Global Perspectives

Aging Population Drives Japan’s Life Insurance Premiums

Strong performances from whole life, pension and term products anticipated

Japan’s rapidly aging population has created demand for both post-retirement and savings insurance products.

According to a report by Timetric, in the next five years this demand is set to increase, supporting the strong performance of whole life, pension and term insurance products.

During the last five years, the life insurance segment was driven by demand for traditional products. The individual whole life category accounted for 80.3% of the segment’s direct written premium in 2014, with a value of JPY21.2 trillion (US$199.9 billion). The pension insurance category was the second-largest in the segment, with a direct written premium of JPY5.1 trillion (US$47.8 billion) in 2014.

According to Timetric, Japan’s combination of low birth rates and increasing life expectancy will increase demand for post-retirement products in the next five years. Consequently, the direct written premium share of the pension insurance category is forecast to rise from 19.2% in 2014 to 21.2% in 2019.

In addition, life insurers are catering to Japan’s elderly population by offering innovative products. For example, from July 2014, Dai-ichi Life Insurance launched 10 types of single-premium savings insurance products, annuity insurance and whole life insurance, enabling the insured Japanese to plan for life after retirement.

Challenge with savings insurance

The outlook for savings insurance products remains a challenge for life insurers due to the low yield (0.61% as of 2014) from Japanese government bonds. This has prompted life insurers to modify products by eliminating or minimising interest rate-related guarantees and focusing on protection instead. Over the forecast period (2014 -2019), Timetric anticipates the segment’s gross written premiums to increase from JPY33.5 trillion (US$316.4 billion) in 2014 to JPY41.4 trillion (US$372.0 billion) at a CAGR of 4.3%.

Decline in premium rates

Japan’s combination of low birth rates and increasing life expectancy will increase demand for post-retirement products in the next five years

An aging population has a significant effect on life insurers in Japan. High competition in the industry is prompting life insurers to reduce premium rates and add new distribution channels. For example, in April 2014, Nippon life reduced premium rates associated with its core product combining mortality insurance with medical insurance. To acquire more customers in their twenties, the company began offering reductions of around 7% in premiums.


Timetric’s ‘Life Insurance in Japan, Key Trends and Opportunities to 2019’ report provides in-depth market analysis, information and insights into the Japanese life insurance segment, including:

  • The Japanese life insurance segment’s growth prospects by life insurance category
  • Key trends, drivers and challenges for the life insurance segment
  • A comprehensive overview of the Japanese economy and demographics
  • The various distribution channels in the Japanese life insurance segment
  • Details of the competitive landscape in the life insurance segment in Japan
  • Details of regulatory policy applicable to the Japanese insurance industry



All information is based on the Timetric report: ‘Life Insurance in Japan, Key Trends and Opportunities to 2019’.




About Timetric
Timetric is a leading provider of online data, analysis and advisory services on key financial and industry sectors. It provides integrated information services covering risk assessments, forecasts, industry analysis, market intelligence, news and commentary. For more information and updates, please visit