The GIAJ Chairman's Statement (Translation/ Executive summary)
June 09, 2022
I would like to report and comment on our key initiatives over the past year during my term as Chairman of the GIAJ.
Specific measures on priority issues during this fiscal year
(1) Measures related to climate change
a. Strengthening our responses to natural disaster risks
1. Joint industry initiatives
Following the heavy rainfall events in July and August last year, at the request of our member companies the GIAJ promptly provided satellite imagery and inundation data of the affected areas to support prompt claim payments. This joint industry initiative facilitated industry-wide efforts to help affected customers.
Regarding claim payments for housings with mortgages (*), we set up a framework under which lenders collectively pre-approve claims that meet certain conditions and directly pay homeowners. This helps ease the burden of administrative paperwork for all parties after large disasters, but most importantly, it helps get homeowners back on their feet as swiftly as possible.
*Note: For insurance contracts covering housing mortgages, the lender retains the right to claim any insurance payouts first.
2. Disaster prevention and reduction
To raise awareness of the hazard maps published by local governments, the GIAJ provided over 5,000 high schools across Japan with supplementary, easy-to-understand materials on how to read hazard maps and put them to use. They can be utilized as reference materials in "Comprehensive Geography" classes, which under government curriculum guidelines, have become a required subject in high schools as of this year.
We also released a short movie called "Reminiscence of Maru" on our YouTube channel to raise awareness of the hazard maps. The movie has been very well received.
We promoted disaster/crime prevention and traffic safety education for children through our educational activity named "Explore your town - Disaster prevention hotspots" map-making competition.
In response to a report by the Financial Services Agency's "Council of Experts on Determination of Fire Insurance Premium Rates Based on Exposures to Water Damage Risks”, which was published in March, insurance companies are considering breaking down water damage premium rates into smaller segments according to each region’s level of risk. (They have until now been uniform nationwide.) In the future, it will become increasingly important for customers to comprehensively understand the risks in their areas of residence, so that they are able to choose the insurance products they truly need.
3. Fiscal 2022 tax revision request package
As a result of our tax revision requests, the catastrophic loss reserve ratio for fire, wind, and flood insurance has been raised from 6% to 10%. We will continue to meet the demands and expectations of society by providing fire (homeowners and property) insurance coverage in a sustainable manner.
b. Measures towards ensuring proper claim payments
We promoted countermeasures against troubles with malicious home repairers, who try to gain profit unfairly by taking advantage of natural disasters.
We continued our activities in cooperation with the Independent Insurance Agents of Japan, consumer affairs centers and other related administrative organizations. We revised our “Guidelines related to the Description of Solicitation Materials”, etc., used them in our insurance agent training programs, and reinforced awareness through our member companies.
We will continue to check the appropriateness of claim payments through our database on malicious repairers. We will also further develop and utilize tools for detecting the involvement of malicious repairers from the information contained within claim-related documents.
c. Formulation of our "Position Statement on Climate Change", and support for our member company’s responses
In July, we adopted and published our "Position Statement on Climate Change", and have been promoting industry-wide initiatives since.
The GIAJ’s pamphlet titled "Climate change: What it’s about and how we can act" has been well received and used by various local governments and industrial organizations.
We held three study sessions on climate change which attracted a total of 1,740 participants from our member companies. In addition, the eight newsletters we issued provided information on the latest climate change topics and trends.
(2) Promotion of non-face-to-face, non-contact, paperless operations
Since October, it has been possible to electronically obtain insurance premium deduction certificates used for year-end income tax adjustments and final income tax returns, as well as to link them to "Mynaportal", a website operated by the government that facilitates online administrative procedures.
In February, it became possible to exchange all contract information for co-insurance (single policy underwritten by multiple insurance companies) electrically. The remaining paper-based exchange of information on non-fleet grades (premium surcharges and discounts) among insurance companies for voluntary automobile insurance will be made paperless as of next month. These measures will reduce our use of paper by more than 1 million sheets per year.
With the goal of starting operations in 2024, we have also begun to study the specifics of an industry-wide joint system to enable paperless CALI-related (Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance) procedures and cashless premium payments.
(3) Enhancing risk preparations
Based on the results of a survey of SMEs, we launched a website called “Insurance necessary for SMEs”. Due to its useful contents and the fact that we actively publicized it through digital media, the site has been accessed more than 90,000 times.
On Digital Day last October, we released an interview about cyber insurance featuring Mr. Shingo Kaneko, Vice President of the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In cooperation with the relevant ministries and agencies and the Independent Insurance Agents of Japan, we will continue to support the activities of SMEs through our member companies and contribute to regional revitalization.
(4) Enhancing general insurance literacy among high school students
To support teachers and other professionals in the field of education, we distributed teaching materials called "Towards a bright future: TRY!" to enhance the active learning of students, and an information-packed magazine titled "Sonpo (General Insurance) Journal" for teachers, to high schools and boards of education throughout Japan. We aim to have about 40% of high schools on board to teach general insurance in their classes using our publications and teaching-aids within a few years.
a. Preparation for earthquake disasters
Last year, which marked the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, we hosted a panel discussion on "The Great East Japan Earthquake: Looking back over the past 10 years and forward to the next 10" in Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefecture.
The number of earthquake insurance policies in force in Japan as of March 31, 2022, was approximately 20.8 million (an increase of 2.2% from the previous year).
b. Efforts to provide appropriate information on public insurance systems, etc.
In May, we revised the “Guidelines on Third-Sector Products (products that cover sickness or nursing care)” and encouraged member companies to provide necessary and easy-to-understand explanations to customers about public insurance to help them better understand the additional insurance coverage they may need.
c. Contribution to the global economy
The GIAJ looks forward to welcoming the 2023 IAIS Annual Conference, to Japan next year. As we aim to build a better tomorrow for the insurance industry, we remain committed to contributing to the success of these meetings by supporting and working together with the host, the Financial Services Agency.