GIAJ Chairman's Statement released on June 30, 2010

"General insurance sincerely interacting with society in the spirit of mutual support -Challenge together with local communities-"
(July 6, 2010

On the occasion of my inauguration as Chairman of the GIAJ, I would like to express my resolutions as follows:

1. Recognition of the environment surrounding the general insurance industry

I recognize that the Japanese economy, which has been stagnant since the global financial crisis of the year before last, is moving towards a self-sustaining recovery, as demonstrated by a recovery in personal spending as well as increased exports and production resulting from economic recovery overseas mainly in emerging countries and an emergency economic package.

It is also true, however, that we should not be too optimistic, because basic economic conditions have not yet improved as shown in the severe employment situation, prolonged deflation, and domestic financial deficit. Moreover, the current social structures such as a "depopulating society" resulting from the declining birthrate and the aging of society have been regarded as a major cause for us not to be able to draw a sustainable "model of economic growth".

Mr. Hisahito Suzuki, Chairman
Mr. Hisahito Suzuki, Chairman

All countries of the world and individual corporations have been closely connected with each other in an extensive and complex way and have influenced each other because of globalization of corporate activities and borderless financial liquidity.

For instance, much time has been spared to recover from the damage caused by the global financial crisis triggered by the sub-prime mortgage loan problems in the U.S. Recently, people's anxiety over the Euro market has reached global proportions, and the future prospects are still uncertain.

Risks in certain countries and regions have thus spread with unpredictable "speed, scope, and scale", causing unprecedented market confusion, and this has also increased the possibility of connected risks happening more than ever.

In order to cope with this situation, financial authorities all over the world have been deliberating on a global financial regulatory and supervisory framework, while strengthening cooperation with each other so that they can react promptly in case of emergencies.

Furthermore, we are now facing a lot of challenges to overcome which pose huge and diversified risks such as increased natural disasters resulting from global warming as well as increased difficulty in quality control due to internationalization of logistics and production.

So as to restore cheerfulness in our country in a situation where many difficult issues can be seen in various areas such as society, economy, financial sector, and risks, we think that various "challenges" a step ahead are necessary, such as ensuring cooperation among politicians, bureaucrats, and businesses, developing new industries and services, creating employment, expanding overseas markets, pursuing risk management from a global standpoint, and cultivating human resources to whom we can entrust the future of Japan.

2. Recognition of challenges for the general insurance industry

The general insurance industry has missions to "support the stability of society and development of the economy", and to "provide the public with security and safety" as well. Since the world is now in the severe situation as stated above, we are required to fulfill these missions more than enough, and I also believe that now is the time when we should contribute to "challenges" for the future through our general insurance business. We would also like to challenge together with all the people, by facing risks not experienced before and social changes which will happen at home and abroad, and playing a role which meets the needs of the times through our business.

Specifically, I think that each member company's challenge is to continue their efforts to strengthen the financial ground, advance risk management, provide more easy-to-understand products and fine-tuned services, and further improve the quality of business so that they are able to cope with risks which are expected to become increasingly diversified in the future.

On the other hand, the GIAJ assumes responsibility to provide the wider public with information on the roles of general insurance. We find it our very important role to make strenuous efforts to obtain consumers' better understanding of the functions of general insurance as a pipeline between consumers and our member companies, and convey consumers' voices to our member companies for their business improvement, thus helping consumers to understand that general insurance is essential for their social lives.

3. Action policies as Chairman of the GIAJ

Taking into account my recognition of the environment and challenges for the general insurance industry, I will adopt the following two initiatives as action policies for the year:

(1) Aiming at "consumer-friendly general insurance" for consumers

It is said that general insurance is an "invisible product", and we suppose that consumers might not usually realize its existence easily, and that they might not be familiar enough with it.

We, the GIAJ, intend to make efforts to ensure that consumers can feel something more familiar to general insurance, by cherishing close contact with consumers at the time of contract signing and on the occasion of receiving consultations and hearing opinions from them, thus promoting interactive communication.

(2) Supporting the growth of "the young and children" who are major players in the future

We cannot maintain and promote our country's vigor for the future without the healthy growth of the young and children who are responsible for the next generation. In order for consumers to live a secure life under the circumstances where risks surrounding people's lives have increasingly been diversified and complicated, I am convinced that it is beneficial for consumers to equip themselves with correct knowledge about general insurance from their childhood, so that they can cultivate the fundamental skills to live on their feet.

The GIAJ has resolved to play a part in promoting financial education and safety education for the healthy growth of the young and children in full coordination with local communities and schools.

4. Specific measures and actions

Based on the action policies mentioned above, the GIAJ would like to work on the following three measures and actions as the priority issues for the year ahead:

(1) Promotion of educational activities for consumers

For the year ahead, we will actively promote educational activities especially for the "young and children" in addition to sending general insurance lecturers to meetings held by local consumer centers, which are an initiative for consumers by the public, and holding a study meeting on general insurance for consumer consultants. Actually, as part of financial education and safety education, we will provide the following programs for the different generations in close cooperation with local communities and schools: implementation of an "Exploration for Disaster Prevention" program for elementary school students, the holding of a lecture meeting for students of junior high schools and high schools and the introduction of a class on general insurance in a study curriculum for high school students, and the introduction of a study course on general insurance for university students. We will also address the relevant parties to have them incorporate more information on general insurance in textbooks for high school students.

(2) Strengthening of the GIAJ's capacity to respond to consultations and opinions from consumers

Every GIAJ consultant will make efforts to sincerely face consumers throughout the country and respond to their consultations and opinions in a more respectful and prompt way. To this end, the GIAJ will make the most of the "GIAJ's database of consultations and complaints" which has been connected on-line with member companies, and strengthen a reporting and management system thereof.

In addition, we will strive to solve various troubles related to general insurance, by obtaining authorization as a designated ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) organization under the Insurance Business Law.

(3) Establishment of a new examination and educational system for general insurance solicitors

In order to enhance the quality of general insurance solicitors, we will make the necessary preparations including the establishment of a computer system for the introduction of a new examination system in October 2011, which has been formed as a result of unifying the former "examination for general insurance solicitors (qualification renewal system)" and an "insurance product learning system". Furthermore, we will consider introducing a system where general insurance solicitors passing the new examination can be approved by the GIAJ so that they can further move up by themselves.

In addition to the three "priority issues" mentioned above, we will also work on "internationalization", "environmental issues", and "traffic safety, as well as disaster and crime prevention".

As for a response to the internationalization of the general insurance business, we will actively advocate the GIAJ's views and position regarding international insurance supervisory standards under consideration at the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), as well as responding to the introduction of International Financial Reporting Standards in Japan and revisions to regulations on solvency margin ratios. We will also make efforts to promote active exchanges with overseas insurance industries, promote mutual understanding, and strengthen each other's cooperation, through holding seminars with participants from the East Asian region and exchanging views and information at international conferences, so that the GIAJ can contribute to the business expansion of its member companies overseas and to the development of the general insurance market in each market as well.

As a response to environmental issues, we will continue to work on the promotion of an eco and safe driving program in cooperation with driving schools in each region, and promotion of the use of recycled automobile parts. We will also make efforts for the achievement of a goal which the GIAJ set as an industry-wide target for the reduction of electricity use, and consider what roles the GIAJ should play in the "Nippon Keidanren's Commitment to a Low Carbon Society" in which the GIAJ expressed its intention to participate this April.

With respect to traffic safety, as well as disaster and crime prevention, we will tackle new risks such as theft cases of car navigation systems whose number has recently been increasing, in addition to the existing initiatives such as the proposal of recommendations related to the improvement of traffic accident-prone intersections. We will also take effective measures for issues which have been drawing more attention in every region in close cooperation with local police and fire stations.

5. Conclusion

We believe that it is necessary for the entire country to make a "challenge" to ensure that the whole country restores vigor and casts a bright light on the future.

As the general insurance industry, the GIAJ and each member company intend to implement their own roles steadily under the clear recognition of such roles, and support social stability and economic development, thus contributing to people's security and safety.

As I have made up my mind to work on my duties to the best of my ability as Chairman of the GIAJ for the year ahead, under the catchphrase of "General insurance sincerely interacting with society in the spirit of mutual support -Challenge together with local communities-", we would highly appreciate it if you would kindly continue to render us your continued support and cooperation.