GIAJ Chairman's Statement released on June 18, 2009 (Summary Translation)(June 18, 2009

Since I took office as Chairman of the GIAJ last June, the general insurance industry has found itself in a business environment changing at a tremendous speed. Especially since last fall, general insurance companies have been in a severe situation due to a sharp decline in stock prices, a rapid appreciation of Japanese yen, and an ever-worsening real economy.

Recently, we find several signs of recovery in economic indicators, although we cannot be too optimistic. I believe that it is now important for general insurance companies to develop various strategies for future growth, while maintaining their financial strength.

Mr. Makoto Hyodo, Chairman
Mr. Makoto Hyodo, Chairman

Specific Measures and Actions for the Year

(1) Aiming at "consumer-friendly" general insurance (initiatives to improve the quality of business processes and customer inter-relations)

A. Holding an "Advisory Panel to Listen to Consumers' Voices"

During my tenure of office, the "Advisory Panel to Listen to Consumers' Voices" has met four times to incorporate consumers' opinions into the industry's operation. We will continue to aim at consumer-friendly general insurance, taking into account the panel's views and recommendations for further enhancement of the quality of agents and solicitors.


B. Providing comparative information on general insurance products

Based on the report on "Free Discussion on Comparison of Insurance Products", we have drawn up a guideline which gives guidance on providing comparative information on automobile insurance. We are also going to launch an exclusive page on the GIAJ website, where consumers can compare automobile insurance products of the GIAJ member companies.


C. Strengthening information service to consumers and customers

We have distributed information tools for consumers and customers such as a "Freshers' Guide", a general insurance buyers' guidebook for the young. We have also made efforts to provide information on general insurance through TV and radio.

D. Enhancing the quality of agents and solicitors

Last year, we introduced a qualification renewal system and an insurance product learning system for insurance solicitors. In light of the views and recommendations of the "Advisory Panel to Listen to Consumers' Voices", we intend to consider various initiatives to further enhance the quality of a total of 2,000,000 solicitors.

E. Drawing up and reviewing industry guidelines

In response to suggestions made by local consumer centers as well as by the "Advisory Panel to Listen to Consumers' Voices", we have reviewed guidelines including the "Self-Imposed Guideline on Payment for Insurance Claims". We will also undertake follow-up research into the GIAJ member companies' compliance with these industry guidelines.

F. Strengthening the GIAJ's capacity to resolve consumer complaints

In line with the revision of the Insurance Business Law to establish a new financial ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) framework, we will take necessary steps to strengthen the GIAJ's capacity to resolve consumer complaints.

(2) Aiming at "socially-friendly" general insurance

A. Contributing to environmental protection

We, the GIAJ and our member companies, have endeavored to reduce both electric power consumption and waste by setting numerical reduction targets. Besides that, we are also actively promoting the "Eco-Safe Driving" program, which contributes to environmental protection as well as reducing traffic accidents.

B. Contributing to social safety and security

We have written a slogan to promote fire prevention, and distributed promotional posters throughout the country. To promote traffic safety and crime prevention, we have taken measures such as the publication of a "Map of Traffic Accident-prone Intersections in Japan". Also, we held a public seminar in Sendai in northern Japan this May, in order to enhance consumers' consciousness of disasters.

(3) Other initiatives

A. Contribution to the global community

We have supported the setting up of better international supervisory standards by actively expressing our views and opinions at the meetings and committees of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), to realize an efficient and effective regulatory framework.

We have also focused on international advocacy for regulatory reform overseas aiming at a sound and fair insurance market. Thanks to these continuous efforts, the limit on foreign direct investment has been raised in Malaysia recently.

This April, we welcomed a visit by the Chairman and other executive members of the German Insurance Association (GDV), and fostered a friendly relationship with them by exchanging views and information on the market situation, environmental protection, and response to the revised insurance contract law.

B. Requests for tax reform

Among the requests for tax reform submitted by the GIAJ last year, "elimination of double taxation on dividends income" and "creation of a new premium tax deduction system" were both adopted and included in the large package of tax revisions drawn up by the ruling parties.

Conclusion

The global financial crisis has dealt a serious blow to the Japanese economy for the past twelve months, and this more than a little affected the management and operations of the GIAJ member companies. Under such severe conditions, however, it is all the more important for us to improve the quality of business processes and customer inter-relations from the consumers' viewpoints.

We have drawn up our mid-term business plan focusing on "enhancement of communication with consumers" and "improvement of the quality of business processes and customer inter-relations". We will strive to fulfill our social responsibility by further promoting these initiatives.