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Dispute Over Damages Likely in Shooting Range Fire

Posted November. 18, 2009 08:51,   


A dispute over compensation is expected for the Japanese victims killed in a shooting range fire in Busan Saturday.

The shooting range had no insurance covering clients and objects in the vicinity. Accordingly, even if mismanagement is deemed the cause of the fire, the relatives of the Japanese victims might get no damages from the owner.

If the owner does not have enough funds to compensate the victims’ families, they could opt to sue their travel insurance companies or the Korean government.

The government could provide compensation for the Japanese victims’ families. The majority of Korean officials say the government has no legal obligation to pay damages to the Japanese victims’ families, citing international law and precedents. The government could consider giving compensation from a moral point of view, however.

The fire has led to the suggestion that buildings and facilities used by numerous people must have insurance that covers customers and objects.

Experts say the Fire Insurance Act, which requires only large-scale buildings 11 stories high or taller to have insurance, has fueled apathy toward security at small-scale facilities.

According to a survey conducted by the General Insurance Association of Korea, nearly half of small businesses including restaurants, hotels and retail stores have no fire insurance.