News Non-Life 02 Mar 2018

Japan:On-demand insurance products gaining traction

02 Mar 2018

On-demand insurance that can be used for sports, leisure and day trips is becoming increasingly common in Japan.

The policy can be bought for short periods of time whenever necessary and can be purchased easily via smartphones. The introduction of such plans shows that insurance firms are looking for new ways to attract customers by responding to changes in people's lifestyles, reports The Mainichi.

With people becoming increasingly budget-conscious, consumers are showing a greater interest in using and sharing goods and services only when necessary. As a result, insurance policies that offer short-term coverage "only when needed" -- marking a shift from traditional contracts that last for a year or more -- are becoming more common.

A good example of on-demand insurance is one-day car insurance. This plan can be bought by people intending to briefly drive a car borrowed from a friend or relative. The policy has emerged following an increase in the number of people, particularly young adults, not owning a car -- and has led to more contracts being sealed.

Insurance giants such as Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance, which began selling one-day car insurance from 2012 onward, have seen the cumulative total of contracts in this category hit 6.5 million as of the end of January 2018.

In April this year, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance will start selling "one-day leisure insurance" which can be bought in 24-hour units for outdoor activities such as golf or mountain climbing. The insurance can be bought easily via smartphones, with the fee simply being added to the consumer's monthly phone bill.

For activities such as skiing and snowboarding, a JPY500 (US$4.70) insurance premium provides compensation up to JPY100,000 for injuries, and up to JPY300 million if the insurance policyholder causes injuries to other people or breaks objects.

In addition, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance has teamed up with NTT Docomo, and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance has joined forces with Softbank Group Corp to offer on-demand insurance. Sompo Japan's insurance-related revenue in 2017 reportedly increased by 20% compared to 2016.

Moreover, on-demand insurance for objects has also entered the market. Warrantee, an Osaka-based IT venture firm, released an insurance app in November 2017, which provides compensation for broken digital cameras within three years after purchase, at a fee of JPY39 per day. The insurance can be used specifically on days when consumers go out carrying digital cameras.

The insurance payouts are handled by Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance, and the app had been downloaded 3,000 times as of mid-February 2018. There are plans to extend this type of insurance to computers and household electronic goods, with the aim of securing 100,000 contracts per year.


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