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The nation’s 12 leading life insurance companies did not pay out a combined 26.8 billion yen in 230,000 cases between fiscal 2001 and 2005, the companies announced Friday.

The firms submitted the findings of their in-house investigations to the Financial Services Agency the same day.

The figures are expected to increase because the companies have yet to complete their probes into more than a 1 million combined cases in which payouts were not made in instances in which no claims were made. Those investigations are expected to be completed by the end of September.

The insurers initially reported they had failed to pay insurance benefits totaling only 7.2 billion yen in 1,500 cases. But the Financial Services Agency then told them to look at the cases in which no claims were filed and submit what they had found out by Friday.

“We didn’t adopt a business posture from the viewpoint of our customers. We are very sorry,” Nippon Life Co. President Kunie Okamoto told a news conference.

Kunie Okamoto, president of Nippon Life Insurance Co., the biggest life insurer, had the biggest nonpayment figure, at 7.53 billion yen for 113,000 cases.

Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. came second with 2.44 billion yen in 34,000 cases, followed by the Japanese unit of American Family Life Assurance Co. of Columbus, Ohio, with 1.91 billion yen in 19,000 cases.

Financial Services Minister Yuji Yamamoto told reporters the FSA will consider imposing administrative penalties on the insurers if it discovers there are procedural problems related to the nonpayments.

Some of the cases are of people who had their claims filled for hospital stays but did not realize and were never informed they could also be reimbursed for clinic and hospital visits covered under special stipulations attached to their policies.

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