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Insurers urged to offer policies for bike riders

Mar 28,2009


With the popularity of bicycles among commuters growing thanks in part to government support, nonlife insurers in Korea are considering selling policies to cover riders against accidents, according to the head of the nonlife insurers’ association.
Though Korea has the world’s seventh-largest insurance market, bike riders are surprisingly not yet covered.
“To back the ‘green growth’ policies, we are supporting the development of bicycle insurance,” said Lee Sang-yong, president of the General Insurance Association of Korea, in a press conference this week.
The Lee Myung-bak administration is now working on plans to build or extend bicycle-only lanes across the country as part of its environmentally friendly “Green New Deal.” Last October, Seoul announced it will cordon off 207 kilometers in bike lanes in the nation’s capital.
Bicycle insurance was introduced here a dozen years ago, but it was short-lived.
Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance sold its “Bicycle Safety Insurance” in 1997, and stopped selling it four years later when only 300 people subscribed per year on average. The loss ratio surged to 500 percent at one point. But the demand for bicycles and related services has skyrocketed in more recent years.
Since early 2000, bicycle accidents jumped 20.7 percent every year on average, with the number of casualties up from 214 in 2004 to 439 last year, according to the National Police Agency.
According to nonlife insurers, the premiums for insurance against injury while on a bicycle will likely be 50,000 won to 100,000 won per year.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]


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