/

Dai-ichi Life plans U.S. expansion

Kyodo

Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. is planning to expand into the U.S. life insurance market, President Koichiro Watanabe said.

The life insurer has already turned a U.S. asset investment company into its affiliate, and “in the future, the insurance underwriting market will come into sight as our target,” Watanabe said in an interview Thursday. “We would like to modify our business strategy.”

Dai-ichi Life looks to consider acquiring existing U.S. firms, and intends to invest up to ¥300 billion in mergers and acquisitions in the coming three years to enhance its overall overseas operations.

“We would like to introduce overseas growth potential into our domestic operations. We would also have to disperse risks,” Watanabe said.

Watanabe also said the company is in talks over a capital alliance with medium-size Indonesian life insurer Panin Life. Dai-ichi Life is expected to acquire a 40 percent stake for some ¥30 billion, he said.

On the recent wild fluctuations in Japanese interest rates that have discouraged life insurers from buying government bonds, he noted the government and the Bank of Japan have vowed to prevent interest rates from rising sharply.

“Interest rates are being stabilized,” Watanabe said. “We can purchase government bonds at present levels.”