Consultation before Bidding Suspected for Aioi Nissay

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japanese nonlife insurer Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co. is suspected of having a consultation with an industry peer prior to bidding for a contract to offer insurance to Keisei Electric Railway Co., it was learned Saturday.

The allegation came to light following the revelation last month that Aioi Nissay and three other major nonlife insurers — Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. — formed a cartel to adjust fire insurance premiums for railway and real estate group Tokyu Corp.

The latest scandal added to suspicion that unfair practices may be flourishing in the industry.

Before the bidding for a liability insurance contract with Keisei, conducted by the railway operator in October last year, Aioi Nissay is suspected of asking Sompo Japan, which was in charge of leading the bidding process, about other bidders’ insurance premium levels for the contract in an effort to avoid presenting premiums that are too expensive compared with theirs.

The bidding is believed to have been also joined by Tokio Marine and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance.

Aioi Nissay President Keisuke Niiro concurrently serves as chairman of the General Insurance Association of Japan.

Since offering insurance for major companies can pose great financial risks to insurers, multiple insurers usually work together to provide such companies with insurance under a joint contract.

Meanwhile, making arrangements prior to bidding procedures could amount to an infringement of the antimonopoly law. “We’re currently confirming the facts,” an Aioi Nissay public relations official said.