GIAJ Chairman's Statement released on June 30, 2009（July 3, 2009）
2. Environmental Recognition as the Chairman of the GIAJ
With the falling birthrate and the aging population as well as depopulation, Japanese society is heading for a so-called mature society, and we do not believe that the number of housing starts and automobile ownership will continue to increase as has often been the case in the past.
However, we believe that the general insurance market still has room for further growth, taking into account that the Japanese economy will recover gradually, and also that there is a possibility of fresh needs for general insurance arising due to the structural changes in society.
Following the enactment of the three bills related to the Consumer Agency this May, it is said that the Agency will be established as early as this fall.
We realize that the general insurance industry is required to make efforts to improve the quality of business processes from the viewpoint of consumers as well as listening to consumers' voices and responding to them in a sincere manner, so as to fit ourselves to a more consumer-oriented society.
It is also an important mission of urgency for the general insurance industry to address environmental issues such as global warming. There are concerns that global warming causes abnormal climatic events such as floods, torrential downpours and droughts, decreased or deteriorated food production, expansion of infection, and loss of biodiversity, thus even more affecting a wider range of fields related to people's lives.
The general insurance industry is closely connected to environmental issues, as not only it is affected in terms of claims payments for loss or damage caused by natural disasters, but also it has to try to bring solutions to new environmental risks surrounding corporations, individuals and society as a whole.
We remind ourselves that the general insurance industry has to continue to actively address environmental issues and further contribute to society based on its experience thus far.
3. High Priority Issues and the Measures
So as to fit to a consumer-oriented society, we find it important that a neutral organization acts for the standardization of the general insurance industry as a whole. On the other hand, so as to address environmental issues, it is more effective for general insurance companies to share good efforts with each other, thus expanding such efforts.
The GIAJ announced its 5th Mid-term Business Plan this March, focusing on "enhancement of communication with consumers" and "improvement in the quality of business processes". In addition to these initiatives, we would like to work even harder on "addressing environmental issues".
(1) Enhancement of communication with consumers
- For expeditious consumer complaints resolution
and strengthening ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) function -
The GIAJ receives complaints from and provides consultation for consumers at the "General Insurance Counseling Offices" of its headquarters and branch offices, and at 48 "Automobile Insurance Claims Counseling Centers" established throughout the country.
As for complaints and requests received by the GIAJ as well as suggestions made at meetings with local consumer centers, we will continue to make the most of them for the improvement of each member company's business operations.
We will further expedite the resolution of consultations and complaints, by connecting on-line the database of consultations and complaints received by the GIAJ with each member company.
The GIAJ already has an organization equipped with an ADR function, called the General Insurance Arbitration Committee, in Tokyo and Osaka. Prior to the enforcement of the revised laws and regulations to establish a new financial ADR framework, we will make the necessary preparations so as to respond to it immediately once enforced.
As a GIAJ initiative to help consumers to make the right choice and judgment by themselves, we will revise and continue to popularize and make the most of information tools for consumers (including "General Insurance Buyers' Guide") which have been prepared to provide them with key information on general insurance contracts. Furthermore, we will strive to ensure that each GIAJ branch office will hold a public seminar on general insurance for consumers and conduct public relations activities through the mass media such as radio.
(2) Improvement in the quality of business processes
- For the review of an examination system for general insurance agents and solicitors -
Since last year, the GIAJ has introduced a qualification renewal system and an insurance product learning system as an education and examination system common to the general insurance industry as a whole. We will also make efforts to improve the quality of soliciting activities by promoting prior education to general insurance solicitors.
With respect to an examination system for general insurance solicitors which are to be completed the review by 2013, we will consider advancing the implementation of a new integrated examination system based on the problems of the current system, which will be formed by unifying a conventional examination for general insurance solicitors and a specialized examination on general insurance products. We will also consider establishing a system where excellent general insurance solicitors should be duly accredited, and we will implement these initiatives right after they have been put in place.
As for various kinds of our industry guidelines which have been drawn up mainly based on the complaints and requests received by the GIAJ, we intend to improve the quality of business processes, by following up each member company's compliance with such guidelines and giving feedback to each member company regarding good practices to be shared among all member companies.
(3) Response to environmental issues
- For good initiatives to be shared, collaborated on, and popularized within the industry -
The GIAJ obtained the ISO 14001 Certificate in 2001, and it has since addressed environmental issues based on the "General Insurance Industry Action Plan to Protect the Environment". We will also continue to promote the reuse of recycled parts in automobile repairing as well as the Eco and Safe Driving program, and make efforts to popularize and continue these initiatives.
This coming December, the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, and in October 2010, the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Biodiversity Treaty will be held in Nagoya. We, the general insurance industry, would like to work on environmental issues actively, and disseminate our message.
For instance, some member companies are now making efforts to reduce CO2 emissions through carbon offset or tree-planting initiatives, and some are conducting educational activities about environmental protection. I hope that the GIAJ will thus become a bridge across the general insurance industry to address environmental issues, by sharing aforementioned good activities among all member companies and encouraging them or other industry organizations to participate in the program.
The general insurance industry has found itself in a severe situation and faces various issues that need to be addressed. As the Chairman of the GIAJ, I have resolved to devote myself to my new assignment so that the general insurance business continues to contribute to social safety and security along with the sound and sustainable development. I would highly appreciate it if you would kindly render us your continued support and guidance.