Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

ANALYSIS: Life Insurance Industry Race Expected to Heat Up

Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

ANALYSIS: Life Insurance Industry Race Expected to Heat Up

Article excerpt

Nippon Life Insurance Co. has formalized plans to acquire Mitsui Life Insurance Co., marking the largest realignment in the industry since Meiji Life Insurance Co. and Yasuda Mutual Life Insurance Co. merged for the 2004 launch of Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co.

Japan has 41 life insurance companies, including foreign-affiliated firms. With Japan Post Insurance Co. planning its stock market debut in November, competition is expected to heat up with the possibility of more industry shake-ups.

Sources say Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. was sounded out about a business integration plan with Mitsui in secret talks. The Sumitomo and Mitsui groups have increasingly been working together, and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. has been created in the nonlife insurance sector. The two groups have been reported to be aiming for further integration in the life insurance sector as well.

However, Sumitomo Life rejected the plan, with sources saying the firm deemed there would be few benefits for a range of reasons including the overlapping of their business operations.

Moves by midsized life insurance companies like Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance Co. and Asahi Mutual Life Insurance Co. …

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