Inaugural Address by New Chairman of the GIAJ (Translation)
released on June 30, 2005（July 15, 2005）
1. The environment surrounding the general insurance business
The future of Japan's economy is still unclear depending on the future prospects of the economies of the U.S. and China, instability in international affairs, a hike in crude oil prices and so on, although there are some positive signs in employment and capital investment as a result of business recovery. In society, anxiety has grown as a result of the threat of large-scale natural disasters, unexpected accidents related to transportation, and diversified and sophisticated crimes such as the illegal use of credit cards.
Looking forward, Japan faces major demographic changes. The Japanese population will peak in the next year and start decreasing. The framework of our society should be reorganized to respond to the social and economic conditions of an aging society with a declining birthrate.
2. Functions and role of general insurance
As risks surrounding individuals and business entities are diversifying, we have recognized that the basic mission and role of the general insurance business is to support the security of individuals, as well as vitality in society and the economy.
The amount of insurance claims for major typhoons and earthquakes that struck in 2004 fiscal year reached 757.9 billion yen. We believe that general insurers could contribute to early recovery from disasters through prompt and appropriate claims payment. As 10 years has passed since the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Reduction was held in Kobe, Japan this January. During the conference, the GIAJ introduced its disaster and crime prevention activities. We are also emphasizing a number of activities such as prevention of automobile theft and billing fraud, taking advantage of expertise within the general insurance industry.
Meanwhile, the FSA released the "Program for Further Financial Reform" last December, moves in the financial administration towards building a nation of "financial services" began. We stand at the beginning of the new paradigm, as the business environment becomes more severe, the general insurance industry must make efforts to further rationalize and strengthen, for enhancement of customers' convenience and satisfaction, as well as being active participants in the dynamic new financial climate.
3. Action policy
The 2005 fiscal year is the second year of the Third Mid-term Basic Business Plan of the GIAJ. Under the slogan "The General Insurance Industry Supports You, Your Community and Society", the GIAJ will carry out various activities in keeping with the notion of "Reliable General Insurance Close to Your Life" stipulated in the business plan, which reconfirms the GIAJ's various roles, ranging from individual customer relationships to its responsibility to society as a whole.
We will carry out our work bearing the following three items in mind:
(1) Thinking from the customer's viewpoint
A "General insurance industry that supports you"; the GIAJ will initiate two-way and close communications with our customers by listening to the customers' needs as much as possible.
(2) Activities in local communities
A "General insurance industry that supports your community"; the GIAJ will encourage its 11 branch offices across the nation to conduct activities close to local communities.
(3) Wider approach to the society
A "General insurance industry that supports society"; the GIAJ will make requests and proposals to the relevant governmental agencies and also commit itself to contributing to society by undertaking its social responsibilities.
4. Specific activities
Based on the policies mentioned above, the GIAJ will focus on the four activities stipulated in its Mid-term Basic Business Plan, namely "further enhancement of consumer services", "undertaking social responsibility", "contribution to the global community" and "actively representing the industry at all levels".
(1) Further enhancement of consumer services
The GIAJ will implement practical studies on regulations and supervision over the operation of the safety net and small-amount and short-term insurance business as a preparation for the enforcement of the revised Insurance Business Law in 2006.
The GIAJ will continue to enhance information on natural disasters on our web site. In addition, we will promote consumers' understanding of the general insurance business through local activities and the mass media.
Furthermore, the GIAJ will give feedback to our member companies on consumers' opinions obtained from meetings with consumer policy agencies, consumer advocate groups, and enquiries from policy holders to enable them to improve their customer services.
(2) Carrying out social responsibility
Considering the social responsibilities of the general insurance industry, the GIAJ will promote the following:
a) Crime prevention,
b) Reduction and mitigation of damages caused by natural disasters, and
c) Promotion of compliance with laws and regulations
Particularly, the GIAJ will continue to promote automobile theft prevention activities which have contributed to the reduced number of automobile thefts since 2002. "Exploration for Disaster Prevention", an educational program for elementary school students, has attracted people attending the United Nation's conference last January. The GIAJ will try to disseminate this educational program around the world.
With environmental preservation activities closely connected with the general insurance business, the GIAJ would like to integrate the "Eco-Safe Driving" concept into the general insurance industry's activities by promoting environmental awareness in driving and road safety.
The GIAJ also promotes the reliability of the industry by holding training seminars to improve the compliance of member companies, and by acting as a designated information protection body certified by the FSA.
(3) Contribution to the global community
The GIAJ actively participates in discussions on international policy making procedures within the IAIS and other international bodies, and presents opinions on behalf of its member companies.
As one of the most developed insurance markets in the Asian - Pacific region, the GIAJ would like to support the development of neighboring markets, and the reduction and mitigation of crimes and the effects of natural disasters.
(4) Making requests and proposals
The GIAJ will request regulatory reform and taxation revision to ensure the sound development of the insurance industry, and carefully monitor and respond to discussions by various councils as well as the Program for Further Financial Reform as needed.
I believe that this year will be a milestone for the whole financial industry, including the general insurance industry, on the road to a Nation of Financial Services. As we are in the midst of many changes, we should go back to the basics and pay attention to the customers' needs. I will earnestly carry out the duties of Chairman of the GIAJ with the catchphrase "The General Insurance Industry Supports You, Your Community and Society".