'Four Evils' insurance comes to a South Korea grappling with social change

A South Korean woman takes part in a SlutWalk rally in Seoul on July 16, 2011. Dozens of South Korean women wore skimpy clothes and masks during the protest against sexual violence.

Is life so bad in South Korea that politicians have convinced an insurance company to offer protection against the “four evils?” No, not even.

Still, you have to wonder why Hyundai Marine and Fire Insurance plans to offer coverage later this year against bullying, domestic violence, sexual assault and “adulterated” food.

“We are not focusing on profit as we develop this new policy, but rather the social aspect of providing help to those who have been unable to receive (it) until now,” company representative Byung-ju Lee told CNN on Friday.

Premiums are to cost anywhere from $9 to $19 per month, with a maximum payout of about $930. 

The insurance came alongside President Park Geun-hye's efforts to address social ills and those struggling with their repercussions, according to BBC.

Depression and suicide rates are rising almost as quickly as South Korea’s wealth, BBC said, and that's created concern among politicians. Sexual assault and domestic violence are high for a developed nation like South Korea. Furthermore, some inside the nation are concerned South Koreans are losing touch with traditional foods in favor of imports.

Here’s a closer look at South Korea’s “four evils:”


(The government placed this statue to dissuade potential suicides at Mapo Bridge in Seoul, South Korea. PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Suicide was the leading cause of death among teens in 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported, and bullying was said to be a leading reason. So concerned is the government by school violence, it set up a website and hotline to offer support. Furthermore, 100,000 cameras populate school hallways in an effort to reduce violence, said to be 219 incidents reported daily in 2011.

Sexual Assault

(A South Korean woman takes part in a SlutWalk rally in Seoul on July 16, 2011. PARK JI-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images)

While sexual assault cases doubled over a decade beginning in 2002, convictions have declined over the same period, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported last year. Research from the Korean Women’s Development Institute found fewer than 85 percent of cases resulted in arrests. There’s a social stigma attached to women who report rapes or assaults, the WSJ said. The pressure to settle out of court (usually for cash) often comes from within the judicial system.

Domestic Violence

(Thousands of couples take part in a mass Unification Church wedding on Feb. 17, 2013 in Gapyeong-gun, South Korea. CHUNG SUNG-JUN/AFP/Getty Images)

Much like sexual assault, violence between spouses has received great attention from the South Korean government. Under rules announced last year, police team with counselors when called to domestic violence cases. It’s because South Korea has domestic violence rates five times that of nations such as Britain or Japan, the Korea Herald reported. The Herald cited stats that showed 15 percent of married women were abused in 2012.

“Adulterated Food”

(Thousands make Kimchi for the poor on Nov. 13, 2013, in Seoul, South Korea. CHUNG SUNG-JUN/AFP/Getty Images)

There are four little letters that explain “adulterated food” best: SPAM. It gained traction when protein was only regularly available on American military bases during the Korean War. Today, you can spend $75 on a holiday gift basket containing premium Spam.

Granted, the tinned meat isn’t the only reason food is mentioned alongside rape and suicide, but it symbolizes a changing culture to some. Maybe worse, while the Korean staple kimchi thrives with foodies around the world, Koreans are eating less of it while watching cheaper imports from China take over.

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