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영문보도자료 view
CDSC found that an insurer must disburse disaster insurance benefits in case the insurer cannot clearly verify that an accident was intentionally caused 2019-04-23

            

 

CDSC found that an insurer must disburse disaster insurance benefits in case the insurer cannot clearly verify that an accident was intentionally caused

 

  

    With regard to a case where A’s inheritor claimed disaster insurance benefits from S Life Insurance Company (hereinafter referred to as the “insurer”), the Consumer Dispute Settlement Commission (CDSC; Chairperson Shin Jong-won) of the Korea Consumer Agency (KCA) made a resolution that the insurer should pay the disaster insurance benefits because it failed to verify that the accident in question (suicide) was intentionally caused by the insured.

 

 

Case Summary

    

A (male, in his 50s, died) was insured for 50 million won in 1996 in case he was diagnosed with first degree disability caused by a disaster. On August 20, 2015, he was found unconscious due to carbon monoxide poisoning in his room, and was diagnosed with first degree disability, but died during treatment for the disability. A’s inheritor claimed disaster insurance benefits from the insurer, but it refused payment of the benefits, arguing that A died from an intentional accident (suicide).

 

    The insurer argued that it could not disburse the insurance benefits because A ignited charcoal briquettes for the purpose of committing suicide, and as a result, suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning, given that A had a history of mental health treatment, and words like “self-injury” and “suicide” were written in his medical records.

 

    However, the CDSC took note of the fact that A received a comprehensive medical check-up 20 days before the accident, and exchanged text messages with his colleague, as usual, one day before the accident. In addition, the CDSC argued that the insurer should pay the insurance benefits on the grounds that it failed to clearly prove A’s intentional accident (suicide) because A’s suicide note was not found, police records said the burnt debris was found in the multipurpose room which was divided from the room where A was found unconscious, and it is hard to conclude the burnt debris was the remains of the burnt briquettes.

 

    The CDSC decision reconfirmed the ruling* of the Supreme Court that “an insurer must bear a strict burden of proof to the extent that the suicide of an insured person must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.”

 

[2000Da12495, Supreme Court Ruling (January 30, 2001)]

In order for an insurer to prove the fact that an insured has committed suicide, the insurer must be able to prove the existence of a death note, which states the intention of suicide clearly, or circumstantial facts which are clear enough to prove that the insured has committed suicide beyond reasonable doubt. (The rest is omitted.)

    

    In addition, the decision by the CDSC is of great significance in that it has put the brakes on the practices of insurance companies for refusing payment of insurance benefits so far by vaguely arguing that the insured person intentionally has committed suicide.

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