A Study on Forest Insurance

산림보험(山林保險)에 관한 연구(硏究)

  • Park, Tai Sik (College of Agriculture, Seoul National University)
  • Received : 1972.07.03
  • Published : 1972.08.30


1. Objective of the Study The objective of the study was to make fundamental suggestions for drawing a forest insurance system applicable in Korea by investigating forest insurance systems undertaken in foreign countries, analyzing the forest hazards occurred in entire forests of Korea in the past, and hearing the opinions of people engaged in forestry. 2. Methods of the Study First, reference studies on insurance at large as well as on forest insurance were intensively made to draw the characteristics of forest insurance practiced in main forestry countries, Second, the investigations of forest hazards in Korea for the past ten years were made with the help of the Office of Forestry. Third, the questionnaires concerning forest insurance were prepared and delivered at random to 533 personnel who are working at different administrative offices of forestry, forest stations, forest cooperatives, colleges and universities, research institutes, and fire insurance companies. Fourth, fifty three representative forest owners in the area of three forest types (coniferous, hardwood, and mixed forest), a representative region in Kyonggi Province out of fourteen collective forest development programs in Korea, were directly interviewed with the writer. 3. Results of the Study The rate of response to the questionnaire was 74.40% as shown in the table 3, and the results of the questionaire were as follows: (% in the parenthes shows the rates of response; shortages in amount to 100% were due to the facts of excluding the rates of response of minor respondents). 1) Necessity of forest insurance The respondents expressed their opinions that forest insurance must be undertaken to assure forest financing (5.65%); for receiving the reimbursement of replanting costs in case of damages done (35.87%); and to protect silvicultural investments (46.74%). 2) Law of forest insurance Few respondents showed their views in favor of applying the general insurance regulations to forest insurance practice (9.35%), but the majority of respondents were in favor of passing a special forest insurance law in the light of forest characteristics (88.26%). 3) Sorts of institutes to undertake forest insurance A few respondents believed that insurance companies at large could take care of forest insurance (17.42%); forest owner's mutual associations would manage the forest insurance more effectively (23.53%); but the more than half of the respondents were in favor of establishing public or national forest insurance institutes (56.18%). 4) Kinds of risks to be undertaken in forest insurance It would be desirable that the risks to be undertaken in forest insurance be limited: To forest fire hazards only (23.38%); to forest fire hazards plus damages made by weather (14.32%); to forest fire hazards, weather damages, and insect damages (60.68%). 5) Objectives to be insured It was responded that the objectives to be included in forest insurance should be limited: (1) To artificial coniferous forest only (13.47%); (2) to both coniferous and broad-leaved artificial forests (23.74%); (3) but the more than half of the respondents showed their desire that all the forests regardless of species and the methods of establishment should be insured (61.64%). 6) Range of risks in age of trees to be included in forest insurance The opinions of the respondents showed that it might be enough to insure the trees less than ten years of age (15.23%); but it would be more desirous of taking up forest trees under twenty years of age (32.95%); nevertheless, a large number of respondents were in favor of underwriting all the forest trees less than fourty years of age (46.37%). 7) Term of a forest insurance contract Quite a few respondents favored a contract made on one year basis (31.74%), but the more than half of the respondents favored the contract made on five year bases (58.68%). 8) Limitation in a forest insurance contract The respondents indicated that it would be desirable in a forest insurance contract to exclude forests less than five hectars (20.78%), but more than half of the respondents expressed their opinions that forests above a minimum volume or number of trees per unit area should be included in a forest insurance contract regardless of the area of forest lands (63.77%). 9) Methods of contract Some responded that it would be good to let the forest owners choose their forests in making a forest insurance contract (32.13%); others inclined to think that it would be desirable to include all the forests that owners hold whenerver they decide to make a forest insurance contract (33.48%); the rest responded in favor of forcing the owners to buy insurance policy if they own the forests that were established with subsidy or own highly vauable growing stock (31.92%) 10) Rate of premium The responses were divided into three categories: (1) The rate of primium is to be decided according to the regional degree of risks(27.72%); (2) to be decided by taking consideration both regional degree of risks and insurable values(31.59%); (3) and to be decided according to the rate of risks for the entire country and the insurable values (39.55%). 11) Payment of Premium Although a few respondents wished to make a payment of premium at once for a short term forest insurance contract, and an annual payment for a long term contract (13.80%); the majority of the respondents wished to pay the premium annually regardless of the term of contract, by employing a high rate of premium on a short term contract, but a low rate on a long term contract (83.71%). 12) Institutes in charge of forest insurance business A few respondents showed their desire that forest insurance be taken care of at the government forest administrative offices (18.75%); others at insurance companies (35.76%); but the rest, the largest number of the respondents, favored forest associations in the county. They also wanted to pay a certain rate of premium to the forest associations that issue the insurance (44.22%). 13) Limitation on indemnity for damages done In limitation on indemnity for damages done, the respondents showed a quite different views. Some desired compesation to cover replanting costs when young stands suffered damages and to be paid at the rate of eighty percent to the losses received when matured timber stands suffered damages(29.70%); others desired to receive compensation of the actual total loss valued at present market prices (31.07%); but the rest responded in favor of compensation at the present value figured out by applying a certain rate of prolongation factors to the establishment costs(36.99%). 14) Raising of funds for forest insurance A few respondents hoped to raise the fund for forest insurance by setting aside certain amount of money from the indemnity paid (15.65%); others wished to raise the fund by levying new forest land taxes(33.79%); but the rest expressed their hope to raise the fund by reserving certain amount of money from the surplus money that was saved due to the non-risks (44.81%). 15) Causes of fires The main causes of forest fires 6gured out by the respondents experience turned out to be (1) an accidental fire, (2) cigarettes, (3) shifting cultivation. The reponses were coincided with the forest fire analysis made by the Office of Forestry. 16) Fire prevention The respondents suggested that the most important and practical three kinds of forest fire prevention measures would be (1) providing a fire-break, (2) keeping passers-by out during the drought seasons, (3) enlightenment through mass communication systems. 4. Suggestions The writer wishes to present some suggestions that seemed helpful in drawing up a forest insurance system by reviewing the findings in the questionaire analysis and the results of investigations on forest insurance undertaken in foreign countries. 1) A forest insurance system designed to compensate the loss figured out on the basis of replanting cost when young forest stands suffered damages, and to strengthen credit rating by relieving of risks of damages, must be put in practice as soon as possible with the enactment of a specifically drawn forest insurance law. And the committee of forest insurance should be organized to make a full study of forest insurance system. 2) Two kinds of forest insurance organizations furnishing forest insurance, publicly-owned insurance organizations and privately-owned, are desirable in order to handle forest risks properly. The privately-owned forest insurance organizations should take up forest fire insurance only, and the publicly-owned ought to write insurance for forest fires and insect damages. 3) The privately-owned organizations furnishing forest insurance are desired to take up all the forest stands older than twenty years; whereas, the publicly-owned should sell forest insurance on artificially planted stands younger than twenty years with emphasis on compensating replanting costs of forest stands when they suffer damages. 4) Small forest stands, less than one hectare holding volume or stocked at smaller than standard per unit area are not to be included in a forest insurance writing, and the minimum term of insuring should not be longer than one year in the privately-owned forest insurance organizations although insuring period could be extended more than one year; whereas, consecutive five year term of insurance periods should be set as a mimimum period of insuring forest in the publicly-owned forest insurance organizations. 5) The forest owners should be free in selecting their forests in insuring; whereas, forest owners of the stands that were established with subsidy should be required to insure their forests at publicly-owned forest insurance organizations. 6) Annual insurance premiums for both publicly-owned and privately-owned forest insurance organizations ought to be figured out in proportion to the amount of insurance in accordance with the degree of risks which are grouped into three categories on the basis of the rate of risks throughout the country. 7) Annual premium should be paid at the beginning of forest insurance contract, but reduction must be made if the insuring periods extend longer than a minimum period of forest insurance set by the law. 8) The compensation for damages, the reimbursement, should be figured out on the basis of the ratio between the amount of insurance and insurable value. In the publicly-owned forest insurance system, the standard amount of insurance should be set on the basis of establishment costs in order to prevent over-compensation. 9) Forest insurance business is to be taken care of at the window of insurance com pnies when forest owners buy the privately-owned forest insurance, but the business of writing the publicly-owned forest insurance should be done through the forest cooperatives and certain portions of the premium be reimbursed to the forest cooperatives. 10) Forest insurance funds ought to be reserved by levying a property tax on forest lands. 11) In order to prevent forest damages, the forest owners should be required to report forest hazards immediately to the forest insurance organizations and the latter should bear the responsibility of taking preventive measures.