The combined annual premium revenue at the nation’s five major nonlife insurance firms, for fiscal 1997, registered a year-on-year decline for the first time in the postwar era, earnings reports released Thursday showed.

The total figure came to roughly 3.9 trillion yen, 0.1 percent less than that for fiscal 1996.

Although premium revenue rose slightly at Tokio Marine and Fire Insurance Co. and Sumitomo Fire & Marine Insurance Co., the lackluster economy and the reduction of premium rates for auto accident insurance led to sluggish sales at all five firms.

Pretax profits at the nonlife insurers fell 0.9 percent to 254.9 billion yen due to factors such as low yields in domestic markets and a rise in writeoffs of their nonperforming loans.

The total amount of loans placed under risk management — a new disclosure format introduced for financial institutions from fiscal 1997 earnings, that is similar to the standards authorized by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission — came to 242.8 billion yen at the companies.

The recent turmoil in Asian markets had some effect on Tokio Marine. The company said that its earnings report included roughly 15 billion yen in losses related to its business in the region, which it had previously viewed as a growth zone.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.