Govt Orders 4 Insurers to Improve Practices

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Financial Services Minister Shunichi Suzuki speaks during a news conference at the Finance Ministry on Tuesday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Financial Services Agency on Tuesday issued business improvement orders to four major nonlife insurers for presetting premiums for contracts with corporate clients before bidding.

The four are Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Sompo Japan Insurance Inc., Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co. The orders were issued under the insurance business law.

Noting that the companies widely conducted inappropriate practices amounting to suspected cartels in violation of the Antimonopoly Law, the FSA ordered them to take thorough measures to prevent any recurrence, regularly report progress in the implementation of the steps and clarify management responsibility.

In reports they submitted to the FSA based on orders from the government agency, the insurers admitted that their officials in charge had exchanged information on insurance premiums and conducted other practices violating the principles of the law in advance for contracts with more than 100 companies, including the Tokyu Corp. group, which runs real estate, railway and other business operations.

“Inappropriate acts were conducted widely and repeatedly, so the practices were very malicious,” financial services minister Shunichi Suzuki told a news conference Tuesday.

As factors behind the problems at the companies, Suzuki cited cross-shareholdings to maintain good relations with client firms, sales cooperation not related to insurance contracts, and corporate culture that makes light of customer protection. He strongly urged the four companies to take drastic measures to improve the situations.