GIAJ Chairman's Statement (Translation/Executive summary)

I would like to report and comment on our activities since I assumed office as Chairman of the General Insurance Association of Japan (GIAJ) at the end of June 2021.

Shinichiro Funabiki, Chairman

Specific measures on priority issues during this fiscal year

(1) Measures related to climate change

a. Strengthening our responses to natural disaster risks

1. Disaster responses

In times of heavy rainfall and other disasters, upon individual member company requests, we provided satellite images and area by area data on flood levels, which are utilized for prompt damage assessments and claim payments.

This month, to help our customers prepare for disasters, we released customer-friendly leaflets which explain in an easy-to-understand manner how to read hazard maps published by municipalities. We are broadly distributing the leaflets to our customers via agents. We will further promote PR activities by posting links to local government websites.

To promote the use of hazard maps and raise the market penetration of Earthquake Insurance, a six-part television infomercial series on disaster prevention will be broadcast on the BS Nippon channel.

2. Disaster prevention and reduction

To make house roofs more wind resistant, stricter standards for roof-tile installation on newly built houses will be introduced in January 2022. In addition, we will actively disseminate information on the expansion of subsidies for installing new wind resistant measures.

To help protect our customers’ lives, our regional offices cooperated with local governments, universities, and research institutes to support various activities regarding disaster prevention at the local level.

3. The Fiscal 2022 tax revision request package

To ensure the sustainability of fire insurance which protects houses, usually the most valuable property of our customers, within the fiscal 2022 tax revision request package, we have made 8 proposals including a request to expand the posting of pre-event catastrophe loss reserves. This is in response to the increasing severity and frequency of natural disasters in recent years.

b. Measures towards ensuring proper claim payments

There are a growing number of problems associated with fraudulent repair providers that take advantage of customers after natural disasters.

We are working on the prevention and mitigation of such problems by including a warning in our condolence messages to those affected by disasters, and also providing regional consumer affairs centers with relevant information.

We prepared 835 thousand copies of awareness-raising leaflets in cooperation with the Consumer Affairs Agency, the National Police Agency, and the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan. As well as calling attention to this problem using various public opportunities, we will distribute the leaflets to our customers via local consumer affairs centers, the Loss Adjusting Association of Japan, and our member companies.

From October, a QR code will be added to insurance premium deduction certificates so that policyholders can gain information on home repair troubles.

c. Development of our Position Statement on Climate Change, and support for member company responses

In July, we adopted and published our Position Statement on Climate Change. To achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, we will coordinate our member companies’ initiatives, and promote awareness-raising activities including enhanced customer communication.

As the first step of support activities for our member companies, in July we invited Mr. Kenji Fujii, the President of Global Risk and Governance LLC, to hold a study session for our member companies.

We started distributing newsletters to our member companies to inform and explain the latest topics and trends regarding responses to climate change. We will also soon publicize customer-friendly electronic brochure to raise public awareness on this subject.

(2) Promotion of non-face-to-face, non-contact, paperless operations

In October, we will launch a combined issuance system for insurance premium deduction certificates sent to our customers, and coordinate data with "Mynaportal", an online web service operated by the government of Japan where citizens can examine their personal "My Number" (Social Security and Tax Number) information and records.

Given that society is increasingly moving away from paper and going digital, this month we set up a project team to identify and examine business operations with a view to improving comprehensibility and convenience for our customers, as well as raising productivity among our member companies.

(3) Enhancing risk preparations

To support businesses' risk taking activities through insurance, we conducted a survey of SMEs, regarding their level of recognition of the risks surrounding their business activities and their responses to such risks. In light of the needs of SMEs, which have been identified as a result of our questionnaire survey, we will further promote understanding and awareness-raising among businesses in cooperation with our member companies.

(4) Improving general insurance literacy among high school students

Our active learning video teaching material for high school students, which helps them understand risks in their daily lives and the role of general insurance, received an award from the National Institute on Consumer Education as an excellent example of consumer education material.

In August, we, together with the Japan Institute of Life Insurance, held a seminar for junior high and high school teachers.

(5) Others

a. Sustained improvement in the quality of insurance business administration

Some seminars are now being offered online for those aiming to become "General Insurance Total Planners", the highest general insurance solicitor (e.g. agent) qualification. Due to Covid-19, non-contact solicitation has been on the rise. To improve customer satisfaction, we will strive to train as many professional insurance solicitors as possible.

b. Appropriate responses to international standards

We submitted our comments on the IAIS consultation documents.

c. Strengthening engagement with emerging markets

With a view to offering technical assistance and promoting exchanges among the general insurance industries of East Asia, we have hosted the ISJ (Insurance School (Non-Life) of Japan) program since 1972. In July, we held an online version of the ISJ advanced course.

d. Enhancement of disaster prevention capabilities at the local level, and development of emergency medical systems

To help municipalities protect their residents’ lives and property, we have been donating light weight fire engines and high-standard ambulances to local governments around the nation since 1952. This year, we donated 20 vehicles, which brings the total number of vehicles donated to 5,169.

e. Preparation for earthquake disasters

To promote earthquake preparation among customers, we began a PR campaign in August that features Mr. Atsuto Uchida, a former Japanese international footballer, to enhance public awareness of earthquake insurance and raise its level of penetration.