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Establishing a Society Where Everyone Can Live in Good Health without Worries
It has been 150 years since modern life insurance system was introduced into Japan. Since late 1800s, Meiji era, the life insurance business in Japan has been growing steadily following the development of Japanese economy, supporting improvement of people’s lives with the aim of contributing to promotion of social and public welfare.
Today, life insurance companies pay out more than ¥21 trillion annually. The life insurance business has established its portfolio as a key player in the social security system, fulfilling a vital role by complementing the public security system.
Additionally, while the Japanese government is taking various measures to address advancement of population aging, the life insurance industry is taking its own initiatives aimed to help to establish a society where people enjoy health with longer healthy life expectancy by providing various insurance products that enable customers to live their old ages without financial worries.
Meanwhile, in the super-aged society, it is expected that the social security expense shows steeper expansion than Japanese economy, underscoring the urgency of development of the sustainable social security system. In order to improve the sustainability of the social security system and to establish a society where everyone can live in good health without worries, we believe that self-help, mutual help and public help need to be mixed in an optimal manner. Accordingly, the life insurance industry will be given greater responsibility in providing private security as a tool for self-help efforts.
In terms of investment, as a provider of long-term capital with the total assets of approximately ¥370 trillion, the life insurance industry invests in governmental/local bonds and provides funding to potential areas of growth. The industry is contributing to revitalization of economic activity in Japan also by supporting medium- to long-term growth of companies through holding constructive dialogues.
In the context of national economy, the government has been steadily implementing its growth strategy toward its goal of overcoming deflationary economy and achieving sustainable economic growth, and now Japanese economy shows some positive signs such as improvement of employment situation. In the private sector, driven by accelerating decrease in working-age population, broader range of companies are striving for improved productivity by way of diversification and work-style reform and for better health management for their employees by way of promotion of better work-life balance.
The LIAJ has conducted initiatives with longer timeframe with regard to the issues such as: contributing to the sustainable social security system, consumer-oriented management, better serving the elderly, promoting insurance education, contributing to growth strategy including extension of healthy life expectancy and vitalizing of financial/capital market and enhancement of global competitiveness. Over the next 12 months, while being active on fostering better environment for sound development of the life insurance business, we will focus on the following three initiatives in order to further advance these past initiatives.
1. Establishing a Society Where Everyone Can Live without Worries ? Better fulfilling the roles of life insurance business ?
Expectations on the role of life insurance business to provide private security, particularly medical coverage and pensions, are increasing toward development of the sustainable social security system. In order to meet such expectations, life insurers are required to strive to ensure and maintain their services to be “customer-oriented” in terms of, such as, provision of coverage and services that suit customers’ needs by taking inventive approaches more than ever.
The LIAJ is supporting the member companies’ consumer-oriented management. We will continue to support customer-oriented business operation by member companies by sharing valuable insights gained through enhanced communication with consumer counsellors in the Interactive Dialogues on Life Insurance and collection and analysis of consumers’ opinions filed to the LIAJ.
Besides, to promote friendly life insurance services for the elderly, the LIAJ will support improvement of member companies’ services for the elderly through monitoring implementation of our voluntary guidelines.
In terms of future generation, the LIAJ believes that it is important to provide them with opportunities in the course of school education to learn the necessity of private security that complements public security and the benefit of the use of insurance. The LIAJ will continue to engage in insurance education in collaboration with the Japan Institute of Life Insurance so that greater population will have a sufficient understanding on life insurance.
2. Establishing a Society Where People Enjoy Health with Longer Life Expectancy- Contributing to a society where people live in health and with rich spirits -
A healthy life with a rich spirit of every citizen leads to revitalization of local communities and improvement of entities’ profitability and is a key to establish a society where people’s health and longevity are enhanced.
Growth Strategy 2017 adopted by Japanese government sets a goal of “extension of healthy life expectancy” and both public and private sector are working together to support people’s health promotion and prevention of diseases. In private sector, more companies have started to take on board health maintenance and promotion of their employees in their management.
Recognizing the mission of life insurance to support customers’ lives on a long-term basis, the LIAJ believes that we can make additional contribution with regard to extension of healthy life expectancy so that each customer can live longer in health and with a rich spirit.
In line with such social trends, the LIAJ will conduct efforts to support initiatives by companies and local communities to promote health.
Furthermore, based on the new Three-year Plan for Social Contribution Activities established in this fiscal year, the LIAJ will take initiatives to help creating an environment where working mothers need not to feel that they are compromising on child rearing, as well as engaging in social contribution activities.
3. Activities to Enhance the Basis of the Life Insurance Business - Contributing to vitalizing of the capital market -
The LIAJ will stay active on fostering better business environment of the life insurance business.
The LIAJ believes that it is important for member companies to actively seek to play the expected roles of institutional investors through pursuit of enhanced corporate/stock values taking into consideration the revised Japan’s Stewardship Code. As such, we will make requests for activate dialogues between investors and the invested companies and requests toward enhancement of stock values.
As to taxation, the LIAJ will continue to request the expansion of tax deductions for life insurance premiums to provide support on the financial preparation that people would need.
With regard to the international financial regulation and international accounting standards as well, the LIAJ will actively express opinions with the aim to ensure sound operation of life insurance business and benefits for customers.
Furthermore, the LIAJ will continuously express opinions as necessary, giving due consideration to any developments in relevant areas, based on our stance that expansion of the scope of business and the increase in the cap on the amount of insurance coverage of Japan Post Insurance are not acceptable without first ensuring a level playing field for improvement of consumers’ medium- to long-term interests.
These are the key elements of my policy as I assume the role of Chairman at the LIAJ. I will make every effort over the next 12 months. I would greatly appreciate your continued support and cooperation.
The Life Insurance Association of Japan