Insurers eye NPA data to bar yakuza

JIJI

The Life Insurance Association of Japan is considering making use of the National Police Agency’s database on “antisocial groups” to help prevent member insurers from signing contracts or making business transactions with gangsters, according to sources.

The industry group, which has 43 member companies, hopes to start using the police database next year after reaching a consensus by the end of this year and working out details through consultations with the NPA, the sources said.

The association is considering the move in step with the banking industry, which is beefing up efforts to shut out yakuza and other rogue elements.

At a news conference Thursday, Japanese Bankers Association chief Takeshi Kunibe unveiled plans to link the industry’s database to the NPA’s to prevent loans to unsavory groups.

The banking and insurance measures come on the heels of the scandal besetting Mizuho Bank for extending loans to mobsters through affiliated consumer credit firm Orient Corp.

Mizuho has been slapped with a business improvement order by the Financial Services Agency.

The life insurance association has until now collected information on underworld elements on its own and provided the data to the member insurers.

In line with the industrywide moves, individual life and nonlife insurance companies that provide loans through tie-ups with consumer credit firms are stepping up their own efforts to head off gangsters.

Among them, Nippon Life Insurance Co., Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. and Nipponkoa Insurance Co. are talking with their respective partner consumer credit companies to create new tie-ups allowing the insurers themselves to check loan applications.