CONTENT FROM SOMPO HOLDINGS
“The times they are a-changin’,” Bob Dylan sang during a turbulent decade long ago. Today, as global leaders gather in Davos for the World Economic Forum 2022, Dylan’s words ring truer than ever. Our world is in a time of profound and complex change. Advances in science and technology are improving lives and creating new global possibilities. At the same time, existential risks are rising; deadly pandemics, military aggression, cybercrime and warfare, and the most dangerous threat of all – climate change. In these uncertain times, people are naturally searching for safe havens. More than ever, they feel the need for security, health and wellbeing.
SOMPO can deliver on those needs. While it may be a new and unfamiliar name to some, SOMPO Holdings is one of the largest insurers and nursing care providers in Japan. And it has a long and proven history of helping people.
The SOMPO story began in 1888, over 130 years ago, with the founding of its predecessor, the Tokyo Fire Insurance Company. It was Japan’s first fire insurance firm, which represented a bold innovation at the time. But what truly distinguished the company was what it did next.
Rather than just pay compensation after losses, the firm decided it would also work to prevent disasters. It created the Tokyo Fire Brigade. As the only private-sector firefighters of their day, they were always at the ready, responding to countless blazes, saving homes, businesses and lives. That proactive approach became part of SOMPO’s DNA. Today, that approach is guiding the group’s transformation into a new and unique type of enterprise beyond that of an insurance company. “SOMPO’s Purpose” is to create a society in which every person can live a healthy, prosperous, and happy life in their own way. SOMPO is doing that by building what it calls a “Theme Park for Security, Health and Wellbeing.”
If that sounds like an ambitious goal, SOMPO is well- positioned to achieve it. Along with its pioneering vision, SOMPO’s strengths include its size, product diversity, global reach, distribution networks, industry-leading technologies, breadth of experience and an incomparable corps of talent. Since its early days, the company has steadily grown through merging with other insurance firms and groups. In the process, it expanded its base of customers and broadened its range of services. Partnerships have also been vital, taking the firm into new fields and new countries. In 2010, it founded SOMPO Holdings to manage its increasingly diverse portfolio. To advance its global goals, in 2017, it acquired Endurance Specialty Holdings and established SOMPO International with a footprint in 29 countries and over 74,000 employees.
SOMPO’s core businesses are domestic property and casualty insurance, overseas insurance and reinsurance, domestic life insurance, nursing care and digital businesses. SOMPO and its subsidiaries are financially strong, their balance sheets filled with high-quality assets and excellent liquidity. That solid financial footing provides the foundation for SOMPO to venture into new businesses with new technologies and to operate with a social conscience. These are exemplified by the company’s foray into nursing homes and care in Japan. SOMPO’s nursing homes do more than tend to the elderly. They employ technological innovations to predict and prevent illnesses and provide the most advanced care despite a national shortfall in healthcare staff. The company also invests in and supports research into health and disease prevention, particularly dementia prevention.
As an insurer, SOMPO knows that our roads pose many risks. To safeguard and protect travelers, the company is also investing in artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge digital technologies to accelerate the development and adoption of driverless transport. Digital driving can prevent accidents and provide mobility and freedom for elderly drivers and others with physical challenges. That improves quality of life and wellbeing, not just for those behind the wheel but for all of society.
SOMPO makes the good of society a top priority. But to provide health, security and well-being, a society must be at peace. To promote peace, SOMPO has pledged up to $780,000 in humanitarian aid to Ukraine and refugees in neighboring countries through the United Nations, Save the Children, the Japanese Red Cross Society and the Japan Platform. The donations will come from SOMPO and its employees, and from visitors to the SOMPO Museum of Art, where Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” is on permanent display. The sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine. Today, it is a symbol of peace. SOMPO hopes van Gogh’s masterpiece will lead people to think more deeply about peace – especially global leaders.
Ethics and responsibility are the bedrock of leadership. The 2,000-plus business and political powerbrokers meeting in Davos will be debating ways to make the World Economic Forum’s theme of “Shaping an Equitable, Inclusive and Sustainable Recovery” a reality. If we are honest, it hasn’t been working out that way so far. The rich have gotten richer while the poor have suffered disproportionately during the COVID-19 crisis. And it’s not the only crisis we are facing.
SOMPO believes that we can enhance positive trends and reverse negative ones despite these difficult times. In Japan, our core businesses are acting on our belief by working to solve social issues, such as caring for and thriving with an aging population, among others. We hope our example will inspire others in societies facing similar challenges. Innovations and breakthroughs in technologies can make life better for everyone if matched by a vision and commitment to sustainability and the common good.
Everyone wants security, health and wellbeing. SOMPO has been delivering those for its clients and Japanese society. But more needs to be done. For SOMPO, that means moving beyond our original business of insurance. We are becoming more agile, innovative and diverse in the services we provide and the types of businesses we engage in, all to meet the changing needs of those we serve. SOMPO will always be committed to its customers in Japan. But in these changing times, we will also continue to expand to new and growing markets to deliver security, health and well-being to more people around the world.
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