Japanese ICMIF member JCIF (the Japan CO-OP Insurance Consumers’ Co-operative Federation) has a membership made up of about 150 consumer cooperatives (coops) whose main business is product supply by home delivery or at stores; Kyosai (the name for cooperative insurance in Japan); medical and welfare business; and is a national federation that specializes in Kyosai business for general consumer cooperative members. The CO･OP Kyosai, JCIF’s product, is mainly made up of medical insurance and life insurance products, with 8.92 million cooperative member policyholders.
In response to the spread of COVID-19 infection, JCIF decided to take the following actions, which were communicated with its member policyholders through the official website, SMS messages, etc. via the member coops nationwide.
- If policyholders were affected by COVID-19 infection, the grace period for payment of premiums for the CO･OP Kyosai will be extended to 30 September 2020. This includes not only the direct impact of the infection, but also the indirect impact such as having to stay at home due to suspicion of infection or having difficulties in the payment of premiums due to suspension of business or reduction of work at financial institutions
- The COVID-19 infectious disease was basically covered by the CO･OP Kyosai as “illness”, but to contribute to the life of members while reducing their anxiety in the unlikely events, JCIF changed its policy to treat COVID-19 infections as an “infectious disease regarded as incidental”. Although it depends on the coverage of each individual policy, with this change, it is now possible for policyholders to claim for the insurance cover that relates to disasters, including death or other insurance events due to COVID-19.
- Even if policyholders receive treatment at their home or in a facility that can be regarded as equivalent to a hospital due to the circumstances of the medical institution, policyholders will be entitled to receive the hospitalisation benefit upon submission of a certificate of a doctor.
In addition, during the Japanese government’s declaration of state of emergency (finally lifted on 25 May 2020), in response to the government’s demand to reduce office attendance by 70%, JCIF reduced the number of employees working at offices in the area in question as much as possible, while continuing the business that contributes directly to member policyholders including claims payment and call centers (pictured). At the same time, JCIF is taking various steps to prevent infections in its offices.
JCIF said, “Even after the state of emergency has been lifted, we will continue to pay close attention to the situation of possible infection and social conditions, and take thorough measures to prevent the spread of infection, while promoting efforts to help our members and contribute to society.”
The CO･OP Kyosai product from JCIF won the No.1 Customer Satisfaction in the Japanese Customer Satisfaction Index (JCSI) Survey in the life insurance category for 2019, which was announced on 24 December 2019. The survey is one of the largest customer satisfaction surveys in Japan, that quantifies and visualises “customer satisfaction”, and its result is intended to be used as useful information for the growth and competitiveness reinforcement of companies and industries. It is based on a concrete evaluation of products and services by a total of more than 120,000 consumers. The CO･OP Kyosai had ranked first in this customer satisfaction survey in the life insurance category for four consecutive years until 2016 and was then ranked first again in 2019 for the first time in the last three years.
In response to this survey result, JCIF said, “This No.1 position is a result of the fact that employees of cooperatives nationwide have always listened to the voices of their members, have worked with ‘strong intention’ to respond to members’ ‘wishes’, and have expanded the range of the usefulness of the CO･OP Kyosai insurance cover. We will continue to strive to provide satisfaction as a Kyosai provider that is closer to the lives of our members”. It is clear that, under the COVID-19 pandemic, JCIF’s member-centric attitude has been tested and fully demonstrated.