Postal insurance benefits likely went unpaid in at least 223,000 cases, investigation finds - News Release - News Release

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Postal insurance benefits likely went unpaid in at least 223,000 cases, investigation finds

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According to the Mainichi Daily News, Postal life insurance benefits likely went unpaid in more than 220,000 cases under the former Japan Post, it was learned Thursday.  As of May 25, the Japan Post Insurance Co. investigation into allegations of massive insurance nonpayment had uncovered some 223,000 cases of unpaid benefits, though that figure may increase as checks continue.  The Management Organization for Postal Savings and Postal Life Insurance -- which took over insurance policies from the former Japan Post and commissioned Japan Post Insurance Co. to operate postal life insurance services -- submitted the figure to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications as an interim report on the investigation Friday. The cases are currently under final review.  The unpaid insurance benefits included policy maturity proceeds, benefits paid when policyholders attained certain age or health benchmarks, and fees repaid to policyholders when their contracts were cancelled. It has also emerged that the amount of insurance benefits that have not been paid because policyholders have not claimed them totaled some 292.1 billion yen as of the end of March 2009.  The discovery of unpaid benefits was made when Japan Post Insurance began scrutinizing some 13.01 million cases of insurance payments that were administered by the former Japan Post between April 2003 and September 2007.  The checks confirmed that postal life insurance may have gone unpaid in some 2.541 million cases. Among them, about 70 percent -- or 1.778 million cases -- have undergone visual checks, resulting in the discovery of the some 223,000 cases of unpaid benefits. The remaining 760,000 or so cases have yet to undergo visual checks, and the total number of unpaid benefit cases may ultimately reach 300,000.  In April, Japan Post Insurance president Izumi Yamashita told the House of Councilors General Affairs Committee that postal life insurance may have gone unpaid in up to 800,000 cases under the former Japan Post. The provisional estimate was calculated based on the number of similar cases among private insurers.  In mid-July Japan Post Insurance Co. will start to inform policyholders, whose insurance was confirmed to have been unpaid, of their benefit status. The company will also set up call centers to accept inquiries and will visit each policyholder with the cooperation of Japan Post Network Co.  Nonpayment of insurance surfaced in the industry in 2005, following an inspection of Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. by the Financial Services Agency. It subsequently emerged that insurance went unpaid in a total of about 1.35 million cases across 37 private insurers between fiscal 2001 and 2005, with the amount of unpaid insurance benefits reaching 97.3 billion yen.

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