The Korea Herald


Schools to get wider insurance coverage


Published : Oct. 16, 2011 - 20:07

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Accidents increase 11% to 77,496, damages rise 16.3% to 22 billion won

School insurance coverage for accidents in elementary, middle and high schools will expand to activities off campus and the general public from next year.

Currently, school insurance covers accidents inside school and is paid only to students and teachers. From 2012, all persons injured inside or outside schools during educational activities will be covered, the Education Ministry said Sunday.

For example, a passer-by hit by a soccer ball or a third-party who is hurt during a school class trip would be covered by insurance, said an official declined to be named.

The number of reported school accidents is increasing. A total of 77,496 accidents occurred in 2010, up 11 percent from 2009, according to data provided by the ministry to Rep. Lee Sang-min of the Liberty Forward Party.

With the increase in accidents, damages also increased by 16.3 percent to 22.8 billion won, with over 85 percent of accidents bringing awards of 500,000 won ($430) or less.

Damages exceeded 10 million won for 82 cases.

Accidents were most frequent in elementary schools, followed by middle and high schools in that order. Elementary schools reported 27,401 accidents in 2010, up 12.6 percent from 2009.

Under the new insurance scheme, a third party injured during school activities will be able to receive up to 100 million won from Korea School Safety, a public agency in charge of school insurance.

All schools are required to be insured by the agency. Insurance premiums are covered by the government. The ministry is expected to spend an additional 2.3 billion won to extend insurance coverage and provide additional support in 2012. About 46 percent of schools have third-party insurance this year.

Expanded school insurance is expected to create an environment where teachers can best conduct school activities and focus on teaching without being burdened by extra work dealing with accidents, ministry officials said.

Upon school request, the KSS will consult victims, suggest settlement or arbitration. Or it will file a lawsuit and provide protection for teachers with body guards when victims make unexpected disturbances at school.

“In some cases, teachers say they suffer stress when they have to handle accidents all the way with victims,” said an official declined to be named.

The ministry also has improved accident compensation to the families of people who die in school accidents.

“We expect teachers to be able to focus on teaching under the new school insurance system,” said officials.

The government also required kindergartens to be registered with the public insurance system. A total of 3,415 accidents including 12 deaths occurred in kindergartens in 2010.

By Lee Woo-young  (