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Four of the nation’s leading life insurance companies emphasized Wednesday the soundness of their finances during annual meetings of their representative policyholders.

Nippon Life Insurance Co., Asahi Mutual Life Insurance Co., Meiji Life Insurance Co. and Yasuda Mutual Life Insurance Co. told policyholders that although they have been hit by falling stock prices and growing policy cancellations, their finances are sound.

Japan’s life insurers are mutual companies, and their meetings of representative policyholders are the equivalent of shareholders’ meetings at stock companies.

At the gathering for Nippon Life, the largest of the four, President Ikuo Uno said his company has succeeded in building a firm management base through cost-cutting efforts.

Meanwhile, Yuzuru Fujita, president of Asahi Mutual Life, said his firm sharply reduced its stockholdings. “We will continue efforts to create a management immune to stock prices,” he said.

Asahi Mutual Life is slated to transform itself into a stock company and come under the wing of Millea Holdings Inc. by 2004. Millea Holdings was launched in April by Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance Co. and Nichido Fire & Marine Insurance Co.

Meiji Life and Yasuda Mutual explained the two companies’ plan to merge in April 2004 to their respective policyholders.

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