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A Growing Percentage of Japanese Consumers Are Turning to Agencies To Purchase Life Insurance

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Great East Japan Earthquake Drives Increase in Life Insurance Purchases by Young Men

TOKYO: 7 March 2012 — While the main sales channel for life insurance in Japan remains direct sales by insurance companies, a growing percentage of consumers are using agencies to buy their life insurance, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2012 Japan Life Insurance Contract Customer Satisfaction StudySM.

The study, now in its second year, measures satisfaction among consumers who purchased a new life-insurance contract or renewed contracts within the past 12 months. Overall customer satisfaction with life insurance contracts is based on four factors: customer service, procedures and documentation, premium, and products offered.   

The percentage of consumers purchasing new life-insurance policies through an agent in 2011 was 29 percent, up from 18 percent in 2010. Among consumers utilizing an agency to purchase life insurance, 38 percent did so to purchase medical benefit insurance, up from 23 percent in 2010. In comparison, 42 percent of consumers who utilized a direct channel purchased medical benefit insurance.

In addition, the study finds that 32 percent of consumers with life support insurance utilizing agency and 36 percent of consumers with medical benefit insurance utilizing agency switched insurance companies.

Earthquake prompts young men to take out policy

Among respondents who say they purchased insurance, 5 percent opted for life support insurance and 6 percent chose medical benefit insurance as a result of the Great Quake. In addition, among consumers who purchased life insurance after the earthquake, an unusually high proportion (approximately 20%) were men in their 20s in the life support insurance and in the medical benefit insurance segment.

"A surprisingly high percentage of the young men who purchased insurance said the Earthquake had prompted them to consider taking out a life insurance policy," said Ryutaro Nakao, manager at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Tokyo. "Based on comments we received in the study, the natural disaster caused younger consumers to think about preparing for an unanticipated event, or to get their matters in order for the sake of their family."

The study finds that it was not just younger consumers who were affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.  Approximately 80 percent of policy carriers added special provisions--specific coverage added as an option to the primary life insurance policy--because of the earthquake, an increase of 10 percent compared with the industry average. Among special provisions that were added by the person who say they purchased insurance as a result of earthquake, "death benefit" or "income benefit" to life support insurance and "hospitalization and medical treatment special provision" or "income benefit" to medical benefit insurance were higher than the industry average.

"This suggests that the earthquake prompted consumers to take out policies intended to hedge the risk with enhanced income benefits,' said Nakao.  

Highest-Ranked Insurance Providers

Prudential Life Insurance ranks highest in customer satisfaction among providers in the life support insurance segment for a second consecutive year with an index score of 687 on a 1,000-point scale. Sony Life Insurance (674) and AXA Life Insurance (651) follow Prudential Life Insurance in the segment rankings.  

Mitsui Sumitomo Aioi Life Insurance ranks highest in the medical benefit insurance segment with an index score of 674. Tokio Marine & Nichido Life Insurance (666) and Sony Life Insurance (662), rank second and third, respectively.   

Sony Life Insurance ranks highest in the asset building insurance segment with an index score of 685. American Family Life Insurance Company of Columbus (Aflac) ranked second in the segment with a 657, followed by Dai-ichi Life Insurance (651).

The J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2012 Japan Life Insurance Contract Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 9,868 that purchased new life insurance contracts or renewed contracts in 2011. The study was fielded in December 2011.

About J.D. Power Asia Pacific

J.D. Power Asia Pacific has offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai and Bangkok that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide consulting services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries. Together, the five offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand. Information regarding J.D. Power Asia Pacific and its products can be accessed through the Internet at Media e-mail contact:

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction.  The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.  For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two public companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial's leading brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at

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