The Financial Services Agency is set to partially suspend Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. from business for about a month over unlawful sales practices that surfaced earlier this year, FSA sources said Tuesday.

The agency will order Sompo Japan to suspend sales of life insurance products offered by its partner life insurers, the sources said.

It may also order it to stop some of its mainstay sales of nonlife insurance products, as the FSA has found more cases in which the company failed to pay insurance benefits to clients, they said.

Sompo Japan was slapped with a business improvement order in November for failing to pay insurance claims. It would be rare for the FSA to again issue an improvement order to the same entity in such a short period of time.

The major nonlife insurer admitted in February that its salespeople asked relatives and friends to buy policies, with the employees shouldering the premiums, in an apparent effort to meet sales goals. The employees later collected part of the premiums.

The products sold were life insurance policies offered by Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Co., one of Sompo Japan’s business partners.

In addition to the business suspension order, the nation’s top financial regulator may slap Sompo with a business improvement order, demanding it clarify management’s responsibility for sales conduct prohibited by the insurance business law.

Sompo has denied that management ordered staff to commit the irregularities.

Its officials said earlier some 280 employees were involved in 366 cases of unlawful policy sales between February 2002 and August 2005.

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