Life insurance premium payments fall

JIJI

Payments of domestic life insurance premiums have plunged nearly 40 percent over the past 15 years as households reduce spending to deal with the nation’s economic doldrums, an industry survey said Tuesday.

Premium payments are expected to total ¥418,000 per household in fiscal 2012 ending in March next year, down 38.2 percent from a peak of ¥676,000 in fiscal 1997, the Japan Institute of Life Insurance said.

Payments were down ¥37,000 from the previous survey in 2009.

The survey also found that 8.0 percent of annual incomes were spent on premium payments in fiscal 2012, down 2.1 points from fiscal 1997.

The triennial survey, conducted on 4,063 households nationwide, covered private life insurers, government-owned Japan Post Insurance Co. and the National Mutual Insurance Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives.

As for private life insurers, the survey showed that 4.5 percent of new contracts were concluded on the Internet and that 4.2 percent were made through banks, while 68.2 percent were handled by salespeople.

The chairman of the Life Insurance Association of Japan, Kenji Matsuo, said at a news conference Friday that premium payments have been falling mainly because people are reviewing their insurance plans at a time when disposable income is shrinking.