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Nippon Life, Dai-Ichi Life to raise policy premiums amid planned rate cut

Nippon Life Insurance Co. said Feb. 2 it would cut advertised rates for life insurance and annuity products for new contracts by 30 to 75 basis points, starting April 1.

With the move, rates for new contracts of the insurer's flagship products will be in the range of between 0.40% and 0.85%, compared with the current range of 1.15% to 1.35%. Premiums for whole-life policies will be increased by 20% to 30%, depending on gender and age.

Nippon Life Insurance said it decided to reduce rates and increase premiums following a cut in the benchmark rate that Japan's Financial Services Agency recommends to insurers for calculating their returns to customers.

A number of insurance firms, including Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. Ltd., are also expected to announce an increase in their premiums as early as February, while other domestic life insurers are raising their premiums on policies in response to the planned cut, The Nikkei reported separately Feb. 3.

The FSA plans to lower the rate to 0.25% from 1% in April. With the rate cut, policyholders will have to pay more to get the same payout they were receiving before.

The country's interest rates have reached record lows after the Bank of Japan adopted a negative interest rate policy in January 2016, making it difficult for life insurers to meet advertised rates in their insurance products.