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Understanding Japanese retirement needs pays off

Japan, November 15, 2013

Japan has one of the most rapidly aging populations in the world, looking for principle protection and good returns. Aegon Sony Life's variable annuity products and an expanding sales network is meeting these customer needs.

 Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey Japan In Aegon’s 2013 Retirement Readiness Survey Japan country report, released this month, the trend was reconfirmed. Just 23% of respondents always made sure they saved for retirement. Japan had the lowest Aegon Retirement Readiness Index of all 12 countries surveyed. This low score was driven by 58% of respondents who don’t know if they’ll achieve their desired retirement income and 37% hardly saving anything at all towards their retirement.

Entering the Japanese life insurance market

With clear market potential, Aegon entered the Japanese retirement saving market in December 2009 in a 50:50 joint venture with Sony Life - a partnership that combines local market knowledge with proven variable annuities expertise.

Today, Aegon Sony Life insurance products are available through Sony Life's own Lifeplanners as well as a growing number of bank partners. In November this year, a new regional bank named Michinoku Bank joined this growing list.

Insurance products that meet customer needs

With a guaranteed minimum accumulation benefit (GMAB) of up to 110% of the contributions, new products offered by Aegon Sony Life clearly meet a need for protecting capital from poor investment returns, a concern already highlighted in Aegon’s 2012 Japanese Retirement Readiness Survey. Of those surveyed, 50% said they were willing to take fewer investment risks when it comes to saving for retirement.

For a recently launched GMAB product, if the value of the investment increases to 105%, this extra 5% can be taken as profit or reinvested in actively managed funds. To ensure stable investment performance, the asset risk allocation is reviewed every working day.

Aegon Sony Life’s variable annuity products also offer a guaranteed minimum death benefit of 100% of the contributions, something that 41% of those surveyed considered to be important in the 2012 survey.

Rapid sales growth

Products that satisfy clear consumer needs, combined with  carefully selected distribution networks, have resulted in rapid sales growth for Aegon Sony Life. In quarter two, for the period up to September 30, 2013, Aegon Sony Life’s new business increased to 83,354 million Yen (over 800 million USD) from 18,304 million Yen a year earlier. This resulted in a total in-force policy value of 155,849 million Yen (over 1.5 billion USD).

“Aegon’s second Japanese Retirement Readiness Survey shows our continued commitment to the Japanese market,” concludes Executive Chairman Frans de Beaufort who took over the reins at Aegon Sony Life in September of this year. “With this detailed understanding of our customers, we’re ensuring that they’re central in our strategy.  Together with accelerated business development and an expanding sales network, Aegon Sony Life is fast becoming a leader in the Japanese annuity market.”

Click here to read the Japanese Country Report from Aegon’s 2013 Retirement Readiness Survey.

Written by: Aegon