The GIAJ Chairman's Statement (Translation)
(Sep. 21, 2017

Noriyuki Hara, ChairmanNoriyuki Hara, Chairman

 Nearly three months have passed since I assumed office as Chairman of the GIAJ in June. I would like to report on our activities and related events over this period.

1. Introduction

 Firstly, I would like to extend our sincerest condolences to the victims and those affected by the recent numerous occurrences of heavy rainfall including the torrential downpour that hit northern Kyushu in July and Typhoon 18, the first typhoon ever to make landfall on each of the four major islands of Japan, caused a major damage all accross the country lately.

 Focusing on fulfilling our public role and mission of providing the infrastructure to support building a worry-free and safe society, the general insurance industry will continue to make utmost efforts to provide prompt and proper payments to customers affected by such disasters.

2. Our key activities so far

(1) Responding to natural disasters

(i) The promotion of earthquake insurance

 Considering the potential threat of events such as a Tokyo Inland Earthquake and a Nankai Trough Earthquake, promoting earthquake insurance is one of the social missions of our general insurance industry. While the national earthquake insurance penetration rate at the end of fiscal 2016 was 62.1%, a year-on-year increase of 1.9%, we are pushing forward various initiatives towards further promotion.

a. PR activities for earthquake insurance
 On August 27th, our association launched a national promotion campaign to raise public awareness and understanding of earthquake insurance. We will advance these activities by publicizing them through various media such as newspapers, television, and radio, and via posters with the catch phrase "Earthquake insurance is not only for your homes, but also for your family's lives".

b. Joint activities with local municipalities
 In June, our association, together with the Ibaraki Prefectural Government and other organizations, set up a prefectural council to promote earthquake insurance and cooperative earthquake insurance. The council promoted the local PR campaign through provision of leaflets on earthquake insurance. In July, we also set up a council in Nagano Prefecture. Together with the increased interest in the threat of mega quakes, the importance of earthquake insurance has been heightened at a municipal level. We will intensify our efforts to reach out to various related parties to secure further collaboration with local municipalities.

c. Educational events to promote earthquake insurance
 From September to December, our association will hold a series of educational events to promote earthquake Insurance. The events will take place at 12 shopping malls across the country, in collaboration with "Disaster Prevention for Everyone", the nation's largest educational campaign in which families can learn about disaster prevention through hands-on experiences. Participants will have the opportunity to experience an earthquake at firsthand using a simulator that produces realistic tremors. They will also be offered emergency contact cards with photos of family members printed on site. The event had already taken place at two locations which saw an impressive number of participants. Taking this opportunity, we will continue our efforts to encourage more people to apply for earthquake insurance.

(ii) Disaster-prevention and reduction

 Our association has advanced prevention and reduction measures for natural disasters across the country. This July, we held a parent and child picnic-tour that provided participating families with a fun learning experience on disaster prevention and reduction in Nagoya, an area of concern in the event of a Nankai Trough Earthquake. In September, we provided a leader-training program in Tokyo aimed to develop local leaders in disaster prevention who can demonstrate leadership within their respective communities at ordinary times as well as in times of disaster. We will continue to provide programs nationwide, taking account of local characteristics.

(2) Globalization

(i) The International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) 2017 Conference

 The IUMI annual conference took place in Tokyo from September 17th to 20th. Representing insurance associations and other parties across 42 countries and regions, IUMI is a marine insurance union. It was the first time for the annual conference to be held in Tokyo in 11 years since 2006. The various workshops held during the conference attracted around 630 members from 35 countries. The marine insurance industry is confronting challenging conditions driven by the increasing threat of terrorism, the rising trend of protectionism, and the downturn in crude oil prices. In order to contribute to further development of the marine insurance industry at this important turning point, our association will continue to deepen collaboration with marine insurers in the respective countries through occasions such as the IUMI conference.

(ii) Promoting exchanges among overseas insurance associations

 As part of our initiative to strengthen cooperation with relevant parties in other countries, I visited the Association of British Insurers this July. We exchanged information on the Japanese earthquake insurance scheme as well as UK's flood reinsurance program. In August, I visited the General Insurance Association of Indonesia and exchanged views on the challenges of dealing with natural disaster risks. Both of these opportunities reaffirmed and furthered the good relationships between our associations.

(iii) Infrastructure support for Asian regions and countries

 Our association will hold an ISJ (Insurance School (Non-Life) of Japan) overseas seminar in Indonesia on September 27th. The ISJ is an international training program that provides technical assistance on insurance to East Asian regions. A total of 4,932 people have participated in the program since it began more than 20 years ago. At the coming seminar, we will introduce the scheme and insurance know-how on a broad range of topics including earthquake insurance and enterprise risk management.
 In Myanmar, where we held an overseas seminar last year, studies are advancing towards the establishment of an insurance association. We will continue to promote measures by offering know-how, together with the relevant domestic parties.

(3) Insurance crime

(i) Insurance fraud and fraudulent claims prevention system

 Our association embarked on the development of an "Insurance Claim History Information Sharing System", after deciding upon its concrete requirements. This system, which is designed to detect suspicious claims, will be launched next year.
 The current industry-wide database on insurance fraud and fraudulent claims has steadily accumulated information provided by our member companies. To prevent insurance fraud and fraudulent claims, it is essential to develop systems and data management capabilities. We will continue to further enhance industry-wide efforts in this area.

(ii) Home repair providers

 Problems associated with some repair providers have arisen due to them suggesting that consumers repair their homes using insurance. As natural deterioration of dwellings is not covered by insurance, such repairers have been known to encourage consumers to make fraudulent claims by concocting false stories of typhoon damage, etc. Our association is calling customers' attention to such cases by publishing leaflets. In September, in advance of the typhoon season, we revised the contents of these leaflets to reflect the latest situation and distributed them to local consumer affairs centers across the country. We will broadly call attention to this problem by providing updates on our homepage.

(4) Improving the quality of insurance business administration

(i) Increasing the number of General Insurance Total Planners

 The number of "General Insurance Total Planners", our most prestigious qualification for insurance solicitors, has been steadily increasing since the first group was awarded certification in June 2014. As of August 31st this year, a total of 11,566 sales staff had been certified, an increase of 804 year-on-year. While the GIAJ is conducting publicity activities and measures to raise the attractiveness of the qualification, our member companies are increasingly taking measures to provide incentives to acquire qualification. We will proceed with measures to increase the number of General Insurance Total Planners with the aim of promoting high-quality solicitation.

(ii) Joint development of a terminal for registering bank accounts

 In order to allow customers who choose to conclude contracts by bank account transfer to register their accounts more smoothly, our association developed an industry-wide terminal for bank account registration in collaboration with our member companies. By simply swiping their bank cards through the terminal, customers of companies using the terminal can register conveniently without the need to sign and affix their seal on application forms. Member companies planning to use the terminal are currently undergoing preparation towards its launch in March next year.

(5) Crime prevention and traffic safety

(i) The prevention of traffic accidents involving the elderly

 Traffic accidents involving the elderly have become a serious social problem in recent years. To prevent and reduce such accidents, our association analyzed past accidents and developed awareness-raising tools including special leaflets in cooperation with the National Police Agency and other experts. We are engaged in traffic-safety activities across the country by utilizing those tools together with the police and local municipalities.
 Furthermore, our website provides a hazard map listing the most dangerous crossroads in terms of number of accidents, taking account the findings from a survey we conducted across all 47 prefectures in cooperation with local newspaper companies association. In September, we updated the maps and added a new safe-driving aptitude test. We will work on disseminating information to the general public in order to spread awareness about these updates.

(ii) Auto theft prevention measures

 Every October since 2003, our association has been conducting auto theft awareness-raising activities. The number of known vehicle thefts between January and July this year was 6,070, a decrease of 16.3% from the same period last year. However, constant countermeasures are essential as particular areas are still troubled by frequent vehicle thefts. On October 6th this year, we will conduct nationwide awareness-raising activities in cooperation with the police and the Independent Insurance Agents of Japan Inc., including the distribution of leaflets at various locations.

(6) Other activities

(i) Commemorative event for the GIAJ's 100th anniversary

 On November 6th, the 100th anniversary of our foundation, our association will hold a commemorative event with the aim of looking towards the future of the general insurance industry among our member companies, public administration agencies, and industry organizations. Panel discussions with experts in socio-economics, science technology, and insurance will be held to exchange ideas on our industry's future outlook. We hope that this event will help promote the industry's development together with the growth of society.

(ii) Tax reform petitions for fiscal 2018

 At our board meeting in July, we set out our requests on tax reforms for fiscal 2018 and submitted them to the relevant authorities. As a priority, we are calling for responses to the revision of international taxation rules. In recent years, we have seen more and more of our member companies expand their businesses overseas. In light of enhancing the standing of the Japanese general insurance industry internationally, it is essential for international taxation rules to reflect the characteristics of the general insurance business. We will advance our efforts to reach out to related parties towards the achievement of our request.

3. Conclusion

 Fiscal 2017 is the final year of the Seventh Mid-Term Business Plan. Over the three months since I assumed office, we have made steady progress on our initiatives and will continue to make efforts towards the implementation of items in a speedy manner.

 In July, as part of the development of our Eighth Mid-Term Business Plan starting in fiscal 2018, a project team was formed to begin discussions on issues for consideration. When we take into account the societal changes that are expected occur along with technological innovations, demographic shifts, and environmental changes in combination with our association's 100-year history, we recognize that four directions will be crucial for the future: 'Responding to new environmental changes', 'Customer-orientation', 'Strengthening the soundness of systems related to insurance', and 'International cooperation'. The project team is holding discussions on the challenges to be addressed by the general insurance industry and the roles to be undertaken by the GIAJ. To solidify our foundations towards the new era, we will advance our studies in a forward-thinking manner.

 We would highly appreciate your continued support and cooperation.