4 Major Insurers Said to Collude on Premiums for over 100 Clients

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Four major nonlife insurance firms inappropriately prearranged their insurance premiums for contracts with over 100 corporate clients in possible violation of the antimonopoly law, people familiar with the matter said Thursday.

The four insurers — Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Sompo Japan Insurance Inc., Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co. — were given until Friday to submit reports on their inappropriate acts and preventive measures to the Financial Services Agency.

The insurers prearranged premiums for contracts whose benefit payment risks are shared by multiple insurers, before submitting tenders to prospective clients.

Benefit payment risks are shared typically for contracts with clients with large facilities such as oil refiners and railway operators.

The prearrangement scandal came to light as railway and real estate group Tokyu Corp. complained in December last year that fire insurance premiums far different from those in the past were offered from insurers.

More suspected cases of prearrangement later emerged over contracts with oil refiner Eneos Corp., East Japan Railway Co. and Narita International Airport Corp.

Insurance premiums may have also been prearranged for public entities, including the Tokyo metropolitan government, the people familiar with the matter said.

The FSA will consider issuing a business improvement order to the four insurers after examining reports from them. The Fair Trade Commission has also opened a probe into the scandal on suspicion of antimonopoly law violation.

Employees of the four insurers prearranged their insurance premiums that they would offer to clients by sharing related information via email or in other ways, as frequent natural disasters in the country in recent years discouraged them from reducing premiums.