Huge court damages being awarded over bicycle-related accidents have driven cyclists in Japan to rush to buy exclusively designed liability insurance.
Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance has sold 400,000 new bicycle insurance contracts since 1 April, surpassing the 300,000 or so contracts signed the previous financial year, FY2016, which ended on 31 March, reported Jiji Press.
Other insurers likeTokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance reported double-digit increases in the sales of such cyclist liability products for FY2016.
The brisk sales also reflected governmental efforts to promote the insurance, people familiar with the matter said. In the wake of accidents involving cyclists hitting other people, the Hyogo Prefectural Government in October 2015 set the first ordinance in the nation obliging all cyclists in the prefecture to get bicycle insurance. The prefectural governments of Osaka and Shiga followed suit in 2016.
Demand for cycling insurance is expected to rise further because the Kyoto prefectural and municipal governments, and the municipal government of Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, will make the cycling insurance mandatory in April next year, people familiar with the matter said.
In one case, the Tokyo District Court awarded JPY47 million (US$420,000) in damages to a rider who hit and killed a woman at a pedestrian crossing.