The Tokyo District Court on Monday ended reorganization proceedings for failed mid-tier life insurer Kyoei Life Insurance Co., renamed Gibraltar Life Insurance Co. at the beginning of this month.

The Prudential Insurance Co. of America subsidiary, which began operations earlier this month, will target affluent niche markets through the activities of its 2,000 life planners, said Arthur Ryan, Chairman and CEO of Prudential Insurance.

“There is plenty of room for growth . . . if we address the changing needs of customers that others haven’t seen,” Ryan said of the Japanese market, in which it is not uncommon for a single family to have multiple insurance plans.

Kyoei Life filed for court protection from creditors under fast-track action laws in October. Its finances deteriorated by widening negative spread, in which promised rates of return exceed those earned by the insurer.

“The issue is not how we will develop new products, but whether the Japanese insurance industry can match products with the needs of our customers,” said Kiyofumi Sakaguchi, president and CEO of the Prudential International Insurance Group in a news conference on its future strategy. “We do not believe that the fate of the company lies in product development, but in our distribution strategy.”

S&P downgrade

Standard & Poor’s Corp. said Monday it has downgraded its long-term rating on Sanyo Shinpan Finance Co. to BBB from A-, following Sanyo’s acquisition of a 51 percent stake in Mycal Card Inc.

The outlook on the long-term rating is stable, the U.S. credit-rating agency said.

S&P also affirmed its A-2 short-term rating on the company.

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