Japanese insurers targeting tourists who land there uninsured

High number of unprepared tourists leads insurers to offer cover after arrival

Japanese insurers targeting tourists who land there uninsured

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Several general insurers in Japan are focusing on marketing “inbound insurance” to foreign visitors to the country, covering illness and injury during their stay.

Travel insurance is typically bought before a traveller leaves their home country, but a sharp rise in uninsured individuals visiting Japan has led insurers to offer “inbound insurance” policies to individuals and travel agencies handling their trips.

Data from the Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) showed the number of foreigners visiting Japan in 2016 hit an all-time high of 24 million. The government aims to increase this figure to 40 million by 2020, in time for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

A survey by the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) revealed that about 30% of visitors to Japan are uninsured, leading to non-payment of medical bills incurred by these visitors. Another JTA survey supported the research, where, in 2016, 30% of hospitals in Osaka Prefecture experienced cases of non-payment of medical bills by foreign visitors, reports The Mainichi.

In February 2016, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance began selling insurance for foreign visitors which can be purchased via smartphone or through the internet. The premium starts at ¥440 (US$4) a day, with a sum insured of up to ¥10 million (US$91,200). The insurer conducts marketing efforts in hotels and tourist attractions in order to reach the tourists.

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance, both part of the MS&AD Insurance Group, have started marketing insurance in hotels and tour agencies with up to ¥1 million (US$9,100) to cover tourists in case of accident or illness. According to a representative, this insurance policy “enhances the quality of [hotels and tour agencies’] services to customers.”

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