GIAJ Chairman's Statement released on September 17, 2009(Sep. 18, 2009

 I would like to report on our major initiatives since I took office as Chairman of the GIAJ on June 30, 2009.

1. Introduction

We wish to extend our sincere condolences to the victims of the torrential downpours in Chugoku and Northern Kyushu districts, Typhoon No. 9, and the earthquake with its epicenter in the Suruga Bay, which all occurred in the summer of 2009.

The GIAJ and our member companies have been making every effort to ensure prompt payment of insurance claims, while responding to inquiries and consultations from customers in a sincere manner.

As of August 31, 2009, the estimated amounts of claims paid by our 25 direct insurer members were 12.7 billion yen for torrential downpour losses, and 3.8 billion yen for the earthquake losses respectively.

We, the GIAJ, have been providing information on the measures against damage caused by earthquakes, typhoons, torrential downpours and strong winds through our website, and we have also been providing local municipalities throughout the country with "collective flood-hazard area maps". We will continue to actively take preventive measures against natural disasters so as to contribute to the enhanced security and safety of society.

As to the number of earthquake insurance policies on dwelling risks, although it is increasing year by year, the ratio of earthquake insurance policy holders to all fire insurance policy holders still amounts to only 45% at the moment. We will strive to further promote the earthquake insurance through a nationwide publicity campaign starting from August 24, 2009.

Mr. Masatoshi Sato, Chairman

2. Requests for Tax Reform

The GIAJ's Board of Directors' meeting held today approved the "Requests for Fiscal 2010 Tax Reform". The centerpiece of the requests is an increase in the accumulation rate of the catastrophe loss reserves including those for fire insurance.

The reserve system requires general insurers to accumulate reserves in order to prepare for a large-scale natural disaster which might only occur once in several years.

However, the amount of the reserves is not sufficient due to the frequent occurrence of large-scale natural catastrophes in recent years. In this regard, preferential taxation measures would be essential.

The enrichment of the system by raising the accumulation rate of the reserves to 5% will enable insurers to be better prepared for potential claims payments for large-scale natural disasters, and we believe this will lead to the stability of people's lives and the national economy.

3. Financial ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) framework

The GIAJ's Board of Directors' meeting held today decided that the GIAJ would apply to obtain authorization as a "designated ADR organization" and strengthen its dispute resolution activities.

In June, 2009, the law on the partial revision of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law was promulgated, and provisions related to a new financial ADR framework have been stipulated in the Insurance Business Law accordingly.

Each insurance company is required to conclude a "basic contract to implement necessary procedures" with a "designated ADR organization", and to accept to take the necessary steps to handle consumer complaints and resolve disputes, as well as respecting settlement proposals.

We believe that our authorization as a "designated ADR organization" would provide further neutrality and fairness to our existing "General Insurance Arbitration Committee", which has taken the ADR role in the GIAJ.

4. Business Continuity Plan

The GIAJ's member companies have each developed a business continuity plan respectively. The GIAJ's Board of Directors' meeting held today decided to establish an industry-wide business continuity plan to enhance the industry's readiness for disasters.

We will continue to make every effort to fulfill our social role of ensuring prompt payment of insurance claims in any event, including natural disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons, and floods, as well as the new influenza epidemics.

5. Enhancement of communication with consumers

(1) "Advisory Panel to Listen to Consumers' Voices"

On September 2, 2009, the 14th session of the "Advisory Panel to Listen to Consumers' Voices" was held to follow up on the GIAJ's various initiatives regarding enhancement of communication with consumers.

Recommendations we had from members include the provision of information to consumers from the viewpoint of ensuring easy-to-access and easy-to-understand general insurance products with regard to our website under construction (scheduled to open this autumn) where visitors could compare member companies' products.

We, the GIAJ, will continue to conduct and improve our various initiatives, taking into account the panel's views and recommendations.

(2) General Insurance Public Seminar

We have been holding a "General Insurance Public Seminar" for consumers across the country beginning this fiscal year.

We have so far held five sessions of the seminar in Miyagi Prefecture and Tokyo. We will continue to hold sessions through our 11 regional branch offices. Through such direct dialogues, we will make sincere efforts to foster consumer understanding of the general insurance products and of important points to consider when buying insurance.

6. Approach to environmental issues

(1) Window of Environment

We have launched a "Window of Environment", an exclusive website for environmental issues on the GIAJ website which has been running since July this year.

This website helps consumers to have easier access to detailed information on environmental measures taken by the general insurance industry. Consumers are able to check initiatives and other related news & topics of the GIAJ and its member companies. The website also provides information on lectures, seminars and other events relating to environmental issues shown in each member company's website.

(2) Eco and Safe Driving Club

Aiming at further promoting the Eco and Safe Driving program and increasing the number of participants in the program, we newly started “Eco and Safe Driving Club” in July this year and launched an exclusive webpage for the club on the GIAJ website.

This "Eco and Safe Driving Club" is designed for individuals, corporations, and organizations that have agreed to the objectives of "Eco and Safe Driving". Club members enrolled on the webpage will perform Eco and Safe Driving and can check the effects with a fuel mileage measurement form prepared on its webpage.

(3) Lecture meeting on environmental issues

We, the GIAJ, will hold the 50th anniversary session of a "lecture meeting on environmental issues" on November 6, 2009, where we will invite Mr. Yoichi Kaya, Director-General of the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE), to give a lecture on the "current situation of global environmental problems and how to address them".

7. International exchange

On September 14, 2009, we, the GIAJ, concluded a cooperation memorandum with the Association of Vietnamese Insurers. Taking this opportunity, we would like to further promote an exchange of views and information with each other regarding international issues and the sound development of both general insurance industries, thus deepening mutual understanding more than ever.

8. Theft Prevention Day

We set October 7 as "Theft Prevention Day" every year. This year, a total of around 2,000 people will participate in this campaign to distribute leaflets and other novelty goods at major stations in the 47 prefectures, thus raising public awareness of thefts of cars, car navigation systems and burglaries.

9. Conclusion

The Japanese economy has shown slight signs of recovery, but its future remains uncertain.

As the new prime minister was elected at the special Diet session of the Japanese parliament yesterday, we expect that the new cabinet will quickly implement economic measures to recover from the current difficult economic conditions, as well as countermeasures to the falling birthrate and growth strategies from a long-term perspective.