New Year's Message from the Chairperson for 2023

Seiji Inagaki, Chairperson

The Life Insurance Association of Japan

As the year 2023 begins in earnest, I wish everyone a very happy New Year for 2023.

Last year, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) wreaked further havoc in Japan.

It was a year the life insurance industry strived strenuously to fulfill its social mission, providing comfort and care to customers facing the risk of infection and related impact on their livelihood. It made over \1 trillion in payments to 9.5 million cases in response to claims for hospitalization and other benefits related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The recent environment we face has become even more complex as the prolonged pandemic and the war in Ukraine, among other factors, have had serious impact on the economy and society. Furthermore, the experience of unexpected events has increasingly accelerated the changes in customers’ sense of values and lifestyles. For the life insurance industry, it is important to respond to these various environmental changes and to continue to unfailingly fulfill our social mission of delivering a peace of mind to our customers.

With this in mind, we will continue to proceed with our proactive approach this year, focusing on the following two pillars of action that I highlighted upon becoming chairperson last July.

1.Promoting Our Customer-first Business Operations

In order for the life insurance industry to provide an unwavering peace of mind, it is most important to ensure a relationship of trust with customers, as well as to further promote the customer-first business operations.

Accordingly, the LIAJ is working on developing specific “viewpoints,” or a collection of ideas and case studies to help member companies enhance their compliance risk management structure related to the direct salesperson channel, including through the dedicated project team established last August. We will continue to work closely with top management executives to ensure that the viewpoints help contribute to the enhancement and effectiveness of member companies’ efforts, taking into account the differences between the companies’ channel characteristics, business operations/structures and so forth.

The LIAJ is also planning on publishing around March the result of the sales agencies rated under its Agency Operations Quality Review launched last April. Going forward, we will increase our support for the customer-first business operations at sales agencies by improving the use and public awareness of the review more widely.

2.Seeking to Achieve Future Well-being

(1) Playing our part in realizing a digital society

Amid the accelerating digitalization of society, we believe that it is important for the life insurance industry, playing a complementary role to social security, to deliver a peace of mind more efficiently to customers through its products, capturing the trend toward digitalization in the area of social security.

Accordingly, we will continue our research on the latest cases where digital technology has been adopted for social security in other countries, and will prepare a report scheduled for publication this spring that focuses on the possibility of life insurers delivering more efficient services.

In addition, we are considering a broad range of case studies focusing on data-driven procedures related to the Individual Number System in Japan such as My Number Cards and My Number Portal for the life insurance industry while proactively leveraging external expertise as well. Going forward, we plan to develop and provide a collection of case studies to help member companies implement/consider specific services, as well as to prepare recommendations scheduled for publication this spring on how to overcome structural challenges related to realizing these new services.

(2) Playing our part in realizing a sustainable society

The life insurance industry will continue to help maximize the corporate value of companies we invest in, and contribute to sustainable economic growth through ESG investment/financing and stewardship activities. We will also promote industry-wide efforts aimed at achieving the SDGs for a sustainable society.

In addition to addressing climate change related issues, we are developing a handbook scheduled for publication in February on human rights due diligence methods that explain how companies can practically address this issue. This is to enhance the efforts made by member companies, as businesses are increasingly required to fulfill their social responsibility to uphold human rights issues. With regard to biodiversity, we arranged a seminar inviting an external speaker during a special project team meeting last November, and will continue to support SDGs-related efforts of member companies through these activities.

(3) Building infrastructure for sound business development

The life insurance industry will continue to press for the expansion of the life insurance premium deduction system to support efforts by the public to obtain the types of private insurance coverage that they need, as well as to review and provide active feedback on the state of domestic and international financial regulations.

We will also continue to be involved in insurance education activities for a wide range of generations to help raise the financial literacy of the population and to promote public awareness related to the life insurance business.

Through these activities, we are committed to maintaining and improving public trust in the life insurance industry, as well as to fulfilling our evolving role in the future, making full efforts to ensure the future well-being of our customers.

Finally, I would like to conclude my New Year message by wishing everyone a wonderful 2023.