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Insurers begin compensation for N. Korea's trash-filled balloons

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The windshield of a car in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, is smashed by a waste-fillled balloon that was launched from North Korea, June 2. Yonhap

The windshield of a car in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, is smashed by a waste-fillled balloon that was launched from North Korea, June 2. Yonhap

By Yi Whan-woo

Insurance companies have begun to cover losses suffered by subscribers whose cars were damaged by North Korea's trash-filled balloons sent over the demilitarized zone in its latest provocation, according to industry sources, Wednesday.

The case is noteworthy, as insurance companies are not responsible for compensating damage caused by war or provocations from outside forces.

"It appears insurance companies debated over whether to offer compensation to customers," an insurance industry source said, noting Pyongyang's balloon offensive was a new form of provocation.

In the insurance industry, damage caused by war or military provocations is not entitled to compensation.

Under the circumstances, local media reported that a car insurance company offered 330,000 won in compensation to a subscriber in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, after the windshield of the subscriber's car was smashed by one of the hundreds of trash-filled balloons from the North on June 2.

The repairs cost 530,000 won ($385).

The insurance firm covered 330,000 won under the contract that stipulates the policyholder should pay for a minimum 200,000 won of the damage while the insurer will cover the remaining expenses.

"It marks the first case of a car insurance policyholder receiving benefits concerning damage caused by the North's balloon offensive," the source said.

For privacy reasons, the source declined to give further details on the insurance company and the beneficiary.

Also declining to provide relevant details, another source said a different car insurance firm received a request from its subscriber in Seoul's Dongdaemun District to cover damage to his car window due to Pyongyang's balloon offensive.

"The company is said to be handling the issue in accordance with the contract," the source said.

Yi Whan-woo yistory@koreatimes.co.kr


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