North Korean authorities have recently begun forcing people to subscribe to “home and family property insurance,” ostensibly to receive protection for their assets.
In a phone conversation with Daily NK on Wednesday, a source in North Korea said the authorities recently ordered inminban (North Korea’s lowest administrative unit) in some regions to have their members read “new explanatory materials for insurance” that included sections on “home and family property insurance.” According to the source, the government stressed that “all families must participate 100% in the insurance program.”
According to the materials (written by the Choson Minjok Insurance General Company) obtained through the source, the “home and family property insurance” provides compensation for family property losses or damage due to unexpected accidents or natural disasters such as fires, explosions or floods.
Additionally, the materials stated that the insurance was launched in accordance with a July 2017 order by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who called for making life insurance more “specialized and rational.” They also included propaganda about the government’s love for the people, saying, “Insurance plays an important role in realizing the politics of love for the people.”
Along these lines, the materials stated that the goal of the new insurance is “protecting that life and property of the people, not pursuit of profits.” They also offered the rather striking proposal to provide up to KPW 1 million in compensation for just a KPW 4,000 annual subscription fee.
The materials said that even if you wanted to pay the state back for that KPW 1 million, you would have to subscribe continuously for “250 years” to do so, employing a euphemism for “a time so long it would last an entire generation.”
The pledge to provide such extraordinary compensation for a low subscription fee appears aimed at emphasizing propaganda that “socialist insurance is motivated by [efforts to] elevate the security of the people’s lives.”
However, the source said locals are skeptical about the offer to pay out lavish compensation, questioning its practicality.
“Who would be so bold as to ask the state to compensate them such a large amount,” he said. “Ultimately, people are criticizing it as a strategy to squeeze them for money, just like the extra economic burdens.”
The materials also call on subscribers to inform authorities of a loss within 24 hours and to submit written notification within seven days of a loss, and includes a line that failure to do so would be considered a forfeiture of compensation. Observers say it is very likely that the authorities will seize on all sorts of alleged failures during the claims process.
Meanwhile, the authorities said subscribers could not file compensation claims for cash, jewelry, earrings and other valuables, as well for USBs, CDs and DVDs. Also excluded from insurance are banned items and property outside the home.