Higher Long-term Interest Rates Boost Returns from Pensions, Life Insurance

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Pamphlets advertising insurance products

The rise in long-term interest rates has rippled through the market. While rates are up for fixed-rate mortgages, some changes have been positive, such as higher returns on insurance products.

Financial institutions increasingly feel that the upward trend in interest rates has staying power, given improvements in the economy and price situation.

Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. will raise the assumed interest rate — the yield promised to policyholders — on some of its personal pension insurance plans from October. Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. has raised the return rate on its yen-based single-premium whole life insurance.

Among banks, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. has substantially raised interest rates on dollar-denominated deposits for individuals following a rise in long-term interest rates in the United States. Yen-based deposits will likely see similar moves as interest rates in Japan tick up.

On the other hand, rates will rise for fixed-rate mortgages and long-term financing for companies to reflect moves in long-term interest rates. However, Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda has played down such concerns. He said at a press conference Friday that “long-term interest rates are rising only slightly, which is not worrisome.”