is even entertaining the idea of such an insurance policy highlights a major flaw in how this country deals with their social problems.


Just like the rest of us, South Koreans and their government need to realize that money is not always the answer. Institutional change is.


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