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Sompo Japan to reduce auto premium rates

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Jun 2015

Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance plans to reduce car insurance premium rates for the first time in more than 11 years, thanks to solid earnings and increased competition from online insurers, the Kyodo News Agency reported citing company sources. The reductions, averaging 0.2%, are to take effect from October.
   But the company warned that premiums could increase in some cases, depending on the age of the driver and type of vehicle.
   The company last reduced premium rates in January 2004, by 1.0% on average, and raised them five times through 2014, by about 1-3% each time. Other major Japanese insurers are expected to keep car insurance rates steady, refraining from another streak in hikes.
At the same time, telematics is gaining traction among Japanese insurers, with the technology translating in some instance into cheaper premiums, according to a Asia Nikkei Review report.
   Sompo Japan started offering this service for corporate customers in March this year through a tie-up with Toshiba. Under that plan, customers who pay a monthly fee of JPY1,800 (US$15.20) to have a drive recorder installed, will get a 5% blanket discount in annual premiums, according to the same report. The company has been offering products to the mass market since summer 2013, basing its premiums on driving distances covered the year before, and targeting owners of Nissan’s Leaf electric vehicle.
   Sony Assurance has also started offering telematics policies that offer individuals up to a 20% reimbursement on premiums.
   Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance is also slated to introduce a new service for vehicles with a Toyota telematics-navigation system in fiscal 2015.
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