Seven leading Japanese life insurance groups posted an 18% year-on-year increase in profit from core operations for the six months to 30 September even as their key measure of revenue, mostly derived from premiums, declined by 4%.
Their aggregate basic profit reached JPY1.23 trillion (US$11 billion), while premium income shrank to JPY8.99 trillion, reported The Nikkei.
The yen's depreciation and higher stock prices helped lift the insurers' income from interest and dividends, leading to wider spreads between returns promised to policyholders and actual investment returns.
Nippon Life Insurance saw its basic profit, previously projected to drop, actually rise 0.7% on the year to JPY344.9 billion.
"Stock dividends increased more than expected due to a weak yen and stronger corporate earnings," said Yuji Mikasa, a Nippon Life executive officer.
Dai-ichi Life Holdings' basic profit soared 43% to JPY303.2 billion, aided by brisk earnings at a subsidiary.
Profits also rose at the other five companies: Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance, Sumitomo Life Insurance, T&D Holdings, Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance and Asahi Mutual Life Insurance. Meiji Yasuda's profit was buoyed by US subsidiary StanCorp Financial Group, which was acquired last year.
Premium income fell at all but Nippon Life and Meiji Yasuda due largely to discontinued sales of savings-type products amid low interest rates. Sumitomo Life's figure plunged 22% to JPY1.35 trillion.