Cyber Risk Insurance

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Apr 14th, 2015

For the insurance industry, new risks and devising solutions to hedge those risks are fundamental business opportunities. At the same time, new products and new services can require that insurers acquire new capabilities. One such example of this is the “cyber risk insurance” that has been released by one major nonlife insurer in Japan. (1)

This new product is a comprehensive product that covers cyber risks related to business activities all in one policy. In the event that a company was accessed illegally or suffered a cyber attack, this insurance compensates policyholders by covering expenses including forensic investigations (crisis management response expenses) and covers claims for damages and litigation related to incidents such as leaked information.

The company that developed this product launched sales of corporate cyber risk insurance for customers in North America and Europe through an overseas subsidiary. The firm is looking to leverage its sales success overseas by developing this cyber risk product tailored to the Japanese market.

This product is pioneering in a number of ways:

  • The process of being considered for a policy itself entails a security management check of the company. For the insurer this inevitably involves new underwriting.
  • Estimating premiums for cyber risk is both a challenge and also groundbreaking. There is a wealth of statistical data making it is easy to estimate the accident risks and set appropriate insurance premiums for insurance such as auto insurance, but for cyber risk the paucity of statistical data makes doing so a pioneering endeavor.
  • In Japan, there is a precedent for insurance products designed specifically to protect personal information and, as such, there exists some sales performance data. However, such information is extremely limited when it comes to comprehensive cyber risk insurance products in Japan.
  • Increasingly a global approach will be essential. Cyberspace has no borders and there will come the day when the issue arises of compensation for legal damages filed abroad. Unlike conventional insurance such as that for leaks of personal information, this insurance covers claims for damages and litigation expenses filed overseas, meaning that ostensibly a range of support will likely need to be deployed in the future related to implementing these insurance contracts.


(1) Cyber Risk Insurance (Tokio Marine & Nichido)

Insurers and the Internet of Things

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Apr 6th, 2015

The Internet of things (IoT) will significantly change the way that insurers do business. Change is a foregone conclusion; rather, the salient questions are how fast and to what extent will this change occur. Key topics that merit attention include the following:

  • Value to policyholders in the form of reduced premiums and costs of risk
  • Value to insurers in the form of reduced loss costs as well as costs of risk
  • Costs associated with creating, maintaining, and using the IoT

The IoT portends change across all areas of the insurance value chain. For example, we need to consider how it will impact the fundamental areas and operational processes of insurance listed below:

  • Product design
  • Insurance premium setting
  • Insurance underwriting
  • Policyholder services
  • Insurance policy claims

Ultimately, because insurance premiums are reduced in proportion to decreases in losses, this raises the question whether the below are foregone conclusions:

  • Could this mean that the insurance industry might possibly adopt a strategy to pare down the scale of its business?
  • If insurance premiums are drastically reduced, will insurers be able to accept a reduced role in the overall economy?
  • As we forge ahead in the time of the IoT can insurers focus on loss reduction and discover alternate sources of income?

To deftly navigate this era of the IoT, Celent advocates that insurers adopt a framework that is driven by harnessing technology.


Celent views the IoT as being made up of three fundamental components:

  1. “Things” or devices with networked sensors
  2. Data stores
  3. Analytical engines

In tandem with this, Celent sees the IoT generating value in the three ways below:

  1. Data and information indicating in-company and external states
  2. Conclusions derived through analytics
  3. Feedback and control processes


Celent suggests the following reports to learn more about the IoT, the Internet of Everything (IoE), and digital strategy.

Life Insurance Underwriting (R)evolution in the Age of the Internet of Things

Are Insurers Ready for the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things and Life & Health Insurance

The Internet of Things and Property/Casualty Insurance

Telematics and Japanese Insurer Business Strategies

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Mar 30th, 2015

Japan’s insurance industry is increasingly focusing on telematics-based insurance. One major Japanese nonlife insurer has, following the acquisition of a British insurer, announced that it will be launching mileage-linked insurance. (1) (2)

Celent has analyzed market trends in Europe and put forth the argument that the proliferation of telematics technology and insurance that draws upon this technology results in the following trends in the traditional (read non-telematics-using segment) of the auto insurance industry:

  • Increases in the proportion of “problematic” drivers in the driver pool
  • A rise in the cost base of auto insurance business operations
  • Increases in frequency and amount of auto insurance claims
  • A possible decrease in conventional auto insurance policy values and the number of policyholders

At the same time, the impact of these trends are significantly related to and swayed by the culture and accepted practices of the driving cultures of the countries and regions in question. As a result, companies need to take into account the global impact based on differences in vehicle culture and environment.

Based on this situation, Celent offers these three recommendations for Japan’s insurance industry:

  • Monitoring: How can companies harness the spread of new technology to better monitor and grasp changes in damages encountered by policyholders? Which department or section of a company should be tasked with the monitoring? A company-wide approach that spans and includes multiple departments—such as those in charge of managing risk, insurance accounting, and product development—will be crucial.
  • Analytics: What will next-generation telematics data entail? Will telematics improve the way that people drive? Are there ways to collect, analyze, and use the granular data such as from collision prevention devices and automated traffic violation prevention devices? These new technologies will provide new types of data and analysis methods that portend significant changes including in the setting of insurance premiums rates and underwriting.
  •  Strategy: What issues should each business department have on their respective radars? How will this all affect key Are there potential business partners in other industries (such as automobiles, networks, or telecommunications) with which players should be seeking to collaborate? Being aware of these issues and building them into business plans for this year and next as well as reflecting them in mid- and long-term business strategies will be key.


(1) Acquisition of Shares of Box Innovation Group, a Major U.K. Telematics Auto Insurance Firm (Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance)

(2) Mileage-linked insurance (Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance)


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Mar 19th, 2015

Japan’s financial market is also home to outdated bedrock regulations.

Currently in Japan there are approximately 270 Shinkin banks (Credit Unions). On average, these average a deposit balance of around 500 billion yen and loans of 300 billion yen, with some large Shinkin banks that exceed regional banks in size.

Joining Forces:
The January 2015 announced merger of Ogaki Shinkin Bank and Seino Shinkin Bank was premised on a proactive business strategy looking five to 10 years in the future and taking into account the shrinking population and economy. The new entity will boast a post-merger total of 700 billion yen in deposits, falling in the realm of mid-tier financial institutions and with a notably high capital adequacy ratio. With Ogaki boasting a capital adequacy ratio of 12% and Seino 15%, this union of banks—which could go it alone—speaks to a strategic move to maintain or enhance regional market share and consolidate forces to achieve greater economy of scale. Both institutions are located in central Japan’s Gifu Prefecture, which is home to a number of robust regional institutions including Juroku Bank (assets of 5.0 trillion yen), Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank (assets of 4.2 trillion yen), Gifu Shinkin Bank (assets of 2.1 trillion yen), and also one of the few areas of Japan that is enjoying staunch competition in retail banking. This merger can also be seen as hinting at things to come.

The dominant take is that strategic partnerships and mergers will proceed apace among institutions of suitable scale and sound management until an appropriate number for the market has been reached. A trend similar to that witnessed in the U.S. credit union industry is expected, in which as the hurdle to survival has risen, especially in urban areas, many credit unions boasting assets in excess of 2 trillion yen are created. It would seem moving forward that in addition to scale, financial soundness, and operational efficiency, that having a strategy that focuses on offering niche services that fill local needs will prove essential.
(Lessons that can be learned from developments in the U.S. credit union industry are addressed in detail in the below Celent report.)

Challenges and Strategy:
From the perspective of efficiency, regional financial institutions will for the most part operate in partnership with other institutions using a shared center system rather than operating such systems themselves. This will solve cost and resource challenges, but at the same time could hamper efforts to offer unique products and services when it comes to taking advantage of IT. In addition, until now there have been other system–related obstacles to partnerships and mergers across regions. Outdated “bedrock” regulations remain. You might say this area of the industry has been protected by virtue of the system. However, the largest impediment would seem to be human resources. We hope to see strategic and proactive initiatives taken by networks of financial institutions and overarching bank entities such as the Shinkin Central Bank.

Partnerships and mergers taken with strategic intent are urgently needed. For example, Shinkin banks, which boast freestanding shop networks, manpower to undertake business activities, and with strong local ties, by joining forces with dedicated online players (in banking, insurance, and securities), with their robust online sales and powerful national mass-marketing capabilities, could quite conceivably realize strategic online-to-offline (O2O) channel development and omnichannel marketing. If they can do this, then they can be expected to devise unique services that set them apart from megabanks and mega-insurers and—in this time of shrinking populations and declining local economies—create novel financial service delivery models. In doing so, key success factors can be expected to boil down to the use of technology and human resources.


Catch CU: The Ongoing Evolution of the Credit Union Market

Mobile Payments in Southeast Asia

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Mar 17th, 2015

With the rapid growth of smartphone penetration in Southeast Asia, e-commerce and mobile commerce is one of the hottest issues in the region. Not only local players but also global e-commerce players have entered into the region to expand their business. However, a number of Southeast Asian countries still have low banking account penetration rates, hence people may not have access to payment methods for e-commerce and mobile commerce.

Mobile payments may be one of the solutions for e-commerce payment. With the growing popularity of e-commerce and m-commerce, mobile payments is receiving more attention than before. Not only global mobile payments players such as PayPal but also local players like MOL, Fasspay, 2C2P, Smart Money, and GCash operate business in Southeast Asia.

Some Southeast Asian countries still have a relatively high level of unbanked population but mobile payments is rapidly being accepted in the region because smartphone penetration rates are growing much faster than bank account penetration rates.  Also, people can hold a mobile payments account without a banking account at some mobile payments services.

However, there are some obstacles to the future growth of mobile payments in Southeast Asia. A number of people are not well aware of mobile payments services, hence mobile payments players should invest more into marketing activities, although investment in infrastructure and equipment is also important.

A number of payments players are considering entering into the Southeast Asian mobile payments market, but they may face difficulties to set up their business in the region. Each country has different regulations, telecommunications infrastructure, payments infrastructure and financial environment. Players who consider entering into the market should develop strategies to fit each country’s conditions.

Celent believes that mobile payments in Southeast Asia will grow strongly for the next few years because the infrastructure is already in hand and smartphone penetration is still growing swiftly. Celent will keep an eye on this trend and update the trends in upcoming reports and blogs.


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Mar 12th, 2015

Stubborn “bedrock” regulations remain in Japan’s financial market.

These are embodied by proposals to expand the operation of Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), which at five hours daily has shorter trading hours than both London and New York, and to make interbank payment transactions real time 24 hours a day year-round.

Last November, TSE announced that it was going to delay introducing longer trading hours for stocks (1). The bourse said that it had explored expanding trading hours with a focus on night trading, but had been unable to get the majority of brokerage houses to sign on. TSE believes that even expanding trading is not necessarily a recipe that can be expected to attract diverse market participants—all of which points to strong fears that Tokyo’s international competitiveness will falter.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Bankers Association (JBA) last December pledged to offer world-leading payment services. These new services are to be expanded to cover what have been non-business hours, such as nights, weekends, and holidays. Toward this end, the organization committed to establish a new year-round, 24-hour platform that will enable funds to be sent between banks in real time (2). At the same time, when reporting on this story, The Nikkei, Japan’s leading business daily , noted only that the JBA had decided to launch a new interbank system that would be active 24 hours days, omitting the information about real-time interbank payments being made possible around the clock year-round because there are banks that are not keen to extend business hours and it is not clear when in fact this will be up and running (3).

Deregulation and technological progress are the two wheels that propel the vehicle of innovation forward. The proliferation of digital technology heightens the possibility of technological innovation catching on. At the same time, deregulation creates opportunities for the application of innovative technology. The dismantling of “bedrock” regulations of massive scale and, beyond that, establishing a growth strategy will not happen minus collaboration on the part of government—that is to say financial regulatory authorities—and entrepreneurs or corporations —namely financial institutions and financial service vendors. Put another way, if these entities can work well together—with motivated businesses with expertise in digital technology and a government-backed growth strategy initiative functioning as two wheels advancing in tandem—then innovation can be expected to accelerate.

Digital technology that can be used to realize innovation is already here. The challenge is to create opportunities to apply it—opportunities that presuppose the dismantling of these bedrock regulations.


(1) Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE)

(2) Japanese Bankers Association (JBA)

(3) January 9 edition of Nikkei



Post by

Mar 10th, 2015




  1. ネット銀行設立にあたって、最も望ましいビジネスモデルは何か。
  2. 日本の各ネット銀行は、どのように差別化を図っているのか。
  3. 流通業主体のネット銀行のビジネスモデルを知りたい。





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Mar 9th, 2015

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched his third Cabinet in late December 2014.

Subsequently, it has spelled out a basic policy to revitalize Japan’s economy as formulated by the Headquarters for Japan’s Economic Revitalization (1). In it, the government pledged that Japan will create new markets and new business opportunities by reforming the so-called bedrock regulations in areas such as agriculture, employment, healthcare, and energy.”

Bedrock regulations refer to firmly entrenched regulations that parties with vested interests—typically government organs, administrative institutions, or industrial groups—oppose reform, which makes the loosening or dismantling of regulations far from easy. Since the 1980s, the government has pursued deregulation in many areas with an eye to facilitating economic growth. However, bedrock regulations are the areas that have faced strong resistance from parties with vested interests, and, consequently, they have been put off for years and years—that is until now.

There are several laws that are subject to this debate, laws such as the Road Transportation Act, the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act, the Medical Practitioners Act, the Food Sanitation Act, the Agricultural Land Act, the Health Insurance Act, the Social Welfare Act, the Radio Act, and the Worker Dispatch Law. However, there exist other “bedrock barriers” to growth that are non-legal and unrelated to existing systems and arrangements.

This article uses the bedrock regulation removal debate to search for and expose potential innovation opportunities.


On Labor Market Reform
Efforts to remove so-called bedrock regulations in Japan continue.

Following the announcement of a plan to implement reform at the intersection of the fields of agriculture and finance via regulatory changes to affect the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, widely known as JA-Zenchu (which overseas a body of agricultural cooperative organizations nationwide known as JA) (2), the media reported that labor system reforms that will cut across all industries are also in the pipeline (3).

The global market has entered an era of hyper competition in productivity. In conjunction with this, companies will pursue the automation of business processes using digital technology as well as a shift to self-service. As such, existing labor regulations will no longer apply and will be rendered outdated. Consequently, the focus of labor regulations will be required to shift to work that requires human intelligence or that is otherwise not amenable to digitization.

Celent has long advocated deregulation and technological progress/innovation as an opportunity to innovate and driver of innovation. The proliferation of digital technologies boosts the possibilities of technological innovation and, at the same time, deregulation offers an opportunity for innovative technologies to be applied.

In addition, and on a different note, Celent hopes to see the creation of new employee incentive plans as a way to accelerate growth strategies. Western stock-based incentive systems epitomized by stock options have come with an array of obstacles . If a new, Japanese compensation sharing plan that links corporate results with individual compensation can be created, then it is likely that highly motivated entrepreneurs well versed in digital technology, coupled with the backing of a nationally driven initiative to back a growth strategy, will be able to accelerate innovation.



Post by

Mar 4th, 2015








(1) 金融審総会を来月開催 持ち株会社規制見直し(日経)

(2) 以下のセレントレポートを推奨する


Alipay Entering into South Korean Market

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Mar 2nd, 2015

During the Lunar New Year, more than 100,000 Chinese visited South Korea. The way people shop in a duty free shop, or in a convenience store is quite different than before: They pay with the world’s well-known Chinese mobile payment, Alipay, the most successful case of Fintech in the world.

In Seoul main streets and on Korean internet sites, we can easily find advertisements of Alipay. China UnionPay already entered into the South Korean market, and even a brand of my credit card issued in South Korea is UnionPay. They partner with BC Card, South Korea’s card issuer and they have been expanding their business in South Korea.

China’s payment has entered into South Korean market in earnest and South Korean players have been getting into the game. T-money, the largest prepaid card player in South Korea and Hana Bank, the fourth largest bank in South Korea partnered with Alipay.

As an example, Chinese tourists in South Korea can pay back to Alipay’s account after using T-money for foreigners if they have any remaining credits. T-money is available not only transportation including metro, bus and taxi but also for payments at convenience stores and other selected shops. Also, T-money has introduced a new service for domestic users, providing compensation system for Mobile T-money when a user loses a phone, providing a safer environment for T-money users.

For Hana Bank, they haven’t started a service with Alipay but it will be launched soon. After launching a new service with Alipay, Chinese tourists will be able to pay with Alipay at merchants of Hana Bank. In other words, they can use Alipay in broader places like orthopaedics, nail salon and hair salon than what T-money service offers.

The similar case has been seen in South Korea and Japan. Cashbee, South Korea’s mobile payment card partnered with Japan’s three major MNOs, NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and Softbank. Japanese tourists can now pay with their smartphone in South Korea after installing a dedicated application.

A wave of Fintech has come to Korea. The country is attempting a different approach with the use of Fintech. Some players already recognized their current approach is not acceptable anymore hence it is the time to shift their strategy for future growth.

Payments area has been getting global and more attractive for users. For example, Alipay gives 4.5% interest when a user deposits money. Yes, it’s attractive. However, players should evaluate what is important for their future growth without tapping into the current trend. Establishing an initiative for business growth should be the overriding concern now amid mounting attention to Fintech.