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Mixed showing for big 4 Japanese life insurers in fiscal H1 earnings season

Fiscal first-half results were something of a mixed bag for the four largest Japanese private life insurers, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

Two of the four, Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. and Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. Ltd., saw attributable net profit rise year over year, by 15.5% for Meiji Yasuda and by 13.0% for Dai-ichi Life. Net income ticked down 5.4% at Nippon Life Insurance Co., while Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. dipped to a loss.

Core profit, meanwhile, was down for all four insurers, noted Moody's K.K. analyst Soichiro Makimoto, who said the decline was "mainly driven by narrower mortality margins for group insurance policies, caused in turn by premium rate revisions following the update of the standard mortality table in April 2018."

But Makimoto added in a Dec. 3 report that dividend payouts will likely be reduced for group insurance policies, offsetting the decline and meaning that internal capital generation ability may not be affected.

Gross premiums written shrunk for Meiji Yasuda Life and Sumitomo Life, by 6.5% and 2.5%, and were up for Dai-ichi Life and Nippon Life, by 3.5% and 6.2%.

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