Flooding victims get some relief

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Flooding victims get some relief

Victims of flooding due to heavy monsoon rains will be able to extend their insurance premium payments and loan principal and interest payments by as long as 12 months, the country’s financial regulator said yesterday.

They also will receive a portion of their damage claims immediately, instead of having to wait for insurers to investigate and calculate the payments.

The new measures are effective immediately.

“Together with the Korea Life Insurance Association and General Insurance Association of Korea, we have come up with a system to help those who suffered storm and flood damage and support recovery in the Seoul, Gyeonggi and Gangwon regions,” the Financial Supervisory Service said in a statement yesterday.

The FSS advised insurance companies to send text messages to policyholders when there is a forecast for heavy rain. In badly hit areas, insurers will set up temporary compensation facilities to serve customers in need.

“Whereas last year we came up with mostly countermeasures after flood damage occurred, this year we plan to prevent damage, for example, by sending alert messages to residents living in areas that are expecting heavy rain,” said an official from the FSS.

The FSS moves to minimize flood damage also are expected to benefit insurance companies that have been coping with low interest rates and slow economic growth. Social issues have also affected insurers’ profits such as the low birth rate and the rapidly aging society.

FSS Governor Choi Soo-hyun had said earlier that the regulator would make an all-out effort to help insurers minimize external risks.

“We want insurance companies to be under less financial risk,” the FSS official said.

BY LEE EUN-JOO [angie@joongang.co.kr]
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