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LEAD: Dai-ichi Life, AFLAC to form Japan alliance.

TOKYO, Sept. 7 Kyodo


Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Co. of Japan and U.S. insurer American Family Life Assurance Co. of Columbus (AFLAC) said Thursday they have agreed to form a business alliance to market each other's products from early 2001, subject to regulatory approval.

Dai-ichi, Japan's second-largest life insurer based in Tokyo, and AFLAC, a major insurer based in Columbus, Georgia, will form what they call the strongest partnership in the industry as the alliance will help sharply expand each company's product lineup.

Dai-ichi, with 50,000 sales staff, will gain immediate access to AFLAC's cancer, medical and nursing care coverage policies, while AFLAC will be able to sell Dai-ichi's life insurance products via its 40,000 marketers.

Cancer, medical and nursing care policies are known in Japan as ''third-sector'' insurance that does not fall into the two major conventional categories of life and casualty coverage.

Foreign insurance companies have dominated this segment of the market in Japan, as major domestic insurers have been banned from operating there. AFLAC alone, for instance, controls 90% of the cancer insurance market.

The ban on domestic insurers is scheduled to be lifted in January 2001.

Together, Dai-ichi and AFLAC will also have a huge combined base of 22 million customers -- 10 million for Dai-ichi and 12 million for AFLAC.

The alliance will also cover cooperation in product development as well as in information technology, namely operation of a joint portal site on the Internet.

Last month, Dai-ichi Mutual and Yasuda Fire & Marine Insurance Co. announced a wide-ranging business alliance, and the tie-up between Dai-ichi and AFLAC is likely to trigger further consolidation in the increasingly competitive insurance market in Japan, industry sources said.
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Comment:LEAD: Dai-ichi Life, AFLAC to form Japan alliance.
Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 11, 2000
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