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Creating a Brighter Future Filled with Peace of Mind and Hope
This year, the Life Insurance Association of Japan (LIAJ) celebrates its 110th anniversary. Since its inception in 1908, we have overcome turbulent times including the Great Kanto Earthquake and World War Ⅱ, and have worked closely with the population to lay the foundation for improving people's lives.
After experiencing the devastation of World War Ⅱ, the LIAJ designated November as “Life Insurance Month”, conducted campaigns to promote life insurance, provided compensation to bereaved families, and invested the premiums generated in domestic companies, thus contributing to the post war reconstruction. Subsequently, we continued to stand by the population in the aftermath of national disasters including the Great Hanshin Awaji and Great East Japan Earthquakes, each time renewing our commitment to supporting the lives of the Japanese people.
In recent years, we have made recommendations to improve the sustainability of the social security system and promoted insurance education, in response to the changing social environment including the rapid population aging and declining birth rate. In addition, we have taken the initiative to enhance equity values to prop up the stock market, including through measures to help raise corporate valuations in the medium to long term, such as through active dialogue.
Thanks to such efforts, life insurers now serve as key social infrastructure in supporting the social security system, paying out some ¥20 trillion in insurance benefits each year. With assets totalling approximately ¥380 trillion, life insurers are also contributing to the growth of the Japanese economy as stable suppliers of secure long-term funds.
Looking at the future of Japan, we expect to see transformation and diversification of the living environment, working style and lifestyle, with major changes in the social environment such as the advent of an ultra-long-lived society where many people live for 100 years, and the declining population, as well as significant advances in technology.
Under these circumstances, it has become increasingly important for each one of us to prepare to embrace the changes by envisaging their future and giving shape to their own aspirations.
As social infrastructure supporting the social security system, and in order to keep playing our role as institutional investors, the life insurance industry would like to take the opportunity of the 110th anniversary of the LIAJ to look beyond the following 10 years and enhance its initiatives to support self-help and economic growth, so that each person in Japan can lead a life full of peace of mind and hope. With this in mind, we will focus on the following three objectives with the overall goal of “Creating a Brighter Future Filled with Peace of Mind and Hope.”
1. Creating the Pathway to a New Era, When People Live for 100 Years
In anticipation of an era of longevity when many people live for 100 years, along with the accompanying diversification in workstyles and lifestyles, self-help efforts have become more important than ever, requiring each person to make adequate provisions in line with their own lifestyle. Against this backdrop, the LIAJ is working with the Japan Institute of Life Insurance to lead an industry-wide effort to develop educational activities to help improve financial literacy, to ensure that each person can obtain the necessary knowledge for envisioning their future and making plans to achieve it.
In light of the increased importance of preparing for risks throughout our lifespan, we are also planning to consider what sort of self-help will be required in the field of medical and nursing care.
Furthermore, we will continue to push for the enhancement of the deduction for life insurance premiums in order to support and encourage the self-help efforts required of individuals.
As a partner to the social security system, the life insurance industry will continue working to build the best mix of self-help, mutual help and public help and to improve the sustainability of the social security system.
2. Creating a Sustainable Society
On the background of the aging population and the declining birth rate, it is crucial to build a sustainable society if we are to live for 100 years with peace of mind and hope.
Accordingly, the LIAJ is committed to contributing to sustainable economic growth by taking into account the sustainability of the environment and society based on the viewpoint of ESG Investing.
In Society 5.0, a super smart society, it may be possible to resolve various social challenges such as the extension of healthy life expectancy for the 100-year lifespan through incorporating the innovations of ICT in various fields and using new technologies including artificial intelligence. The LIAJ will continue to examine ways to contribute to the creation of a sustainable society, leveraging the changing social environment driven by the digital society and playing our role in improving customer convenience and extending healthy life expectancy
3. Creating Peace of Mind
While self-help efforts gain in importance in anticipation of the 100-year lifespan, the life insurance industry will need to develop infrastructure to enhance its businesses and services, in order to keep providing peace of mind as a partner in self-help efforts. Toward that end, member companies should promote customer-centred operations. Accordingly, we will help member companies adopt a consumer-focused approach and improve customer services with a sustained PDCA cycle. This will include existing practices such as exchanging views on life insurance with public/private stakeholders and media, using the mechanism for reflecting consumers’ voice in the management of life insurers, and providing financial ADR services. With regard to the elderly, we will continue to ensure that member companies improve their services for elderly customers by following up on the voluntary guidelines.
We will also examine and actively express our views on how best to take into account the characteristics of the Japanese life insurance industry in applying international financial regulations, international accounting standards and domestic regulations, among others.
Concerning the discussion over Japan Post Insurance, which centres around expansion of its scope of business and raising of the cap on insurance amounts, we will express our views as necessary in light of their potential impact on the market, etc., as we believe that a level playing field is essential for the benefit of consumers in the medium to long term.
Those are some elements of my policy as I assume the office of Chairman of the LIAJ. As the Association celebrates its 110th anniversary, we will address the issues directly and work to solve them throughout the year, aiming for a future filled with peace of mind and hope by encouraging self-help efforts and contributing to the creation of a sustainable society. I would greatly appreciate your continued support and cooperation.
The Life Insurance Association of Japan