GIAJ Chairman's Statement released on June 30, 2008 (Summary translation)
"Aiming at consumer and socially-friendly general insurance"
（July 4, 2008）
General insurance helps to ensure people's peaceful lives and stable business activities by providing protection against various risks involved therein.
However, it has turned out that since 2006 there are a number of general insurance contracts whose premiums have been miscalculated.
Each member company is now refunding the overcharged premiums of miscalculated insurance contracts, after its confirmation surveys of fire insurance premiums, etc. I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest regrets and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience that we have caused.
Also, each member company is now in the process of developing preventive measures and implementing customer follow-up activities, while the GIAJ is making efforts to draw up industry guidelines to improve solicitation procedures and to make policy wordings more consumer-friendly, as well as strengthening the GIAJ's capacity to take care of consultations and complaints from consumers.
For the year ahead, I intend to continue these initiatives and enhance their effectiveness to restore consumer confidence.
2. Basic Policy
We will continue to conduct the following initiatives to (1) reflect consumer voices in the improvement of operational process, (2) make general insurance more consumer-friendly, and (3) enhance the service quality of agents and solicitors. Furthermore, in order to ensure consumer confidence, we will enhance the effectiveness of these initiatives and consider measures to improve them as necessary.
We would like to focus on initiatives to contribute to environmental protection as well as security in the society and community. We will also actively contribute to the global community by advocating opinions representing our industry to international organizations and by providing information overseas in a timely manner.
3. Specific Measures and Actions
(1) Aiming at consumer-friendly general insurance (initiatives to restore consumer confidence)
(i) Improving business process based on consumer voices
The "Advisory Panel to Listen to Consumers' Voices", which consists of representatives from consumer groups and academic experts, has been providing a valuable source of suggestions important to the improvement of our industry. We, the GIAJ, have so far drawn up various industry guidelines by referring to these suggestions. In addition, we have reflected the requests and suggestions raised at the meetings with local consumer centers in the improvement of member companies' business operation and management.
We aim at consumer-friendly general insurance where consumers can feel more confident about the policies they are purchasing by continuing these initiatives.
(ii) Strengthening information service to customers
We have prepared the "General Insurance Buyers' Guide" to ensure that consumers can easily understand key information on general insurance products, and distributed copies to schools and local consumer centers. We will strive to promote consumers' better understanding of general insurance by conducting public relations activities through seminars and mass media.
(iii) Enhancing quality of agents and solicitors
Following the introduction of an examination system where agents and solicitors are required to renew their credentials every five years, we will introduce a new “insurance product learning system” to assist them to advance knowledge of new insurance products.
(iv) Improving business quality through the establishment of a PDCA cycle
While we have focused on P (plan) and D (do) stages for business improvement based on consumer feedback in the last two years, we will also give priority to C (Check) and A (Act) stages, thus aiming at the general insurance industry which consumers will more rely on.
(2) Aiming at socially-friendly general insurance
(i) Contributing to environmental protection
Global warming is a major issue for general insurance companies, as they underwrite risks related to natural disasters. On July 18 this year, the GIAJ will hold an educational forum for environmental protection in Tokyo, and will continue to contribute to the protection of the environment.
(ii) Contributing to social safety and security
We will promote our activities such as research and information provision on automobile thefts and accident-prone intersections. We will also take proactive steps to enhance social security and reduce crimes, in addition to initiatives for disaster prevention, including the Exploration for Disaster Prevention program, where elementary school children learn about security in their town through enjoying their fieldwork.
(3) Other initiatives
(i) Strengthening the GIAJ's capacity to resolve consumer complaints
We have strengthened the advisory services and complaint resolution functions of the General Insurance Counseling Department since this April, and allocated more resources to arbitration facilities. We will continue taking better care of consultations and complaints from consumers.
(ii) Contributing to global community
We will actively express our views and opinions in the international arena including the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), where discussion is taking place to establish international supervisory standards. In addition, we will make efforts to exchange information and cooperate with overseas insurance organizations proactively.
(iii) Reviewing the roles of the GIAJ
We will make a fundamental review of the roles of the GIAJ so that we can further contribute to the society and community as well as our member companies.
Your warm support and guidance would be highly appreciated.