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Providing Security to Bicycle Riders

e-Cycle Insurance, released by Tokio Marine & Nichido in October 2015, is distinguished by offering one-stop purchase over the Internet. It is designed to provide easy access to insurance when customers become worried about accidents and feel the need for bicycle insurance.

Junichiro Yanagi (left)
Ami Mizunuma (right)
Corporate Marketing & Planning Department
Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd.

QPlease tell us the background of the birth of e-Cycle Insurance?

Yanagi: Bicycle accidents have been declining slightly in recent years but are still causing more than 100,000 casualties every year. The number of cases involving heavy compensation, sometimes amounting to almost 100 million yen, is on the rise. The revised Road Traffic Act, which went into effect in June 2015, imposes harsher legal punishments on unsafe riding, and some local governments now require bicycle users to enroll in bicycle insurance. We are seeing growing needs from customers for both protecting themselves against injury in a bicycle accident and paying compensation when they become the party at fault in the accident.

Mizunuma: Nevertheless, many people still do not know what insurance is needed when riding a bicycle. Sometimes, they do not even know whether they have already purchased such insurance. Some have enrolled in insurance when they bought their bicycles, but that type of insurance usually lasts for just one year. So, these people ride their bicycles without knowing their insurance is no longer in force. Coverage could be provided by riders attached to auto or fire insurance, but again, many people are not sure whether they have added such riders. We need to find ways to familiarize customers with bicycle insurance, while telling them what coverage is needed when riding bicycles.

Yanagi: Nearly half of serious bicycle accidents are caused by people aged 29 or under. Given the risk that such accidents could involve small children, we would like to recommend our bicycle insurance to people in their 20s and also to parents in their 30s and 40s. It seems that because bicycles are an “easy” means of transportation, we do not have many opportunities to learn proper traffic rules related to bicycles. I have also heard many people ride their bicycles without caring about these rules, frequently having a near-miss and giving automobile drivers and pedestrians a scare.

Mizunuma: As such, in selling our e-Cycle Insurance, we have devised effective ways to communicate the danger of bicycle accidents and the very need for insurance. For example, we use the phrase “A bicycle is a car” in our posters and actual facts and data about bicycle accidents in the sales leaflet to convey the importance of preparing for accidents. Marking the release of e-Cycle Insurance, we also handed out reflective stickers to support safe riding.

QCould you tell us the features of e-Cycle Insurance?

Yanagi: Its most distinctive characteristic is that it can be purchased easily over the Internet. For insurance products we sell through consultation by asking what a customer needs and offering the product best suited to the need, the customer may feel safer to have an agent describe policy details and then purchase the product. Bicycle insurance, on the other hand, is simple and relatively easier to understand, so we decided to sell it online. Another factor that backed our decision was the increasing popularity of online shopping.

Mizunuma: Prior to our e-Cycle Insurance, Tokio Marine & Nichido released One Day Auto Insurance, a driver insurance product available in the unit of days, in January 2012. This product can also be purchased anytime from mobile phones and smartphones and has been providing an opportunity for young people, with whom we had not have much chance to interact, to take an interest in insurance. We have added this ease of purchase to our e-Cycle Insurance to appeal to young and other customers.

Yanagi: Our e-Cycle Insurance is available via PCs, smartphones and tablet devices. Now, it is mostly purchased through PCs, usually late at night by people aged 40 to 45. We think that these people, who are busy in the daytime, take their free time at night to check policy details, review the document on important terms, give careful consideration and then purchase the product.

Mizunuma: Because our e-Cycle Insurance is sold online, people usually find it through an Internet search or on insurance comparison websites. But we also receive inquiries from people who saw the leaflet distributed by agents and wanted to know if we have an application form. For these customers, we make referrals to agents so that they can confirm policy details directly with agents and buy the insurance using a paper form.

Yanagi: Having this additional sales channel through agents for the product offered online to meet specific needs of individual customers is one of the strengths of Tokio Marine & Nichido, which derives from its nationwide network of agents. We think this product has social significance and hope agents will see it the same way. Together, we intend to create a positive growth cycle and disseminate bicycle insurance throughout society.

QHow might you serve the market through e-Cycle Insurance ?

Mizunuma: The need for insurance is still difficult to recognize particularly for young customers. Many also feel insurance is too complicated to purchase. Through our e-Cycle Insurance, which can be purchased easily when customers feel the need for insurance, we hope that they will realize the importance of ensuring safety and security for themselves and people around them.

Yanagi: As a member of an insurance company, we wish to reduce as many accidents as possible and eliminate concerns in unfortunate accident cases. Hoping to hear people saying they are glad to have enrolled in insurance when they caused an accident or fell victim to an accident, we will continue to provide our e-Cycle Insurance as well as new products and services.

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