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Would insurers pay out if ‘Squid Game’ happened in real life?

Nov. 8, 2021 - 15:00 By Son Ji-hyoung
A promotional image of "Squid Game" (Netflix)
The megahit Netflix series “Squid Game” depicts a dystopian world where 456 people compete in a series of extreme survival games on a remote island. The sole winner takes all the prize money, while everyone else bites the dust.

In the real world, all the “Squid Game” deaths would be eligible for insurance coverage, according to a local insurance company. The question is whether those death benefits would differ depending on how the player died, it added.

According to a recent blog post by Samsung Life Insurance, South Korea’s largest life insurer by revenue, the bereaved families of those killed during the first game --“Green Light, Red Light” -- would be provided with financial protection plus additional death benefits, because the participants could not have predicted that the losers would be gunned down.

The blog post added that special death benefits for accidental deaths generally apply to people who die suddenly due to external causes and have no way of predicting they will die.

Meeting all the preconditions, those who had the related clauses preapproved within their insurance contracts would be eligible for extra benefits.

Participants in the series who went on to play the other games -- honeycomb, tug-of-war and the squid game -- did so knowing that losing would lead to death. Their deaths would no longer be considered accidental and their survivors would lose out on the special benefits, the post said.

Still, their deaths would not be intentional and they would still be entitled to general financial protection from their insurers.

Not all deaths are covered by insurance in Korea. For example, in the event of a suicide within two years after signing a life insurance contract or a murder committed by a policyholder or beneficiary, a life insurance contract could be invalid.